NEW DELHI: The health ministry and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday said some studies indicated that immunity or Covid-19 antibodies can persist in the body from 5-6 months to many years but there are no concrete conclusions.
“Various scientific studies across the world suggest that a person may possess antibodies from 5-6 months to many years,” health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said. The comments were significant in the light of animated discussions in expert and scientific circles over how long anti-bodies are found in recovered patients and the period of immunity a vaccine may provide.
ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said the Council is looking into the question but since it is a new disease, not much is known about it, advising people to continue with Covid-appropriate behaviour including use of masks, following hand hygiene and maintaining physical distance.
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The comments assume significance amid concerns about scope of re-infection among those who have recovered from the disease and whether even vaccination can lend life-long immunity. So far there have been almost no cases of “true” reinfection and in a case detected in Hong Kong, the patient did not show symptoms.
Bhargava also said 50 out of 70 districts have completed the second round of sero-survey. The results of the entire country’s sero-survey should be available within two weeks.