As the coronavirus pandemic continues to fluctuate the number of infections, death rates, and survivors, medical research continues to research in hopes of fully understanding the virus and finding a cure. For those who beat COVID-19, ministers are looking into a certification system to signify survivor's safety. Will these so-called immunity passports ensure safety?

On the contrary, a study from the University of Amsterdam, says that within six months, a patient can get reinfected. How is this possible?

For 35 years, Professor Lia van der Hoek from the University of Amsterdam and other researchers tested 10 male individuals regularly for four types of coronaviruses, which cause the common cold. 

While most of the subjects were reinfected within 3 years, alarming results included that frequent reinfections occurred at 12 months after infection. There were also significant drops in antibody levels within six months post-infection. 

'Coronavirus protective immunity is short-lasting' as stated in the study.

Within the limitations of their scientific research, Hoek notes that 'achieving herd immunity may be challenging due to rapid loss of protective immunity.'                       

Since SARS-CoV-2 has only circulated for about five months, there is still ample research to be accomplished through time. 

Matt Hancock, British Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announced this week that the government would be spending 10 million antibody test kits. 

Even as the government plans to allow survivors to go back to work and socialize, research on the coronavirus vaccine is to be considered.

10,000 Recruits for Human Trials

Oxford University is amongst the top racers in finding a cure. 

The University has been recruiting 10,000 people for their phase II/III of human trials, 10x more than phase 1 immunizations. 

Phase II will involve a comparison of responses between multiple age groups. People from the 3 age groups are between 5-12 years, ages 56-69, and those over 70.

Phase III of testing will focus on individuals over 18 years of age and their response to developed vaccines. 

All participants will be given doses from two different types of vaccines. Oxford developed a genetically altered vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, a common cold virus found to infect chimpanzees. 

Oxford Vaccine Group's leader, Professor Andrew Pollard, shared that their clinical studies are making good progress and evaluations will determine 'whether it can provide protection in the wider population.'

With the critical science advancements, Hancock states, 'We're not yet in a position to say that those who test positive in these antibody tests are immune from coronavirus.'

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How Soon Will There Be a Cure?

These experiments look promising, and multiple vaccines are being developed every day worldwide, yet a realistic timeframe makes vaccination possible no sooner than summer 2021.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, confirms that a COVID-19 vaccine could take between 12 to 18 months to develop, test, and approve.

The University of Amsterdam's research adds that 'vaccine studies should anticipate that sustained protective immunity may be uncertain for coronavirus' and that repeated annual or bi-annual vaccinations might be necessary to avoid reinfection.'

The Health Secretary also adds, 'We're developing this critical science to know the impact of a positive antibody test and to develop the systems of certification to ensure people who have positive antibodies can be given assurances of what they can safely do.' 

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