Study of "Relatively Worrying": Half of the elderly could get coronavirus a second time

Study of “Relatively Worrying”: Half of the elderly could get coronavirus a second time

The father of Volkskrant photographer Marcel van den Berg receives a digital visit.Photo by Marcel van den Berg / De Volkskrant

This is evident from the first on a large scale Reinfection analysis With corona, it is taken on test streets in Denmark. Of the more than 11,000 Danes who tested positive for the virus during the first wave, 72 people tested positive for the virus again during the second wave, after receiving complaints.

It doesn’t sound like much, but it is “relatively worrying,” says Doctors’ Journal The scalpel at Accompanying comment. In any case, this means that elderly people who have contracted corona in particular must remain vigilant, confirms the research team, affiliated with the Danish laboratory, the Statens Serum Institute.

The team also makes an important side note: It’s not clear how sick the second time around. Immunologists suspect that the aura may be less dangerous the second time around, because the immune system still remembers the virus and can take action against it more quickly.


On the other hand, the risk of re-infection is greater in the elderly, a group that is already more at risk, according to research leader Sten Ethelberg in an explanation. “Because the elderly are also more likely to have severe disease symptoms, our findings underscore the importance of adopting policies that protect the elderly during the pandemic.”

The good news is that most people appear to be protected for at least six months after contracting coronavirus, according to Danish figures. After that, an average of 80% of all people are still immune. But that’s much lower in older adults: 53 percent of those over the age of 65 could subsequently be infected again, according to Danes’ calculations. These are “worrying numbers”, as two British professors put it in one Accompanying comment.

Ethelberg posits that vaccination can partially solve problems, because vaccines often provide better protection than regular infections. After all, natural viruses possess molecular tricks to disrupt immune growth, whereas vaccines do not.

New variants

The Danes contend that it remains unclear whether the numbers also apply to newer variants of the virus. There are many indications that the different types of virus, particularly in South Africa and Brazil, can cause recontamination. The variants have different spines, with the antibodies against the “classic” corona virus having the least control.

To perform a partial analysis, the team followed 20,000 healthcare workers, a professional group that often deals with Corona patients. Of the health workers who became infected during the first wave, one in 100 fell ill again in the fall. This also translates into a protection against re-infestation of around 80 percent.

Whether this immunity to Corona will decline further in the long term, no one knows: the disease is still very new for it. However, scientists note that corona viruses, which are closely related to them, are known to have natural immunity to them for up to three years.

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