APR 22, 2021 8:00 AM PDT

Healthy, Young People Are Getting Reinfected With COVID

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandez

If you’re young and healthy and you’ve had COVID, your body will produce protective antibodies that guard you against reinfection, right? Wrong, says a new study of 3,000 participants aged between 18 and 20.

"Our findings indicate that reinfection by SARS-CoV-2 in healthy young adults is common," said Stuart Sealfon, senior author of the paper published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

"Despite a prior COVID-19 infection, young people can catch the virus again and may still transmit it to others. This is an important point to know and remember as vaccine rollouts continue. Young people should get the vaccine whenever possible, since vaccination is necessary to boost immune responses, prevent reinfection, and reduce transmission."

Sealfon and colleagues found that around 10 percent of study participants previously diagnosed with COVID became reinfected. This was five times lower than the infection rates of previously uninfected individuals (50 percent) but highlighted those antibody responses may not always offer complete protection against the coronavirus.

Examining this phenomenon in more detail, the authors found that not all antibody responses are equal—individuals with lower than average antibody levels in the blood after COVID were most at risk of the infection repeating itself. In particular, these participants had fewer numbers of neutralizing antibodies that could inactivate the virus.

The authors say these observations strongly support the recommendation that young people should get vaccinated to prevent COVID transmission, infections, and possibly even reinfections.

 

 

Sources: The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, EurekAlert via The Mount Sinai Hospital.


 

About the Author
  • Tara Fernandez has a PhD in Cell Biology and has spent over a decade uncovering the molecular basis of diseases ranging from skin cancer to obesity and diabetes. She currently works on developing and marketing disruptive new technologies in the biotechnology industry. Her areas of interest include innovation in molecular diagnostics, cell therapies, and immunology. She actively participates in various science communication and public engagement initiatives to promote STEM in the community.
You May Also Like
JAN 28, 2021
Neuroscience
Immune Cells Destroy Synapses in Multiple Sclerosis
JAN 28, 2021
Immune Cells Destroy Synapses in Multiple Sclerosis
Researchers from Germany have found that Multiple sclerosis (MS)-associated inflammation in the cerebral cortex destroys ...
MAR 02, 2021
Immunology
Another Trick up Tumors' Sleeves Exposed
MAR 02, 2021
Another Trick up Tumors' Sleeves Exposed
Tumors have sneaky strategies for establishing themselves within healthy tissues, flourishing in plain sight of circulat ...
MAR 18, 2021
Immunology
"Brainwashed" Immune Cells Help Breast Tumors Thrive
MAR 18, 2021
"Brainwashed" Immune Cells Help Breast Tumors Thrive
Immunologists have discovered a mechanism through which immune cells get recruited into breast cancer tumors, and instea ...
APR 20, 2021
Immunology
Scientists Map the Genetic Landscape of COVID Infections
APR 20, 2021
Scientists Map the Genetic Landscape of COVID Infections
Scientists have identified 65 human immune genes activated during SARS-CoV-2 infection. This finding provides valuable i ...
MAY 20, 2021
Immunology
Why Delaying the 2nd COVID Shot is Paying Off for Some
MAY 20, 2021
Why Delaying the 2nd COVID Shot is Paying Off for Some
A new study indicates that delaying the second “booster” dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine (to 11-12 ...
JUN 07, 2021
Health & Medicine
Higher Incidence of Breast Cancer in Polluted Urban Areas
JUN 07, 2021
Higher Incidence of Breast Cancer in Polluted Urban Areas
A Taiwanese study looked at the incidence of breast cancer in areas of Taiwan with varying levels of air pollutants. Air ...
Loading Comments...