Posts

Two Positive Covid Tests

New Study Shows Covid-19 Immunity Wearing Off In Patients Who Were Positive

A study of hundreds of thousands of individuals in the United Kingdom suggests that immunity to the coronavirus is gradually wearing off in some individuals. Researchers sent out finger-prick tests to more than 365,000 randomly selected households in England and found that over the course of three months, Covid-19 antibody presence in the UK decreased by more than 26%. 

The research team behind the study recently spoke to the press about the findings that were taken after three-rounds of national surveillance. They sent out the tests 12, 18, and 24 weeks after the first peak of infections in England and observed a significant decline in detectable antibodies as time progressed. 

Embed from Getty Images

“This is consistent with evidence that immunity to seasonal coronaviruses declines over 6 to 12 months after infection and emerging data that also detected a decrease over time in antibody levels in individuals followed in longitudinal studies.”

The study was published on Monday by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori, a market research company. The initial data in the study was recorded in June, and found that 6% of individuals who took the tests had an antibody response to the coronavirus. By September that percentage had dropped down to 4.4%.

Antibodies are the proteins in your body that are created to fight infection. The type of test the group used to find these antibodies is called an IgG test, and they’re specially designed to only detect one kind of antibody; the coronavirus. This way if the test detects one of the other antibodies your body just naturally produces it won’t flag it for the study. 

Embed from Getty Images

The results also confirm that asymptomatic individuals are likely to lose their detectable antibodies sooner when compared to symptomatic individuals who had more severe infections. Younger people who have recovered from the virus had a slower loss of antibodies compared to individuals aged 75 or older. 

It’s important to note also that even if an individual has Covid-19 antibodies in their system, it’s still unknown how immune an individual will be from potential reinfection and how long that immunity will last. The study also had its limits as well, as the samples weren’t taken from the same individuals every time, but instead just focused on the UK population in general. 

“This very large study has shown that the proportion of people with detectable antibodies is falling over time. It is essential that everyone continues to follow guidance to reduce the risk to themselves and others.”

Immune responses are being heavily studied as well throughout the world. This study is showing that the virus acts like a cold, in the sense that once an individual is infected they’re not immune from getting a cold again, however, they’re body will have a stronger immune response the next time they’re infected. Also like a cold, individuals with more robust immune systems will likely have a quicker response time and are more likely to carry antibodies after the fact. 

If anything, the researchers behind this study want the world to realize that if you get the virus and survive, you are not in the clear yet, and we all must remain diligent in the way we protect ourselves and our loved ones from potential infection.

Young Girl with Doll Wearing Mask

US Reports 90% Increase In Covid-19 Cases Among Children In The Last Four Weeks

One of the largest debates regarding the Covid-19 pandemic this month has been whether or not our country should be sending its kids back to school. For many, they don’t see the problem as long as proper health and safety measures are taken, but for others, they’re confused as to how back in March the country cancelled in-person learning over a couple thousand cases in the US, but is sending kids back to school after we’ve exceeded 5 million cases and 163,000 deaths. 

Even more staggering, within the last four weeks alone, there has been a 90% increase in the number of coronavirus cases among children in the US. This data comes from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Administration, which has been updating their stats weekly. 

Embed from Getty Images

Dr. Sean O’Leary is the Vice President of AAP’s committee on infectious diseases, and recently spoke with the media about the lack of focus the country has when it comes to children being infected with Covid-19. He believes a major factor to this is because children are much less likely to have a terminal diagnosis for the virus, however, that doesn’t make it’s impact any less severe on the child; there have been about 90 children in the US that have died from the coronavirus. 

“We all have to take this virus seriously, including taking care of our children. To protect everyone in our communities we must follow all the public health measures that we know can contain the virus. This includes avoiding large gatherings.”

Between July 9th and August 6th there were 179,990 new Covid-19 cases among children in the US, bringing the total number of cases in kids up to 380,174. The data showed that children account for .5% – 5.3% of all coronavirus-related hospitalizations and also account for up to .4% of the deaths. While these numbers are extremely lower when compared to immunocompromised/older individuals who get infected, the fact that this virus has killed even one child who was otherwise completely healthy should be enough cause for concern for parents everywhere. 

Embed from Getty Images

For children especially, one of the biggest concerns is how easily they’re able to spread the virus because they’re so much less likely to exhibit symptoms or be hospitalized. Many are worried about US school staff health and safety specifically, and William Haseltime, a former professor at Harvard’s Medical School, claims that administrations need to be thinking of that as top priority. 

“Children can be highly infectious to other people. It turns out they have a thousand times more virus in their nose than you need to infect, so they’re very, very contagious. There’s every reason to suspect that this virus  behaves pretty much like a cold virus in terms of transmission.”

New reports from the US’ Centers for Disease Control also show that when kids are hospitalized for Covid-19, they need to be administered to the Intensive Care Unit as often as adults do. The report specifically measured information taken from 14 states which found that 576 children were administered to the ICU between March and July. 

Children under the age of two hold the same level of risk as an elderly individual due to the fact that their immune systems are much less developed when compared to a toddler or older child. To slow down the spread and risk of infection, the CDC recommends you make your kids wash their hands as often as possible, ensure they understand the importance of social distancing, and of course, make sure they always wear their mask.

COVID Antibody Test

What You Need To Know About Coronavirus Antibody Testing

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working tirelessly to combat the coronavirus pandemic the world is currently enduring. More recently, they granted emergency authorization to over a dozen kinds of Covid-19 antibody tests to be added to the 200 other kinds of tests that are currently on the market

Roche is one authorized company developing antibody tests that they claim are 100% accurate in finding coronavirus antibodies in the blood and 99.8% accurate at ruling them out as well. For individuals who have gotten sick within the past few months but weren’t tested for Covid-19, or individuals who didn’t get sick, but could also have just been asymptomatic, would likely want to be tested for antibodies to receive possible answers/advancements towards a proper drug treatment or vaccine.  

Embed from Getty Images

Antibodies are defined as the proteins in our bodies that attack foreign viruses when we get sick. For example, if you’ve gotten the common cold before, your body likely has all of the antibodies to fight it off since you’ve gotten sick with the same illness before. These antibodies are what help scientists develop vaccines as well, so it’s imperative that they get as many coronavirus antibodies as possible. 

“Having specific antibodies means you’ve been exposed to that virus, or you’ve had a vaccine for it. However, many antibody tests on the market right now are advertising claims that make no sense. Too little is known about the coronavirus to rely on the results of most of the current antibody tests,” according to CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus.

Dr. Agus believes that a lot of these non-authorized tests have a higher rate of false-positive results, and are therefore leading people to believe that they have antibodies when they don’t. Even the latest tests that the FDA approved of and are claiming to be highly accurate could give false-positive results based on the unpredictable nature of this virus in general. 

Embed from Getty Images

It’s also important to note that even if you do test positive for antibodies against Covid-19 and the test itself was accurate, there’s still no guarantee that you’re completely safe from the virus. Again, like the common cold, just because your body has all the antibodies to fight it off, you can still get the cold, and likely will, multiple times throughout your life based on exposure. This is also because sometimes your body creates antibodies just to fight off the infection brought on by the virus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can fully neutralize the virus itself. 

For now, however, the antibody tests can at least provide a greater insight into who’s already been exposed/infected, which can help with contact-tracing processes. 

“There is no reason to get a test at the present time unless you’re part of an epidemiologic study, [or] your company wants to know how many people potentially have been exposed. For reasons like that, they’re important. But for personal decisions, right now, they are not to be used, because they do not tell you immunity,” Agus said.

The one universal fact that all medical professionals have agreed upon is the unpredictable nature of this virus, and that applies to its antibodies as well. Until researchers receive more concrete evidence, it’s simply a waiting game, so for now, it’s important to listen carefully to your healthcare professionals and continue to abide by social-distancing policies.