Immunity passports for persons with COVID-19

12:00 AM, December 20, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:19 AM, December 20, 2020

Dr Rubaiul Murshed

Till today the most frustrating fear of the world is the vulnerabilities of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has directly and indirectly traumatised our everyday lifecycle. After all these incredibly disordered months in 2020, now some researchers are also focusing on the isolation and quarantine period and the status of severe COVID-19 survivors.

When some research shows that for people who recover from COVID-19, the antibodies they develop against the virus are maintained in their bodies for at least a few months; on the other hand, some reports do not support that. Understanding how our immune system responds to the virus is an important step in vaccine development. Knowing how long immunity lasts is also significant in creating vaccination protocols.

One of the latest studies in November 2020 is saying that people with COVID-19 are most infectious about two days before symptoms begin and for five days afterwards. A few patients who are extremely ill or have impaired immune systems may expel — or ‘shed’ — the virus for as long as 20 days, other studies have suggested. In mild cases, some patients may shed live virus for about a week. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that infected people isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the starting of their illness.

In September 2020, France dropped its required period of self-isolation to seven days from 14 days. Germany is considering shortening it to five days. Some people unwittingly mix-up with isolation and quarantine. Isolation refers to people who are ill; quarantine refers to people who have been exposed to the virus and may become ill. Setting the isolation period at five days is likely to be much more palatable and may encourage more infected people to comply.

While we have been working hard on many fronts to understand the virus and develop controls for it, there is still much we do not know including how long it lasts after it strikes.


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