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Coronavirus Reinfections Rare In Young Common In 65 Plus: Study

It was rare for people to be reinfected with coronavirus, but it was common for people aged 65 or more to get infected more than once, according to a study published in the Lancet medical journal on  Wednesday.

Coronavirus Reinfections Rare In Young Common In 65 Plus

A team of scientists that included researchers from the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, Denmark, noted that most people with Covid-19 seemed to have protection from reinfection that remained stable for over six months. In the follow up after six months, the study did not uncover any evidence of waning protection. However, when the researchers checked the demographics of who was getting infected again, it was found that people 65 and older were most likely to suffer reinfection.

Coronavirus Reinfections Rare In Young Common In 65 Plus: Study

The researchers considered the reinfection rate among  4 million people during the pandemic’s second surge from September through December 31 and compared infection rates during the first surge between March and May. While 11,068 people tested positive during the first surge, they found only 72 positive cases again in the second stage.

According to the team, people in the older age group had around 47% protection against reinfection as against younger people whose protection level worked out to 80% from reinfection. The finding was only to be expected due to the weakening of the immune system with age.

Given what was at stake, the results highlighted the importance of sticking to measures implemented for people to keep others and themselves safe, even if they had had COVID-19, according to the study co-authored by Dr Steen Ethelberg of the Statens Serum Institute in Denmark Deccasss.

According to Dr Amy Edwards, a specialist in infectious diseases at University Hospitals in Cleveland, who was not part of the study, the difference was very stark. 

She added that she thought it really highlighted the importance of ensuring that everybody over 60 was vaccinated, whether they had Covid or not, to protect against future infections.

Immunologists Dr Daniel Altmann and Dr Rosemary Boyton of Imperial College London wrote in a commentary that accompanied the study that the difference in reinfection rate was relatively alarming.

They added only 80% protection against reinfection in general, declining to 47% in people aged 65 years and older, which were more concerning figures than offered by previous studies. They added that the data was confirmation if it was required, that for SARS-CoV-2 that we might not be able to gain protective immunity as hoped through natural infections, and a global vaccination program with high-efficacy vaccines was the enduring solution.

In the analysis, the researchers used data from testing in Denmark related to 10.6 million coronavirus tests administered to 4 million people, or around 69% of the country’s population.

They considered reinfection rates in the second surge of Covid-19 from September through December 31 and compared them against the infection rates during the first surge of infection between March and May. People who tested positive in the first surge numbered 11,068, and of these, only 72 tested positive again during the second, which worked out to less than 1% of those infected.

However, in the second surge, 3.6% of people 65 or older got reinfected.

According to experts, the results came in along expected lines due to what was known as immunosenescence or the immune system’s gradual deterioration with age.

According to Edwards, there was a reason why people over 60 had to get extra vaccines to boost their immunity to various infections, as it was known that the immune system started declining in later life. 

According to Edwards, one good thing about the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna’s was that the vaccines seemed to overcome some of the immunosenescence concerns as they imparted robust protection.

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