The World Health Organization is warning that there is no evidence of coronavirus immunity.
In a statement on Saturday the health body, whose largest donor is now Bill Gates, said: “there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection”
“People who assume that they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may ignore public health advice” the statement added.
AOL reports: It also advised against the use of so-called “immunity passports,” which have been mooted in some countries as a way to enable people to travel or return to work on the assumption that they are immune to the virus.
At this point in the pandemic, the WHO said, there is not enough evidence about the effectiveness of antibody-mediated immunity to guarantee the accuracy of such passports or “risk-free” immunity certificates.
Most people who are infected with COVID-19 will develop an antibody response that will provide “some level of protection,” it later clarified, but it does not yet know what that level is or how long the immunity will last.
“It’s surprising, but it’s not surprising,” said Joseph Fair, a virologist and NBC News science contributor. “With most viruses, you do get some kind of immunity, so it’d be surprising if there is no immunity from it, but only time will tell us what type of immunity you have from COVID-19 if you have recovered and how long that will last.”
The WHO warning comes as the worldwide death toll for the coronavirus surpassed 200,000 on Saturday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, with the total number of confirmed cases worldwide now standing at nearly 2.9 million.