By Zamira Rahim, CNN
London (CNN) People who have been infected with Covid-19 are likely to be protected against catching it again for at least five months, according to a new study led by Public Health England (PHE).
The study — which has not yet been peer reviewed — found that past infection was linked to an 83% lower risk of reinfection, compared to people who have not been infected before.
But researchers warned that the protection was not absolute, meaning some people do catch the virus again, and that it was unclear how long any immunity lasts. It is also possible that those who have a degree of immunity against the virus may still be able to carry the virus in their nose or throat and therefore transmit it to others.
“We now know that most of those who have had the virus, and developed antibodies, are protected from reinfection, but this is not total and we do not yet know how long protection lasts,” Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at PHE and co-leader of the study, said in a statement.
“Even if you believe you already had the disease and are protected, you can be reassured it is highly unlikely you will develop severe infections. But there is still a risk you could acquire an infection and transmit (it) to others,” Hopkins said.