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Coronavirus: Disease Control

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL3345, tabled on 21 April 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the remarks by the World Health Organisation that there is no evidence of COVID-19 immunity amongst those who have recovered from the virus.

Answered on

5 May 2020

The World Health Organization’s statement is correct based on current knowledge.

SARS-COV-2 emerged four months ago and most cases outside China have occurred over the last two months.

Immunity refers to the protection against re-infection with the same virus or strain of virus because the host has mounted an immune response, usually by way of producing antibodies. Whether these antibodies are just a host response to infection or whether the antibodies are protective against re-infection is yet to be established as there are no published studies that assess the protective capability of the antibodies.

It is too early to know how long the protective immune response, if one exists even for the short term, against SARS-CoV-2 will last, as this will require longitudinal serological studies that follow patients’ immunity over an extended period of time.