World Health Organization says “no evidence” recovered coronavirus patients are protected from a second infection, then reverses itself one day later

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Recovered C/19 patient donates his plasma containing antibodies Credit: Scripps Health

[Editors note: This story has changed as the position of the World Health Organization retracted its original assertion. As a result, this digest combines additional information beyond the original article.]

[The World Health Organization pulled back from its position stated Friday that there is “no evidence” that patients recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies capable of protecting them from re-infection]

[On April 24], the World Health Organization … pushed back against the theory that individuals can only catch the coronavirus once, as well as proposals for reopening society that are based on this supposed immunity.

In a scientific brief dated Friday, the United Nations agency said the idea that one-time infection can lead to immunity remains unproven and is thus unreliable as a foundation for the next phase of the world’s response to the pandemic.screen shot at pm

“Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate’ that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection,” the WHO wrote. “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”

Related article:  Living at high altitudes may offer natural defense against COVID-19

[On Saturday, April 25, WHO reversed course, pulling down the original tweet promoting its position stated the day before, and posting a new one. 

Earlier today we tweeted about a new WHO scientific brief on “immunity passports”. The thread caused some concerns & we would like to clarify. We expect that most people who are infected with #COVID19 will develop an antibody response that will provide some level of protection.]

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