Dr Ashish K Jha, Dean, Brown University School of Public Health on Thursday said that data and research done on immunity from Covid-19 has been reassuring and said that expecting a lifelong 100% immunity from the coronavirus is unrealistic, in conversation with Hindustan Times editor-in-chief Sukumar Ranganathan during the inaugural session of the 18th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
Jha said, “Immunity is complicated. We know that across the world 50-60 million people have been infected with the virus. There have been reinfections two months after the initial infection but those are very uncommon.”
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He also said that lifelong immunity from any virus is not a realistic expectation. He said people can expect to be immune for at least ‘a year or longer.’ Jha said that the findings show that people who have recovered from Covid-19 have gained immunity for eight or nine months, barring a few exceptions.
Jha pointed out that the medical and scientific community do not have huge amounts of experience in dealing with SARS-Cov-2 as it is relatively new. He said that people should also not worry themselves with studies concerning antibodies.
He highlighted that immunity will be closely studied as Covid-19 vaccines are rolled out. He said, “Immunity (gained) looks like it remains durable for 8-9 months. At this point, I can be betting that most people may remain immune for at least one year… Based on all of that my guess right now is but we have to get a booster shot every year, that’s okay, it is not great. It may last longer, we do not know.”
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Jha advised people not to look into the headlines and said that he himself does not worry about immunity.
The 18th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit’s inaugural session was also attended by All India Institute of Medical Sciences director Dr Randeep Guleria and chief executive officer of the Serum Institute of India Adar Poonawalla who discussed Covid-19, the vaccine race and the way forward for healthcare in India.
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