Austrian study ‘confirms’ long-term immunity of recovered Covid patients

A study conducted by the UniMed Innsbruck has found that people who have recovered from a coronavirus infection build long-term immunity through the development of anti-bodies. The authors say that people who have been infected will improve their immunity further through a booster jab.

Austrian study 'confirms' long-term immunity of recovered Covid patients
Free tests have played a central role in Austria's Covid-19 strategy. Could it soon change? Photo by: Alex Halada/ AFP.

The team tested 27 people who had been confirmed to have the virus at several points over a 12-month period, and all showed a robust immune response throughout that time.

“Those who have recovered are immune,” study author Florian Deisenhammer told news agency APA. “We can be very, very sure that we will get rid of the problem via immunity.”

He added that: “We can reassure society. The immune system works. One is immune.”

“It is much easier and safer to achieve immunity through vaccination alone because it is faster and avoids possible long-term consequences of the disease,” he added.

Two of the members of the study came in direct contact with people who were infected during the course of the year, but did not suffer reinfection.

Deisenhammer said that the immune response of recoverees who have had a single jab would be even more impressive.

He said these people would have an “absolute, almost one hundred percent certainty” that they will no longer be infected.

“The antibody measurements speak a clear language: you experience an enormous immune reaction if you been revaccinated between six and twelve months after recovery. Vaccinated people simply record an enormous increase in antibodies.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Seven percent of Austrians infected with coronavirus’ since pandemic began

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Almost one in five people in Spain are immune to Covid-19, study

Spain's herd immunity to the coronavirus has reached almost 20 percent of the population, according to a study by a prominent Spanish epidemiological institute.

Almost one in five people in Spain are immune to Covid-19, study
Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

According to the Spanish Epidemiological Society (SEE), 19 percent of the population is immune to coronavirus, a total of 9.7 million people.

The measure is based on a combination of those who have either been vaccinated or have had the illness already and have acquired antibodies to fight the virus.

An estimated 4.7 million people had antibodies from the virus in the most recent study by the research body Carlos III Health Institute.

A further two million people have become immune since autumn and three million people have received the vaccine.

Joan Caylà, a spokesperson for the SEE, told Spanish medical publication Redacción Médica that this figure should ideally reach 70 percent of the population before summer.

This would allow cases of coronavirus to fall, the tourism industry to reopen and the Spanish economy to recover.

Caylà said that those who have had the virus should wait six months until after they are diagnosed before they can receive a vaccination. Those who have not had the virus should be prioritised in the vaccination rollout.


“It makes sense to vaccinate those who have not had Covid first so that the short term results from vaccination will be faster,” Caylà said.

“We know that those who have had the virus, with clinical proof, have immunity for a certain time and so they are not a priority.”

The increase in herd immunity comes after there were more Spanish coronavirus deaths in February than any month since April.

More than 10,000 people died from the virus during February, 15 percent of the total number of deaths during the pandemic.

The largest portion of deaths took place in Madrid, Andalusia, Catalonia, Valencia, Castilla y Leon and Castilla-La Mancha.

However, cases of coronavirus fell throughout the month, from 865 cases per 100,000 residents at the beginning of the month to less than 200 cases per 100,000 residents in the fourteen days to February 26th. 

By Ian Johnston