Scientists from Imperial College London found out that people with coronavirus antibodies are declining. Could this affect the ongoing herd immunity?

Scientists Discover That People With Antibodies Decline Roughly 26%, Raising Concerns About Herd Immunity
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Teachers queue to get tested for COVID-19 at a temporary testing point in Virgen de la Paloma secondary school during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on September 02, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. 100,000 teachers and members of the administration and services staff of public and semi-private schools are being called to carry out the Covid-19 antibody tests during the next 3 days, ahead of the starting of the school year in the Community of Madrid.

The new U.K. study suggests that the decrease could affect those pushing for so-called herd immunity. The scientists screened 365,000 people in England over three-phase of testing between June 20 and Sept. 28.

The study conducted finger-prick tests at the homes of the participants. It revealed that instead of people creating antibodies as time goes by, their immunity is declining.

Individuals with COVID-19 antibodies declined roughly 26% over the study period.

The REACT-2 study

According to the Imperial College London, the study is called the Real-Time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT) program, which is the largest and most significant research piece looking at how COVID-19 is spreading across the country.

Scientists Discover That People With Antibodies Decline Roughly 26%, Raising Concerns About Herd Immunity
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A lab technician fills a 96 well plate with antibody tests during a visit to the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research at Victoria University on August 27, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the Government has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars of extra funding from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, to access a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available. The funding will enable the Government to secure access to promising vaccine candidates, alongside joining initiatives such as the global COVAX Facility. The Malaghan Institute will help lead efforts to secure a COVID-19 vaccine for New Zealand as part of the newly established Vaccine Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand.

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The Department of Health and Social Care commissioned the study, which was also carried out by a world-class team of clinicians, scientists, and researchers from ICL, Ipsos MORI, and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

The study's results

According to CNBC's latest report, the REACT-2 study, which has not been peer-reviewed, revealed alarming results. It first showed that when the U.K.'s lockdown measures were partially lifted over the summer, 6% of tested people had COVID-19 antibodies. However, the figure decreased to 4.4% when the second wave of cases arrived.

"This very large study has shown that the proportion of people with detectable antibodies is falling over time," said Helen Ward, Imperial College London's professor, and study's author.

"We don't yet know whether this will leave these people at risk of reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19, but it is essential that everyone continues to follow guidance to reduce the risk to themselves and others," she added.

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Written by: Giuliano de Leon.

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