The first good news to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic is that people who get the infection and survive it become immune to the virus, which means those with immunity can be the first to start things going again and save the economy and their antibodies may help save others.
Can you really become immune to the coronavirus?
If you actually got COVID-19 and have recovered from it, you are essentially immune to it, albeit with some significant unknowns.
Among the important questions regarding immunity is how long it lasts. That brings up the question of whether you can catch the coronavirus twice.
When someone is immune, doctors say, there is a period in which they cannot pass the disease on, effectively making them a “coronavirus blocker.”
The benefits of immunity
Immunity to the coronavirus brings several benefits. The first is the ability to get back on the front lines and help others without the threat of becoming infected. This can be invaluable in healthcare. They can also be among the first to get back to work and get the economy started again.
The second important benefit of immunity is that people who have developed immunity to the virus can help those who are currently trying to defeat it. Their bodies contain antibodies that can be used to boost the systems of those currently infected.
On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 to treat some people now suffering from severe cases.
On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the New York State Department of Health was the first to begin testing serum developed from people who have recovered from coronavirus in order to treat the seriously ill.
People who are confirmed to be immune would need to be quarantined.
A test for coronavirus immunity is being developed
A number of researchers are currently working on a blood test that would specifically identify whether someone’s body has developed immunity against COVID-19. One team has already developed a promising antibody test, according to Reuters.
On the legal side, body fluid tests such as these are not required going through an exhaustive approval procedure through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means such a test could circulate much sooner.
However, tests have to overcome certain hurdles but the first is accuracy. Without accuracy, the tests are essentially worthless and could even become dangerous by providing a false impression of immunity.
COVID-19 immunity test could be a game-changer
A coronavirus immunity test could be a game-changer in the battle against COVID-19. A test would confirm who would be allowed to come out of lockdown and that has several beneficial outcomes.
For example, Healthcare workers who are immune could help treat sick patients knowing they could not contract the virus themselves.
Saving the economy
Immune people could safely come out of quarantine without fear of contracting the virus and be among the first to get back to work and get the economy going again.