World Health Org Warns Against ‘Immunity Passports’: ‘No Evidence’ People Can’t Be Reinfected

Volunteers of the 'Detente y Ayuda' (Stop and Help) DYA non-profit organization in protective gear take samples from fishermen, before putting out to sea, at a COVID-19 disease testing centre at the seaport of the Sp... Volunteers of the 'Detente y Ayuda' (Stop and Help) DYA non-profit organization in protective gear take samples from fishermen, before putting out to sea, at a COVID-19 disease testing centre at the seaport of the Spanish Basque city of Hondarribia (Fuenterrabia) on April 25, 2020 during a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease. - Spain's daily virus toll rose slightly today with 378 people dead, the government said a day after the country registered its lowest number of fatalities in four weeks. The figure hiked the overall number of deaths in Spain to 22,902, making it the third worst-hit country in the world after the United States and Italy. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA / AFP) (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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April 25, 2020 2:21 p.m.
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The World Health Organization on Friday warned against assumptions that people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 will necessarily avoid being infected again.

In a scientific brief, the health organization acknowledged that some governments have suggested conferring “immunity passports” or “risk-free certificates” to former COVID-19 patients who are proven to have antibodies for the novel coronavirus in their blood.

However, WHO noted, “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”

“As of 24 April 2020, no study has evaluated whether the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 confers immunity to subsequent infection by this virus in humans,” the brief added.

In addition, per WHO, laboratory tests to detect COVID-19 antibodies “need further validation to determine their accuracy and reliability.”

Antibody tests to determine the presence of past coronavirus infections have become more widespread in recent weeks.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Thursday the preliminary results of an antibody survey that found that 21.2% of New York City residents, and 13.9% of New Yorkers statewide, had tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. The survey counted 3,000 people tested outside grocery stores and other big box stores around the state.

“At this point in the pandemic, there is not enough evidence about the effectiveness of antibody-mediated immunity to guarantee the accuracy of an ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate,'” WHO’s brief concluded.

“People who assume that they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may ignore public health advice. The use of such certificates may therefore increase the risks of continued transmission. As new evidence becomes available, WHO will update this scientific brief.”

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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