WHO officials say anti-coronavirus antibodies may decline after several months

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Maria Van Kerkhove, Head of the Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses Unit of the World Health Organization, speaks during a press conference following an emergency committee meeting on the new coronavirus in Geneva on January 22, 2020.Pierre Albouy | AFP | Getty Images

World Health Organization officials said on Monday that patients recovering from Covid-19 may be able to contract the coronavirus again, adding that studies suggest their immunity may decline after a few months.Stressing that scientists do not yet have a complete response, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO Emerging Diseases and Zoonosis Unit, said that patients “mount a certain level of immune response” .

“What we don’t know is how strong this protection is and how long it will last,” she said at a press conference at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva. “So there are a number of studies going on that try to answer these questions. ”

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergencies program, also said there was not enough data to know if this particular coronavirus could cause re-infection in people who have antibodies.

“We know with other coronaviruses that this is the case and there is data which suggests that immunity will decrease over time but which is not fully known at this stage,” he said.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.

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