Nearly a year into this virus, it has become clear that, after up to a third of the people in this country already contracted it, according to some estimates, there is nothing we can do to stop it through non-pharmaceutical interventions. Yet, while the government and media continue to push the vaccine (and masks, of course) with religious fervor, they act as if natural infection itself confers little or no immunity. In reality, as with any virus, it likely confers more immunity than a vaccine.
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by U.K. scientists tracked antibody levels of 12,541 health care workers in Oxford University hospitals for six months. A total of 1,265 tested positive for antibodies at some point during the study period, of which 68% recall having had symptoms associated with SARS-CoV-2. They specifically observed the period of the second wave of infection to see if health care workers, who are disproportionately exposed to the virus relative to other people, would be re-infected.
The result? Not a single symptomatic reinfection and just two people who had previously tested positive for antibodies wound up testing positive via PCR testing for a presumed asymptomatic reinfection.
The important fact to remember is that immunity does not necessarily mean one cannot have the presence of the virus detected in his body thereafter. What it usually means is that one who is infected, particularly if one had at least a moderate case of it, will not suffer meaningful or serious symptoms from a reinfection. This is likely true of most viruses – whether immunity was conveyed through infection or a vaccine – but we don't test 1 million people per day for other viruses. Were we to do so, we would likely discover rare but measurable instances of asymptomatic "reinfection."
Earlier this week, Texas Congresswoman Kay Granger tested positive for the virus despite having had the first round of the Pfizer vaccine. She experienced no symptoms. It's true that she had not been given the second shot yet, however, the same way such findings shouldn't be alarming with regard to a vaccine, they shouldn't be alarming with regard to natural immunity. If anything, this study shows a higher rate of immunity conveyed upon people with natural infection than what has been proven so far from the vaccine. But the government refuses to even entertain the idea of natural immunity from what has anyway become a near-unavoidable transmission of the virus.
These results jive with another recent British study from Newcastle University researchers published last week in the Journal of Infection. They detected 1,038 confirmed infections (through a mix of antibody and PCR tests) among a pool of 11,103 health care workers during the first wave of the virus from March 10-July 6.
During the second wave in the fall, they retested 128 of the health care workers who had previous confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and 2,115 who had not. While the sample size of this study is smaller, they found zero new infections among those previously infected. At the same time, they observed a 13.7% infection rate among the group of people who were not previously infected.
None of the 1,038 health care workers who had confirmed prior infections experienced symptoms during the second wave. In those previously infected, there was a median of 173 days from the date of first confirmed positive result to the end-point of the analysis period confirmed with a negative test, which would again show roughly six months of immunity and counting.
Obviously, it's going to take more time to study the question of immunity in the long-term, especially for those who only got the virus asymptomatically or who get it again asymptomatically, but the notion that someone could get a serious case twice is unfounded at this point and is very unlikely.
Until now the assumption is that because antibodies seem to wane after three months and are non-existent for others who have been infected that there is no immunity. However, there is strong evidence that the body produces memory T-cells that convey long-term immunity long after the antibodies wane. Yes, it will take longer to definitively prove that fact, but why do our political leaders continue to make negative assumptions that always seem to defy known precedents of immunobiology while promoting draconian and devastating policies based on those unproven and increasingly unlikely assumptions?
"Oh, asymptomatic individuals are driving the spread, even though they never typically do, so we must assume everyone is sick and quarantine the world."
"Oh, this virus doesn't convey immunity, so we must do this forever."
"Oh, masks stop the spread of respiratory viruses, despite universal belief they did not and despite 9 months of them failing to stop the spread."
Why is it that the onus is upon us to conclude with certainty that these premises are wrong, instead of them having to prove that their premises are correct? Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? They are relying on the social conditioning ensuring that a lie repeated enough times becomes true regardless of the science.