None of the 1,246 employees with antibodies developed a symptomatic infection and only three, without symptoms, tested positive for the virus a second time.
The World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated the finding, assuring that it broadens its understanding of immunity against the coronavirus.
“We commend the researchers for doing these studies,” Michael Ryan, head of the organization, told reporters in Geneva. And he considered that this finding makes “hope that there will be longer periods of protection” when a vaccine is available.
Maria van Kerkhove, WHO technical leader on COVID-19, said: “We still need to follow these people over a longer period of time to see how long immunity lasts.”
However, these results contradict those of another British study, published in October by Imperial College London and the Ipsos Mori Institute, according to which the immunity acquired by people recovered from the coronavirus decreases “quite rapidly”, particularly in asymptomatic patients. , and it could last only a few months.
And what happens beyond six months? The Oxford researchers said they had not yet gathered enough data to make a judgment about it.
However, their study aims to verify how long immunity lasts in total.