Immunity passports are not recommended by the World Health Organization, as revealed by an official on Wednesday. These documents offer travel authorities to people who have already contracted the disease, thinking they are already immune and will not be put at risk of contracting the virus from their travel destination. However, the WHO reiterates the lack of evidence against said immunity, thus, cautions the countries on implementing such measures.
Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, the assistant director of Pan American Health Organization under the WHO, has revealed that such notions, introduced months ago, have been abandoned by many scientists across the globe due to the uncertainty surrounding the claim. A small study conducted by Chinese researches in China has unveiled the fact that those who showed milder symptoms or those that are asymptomatic have lower antibody responses when compared to those who manifested the symptoms and recovered.
These new claims are proving to be challenging for scientists involved in the research for a COVID-19 vaccine. The data implies the need for regular doses to be injected into the system if the general population aims to bring back their everyday life. Chinese, U.S., and U.K. studies have all agreed that the longevity of the body’s immunity to the virus needs to be scrutinized further, as it is unclear how long these will last in the system. According to a UCLA study, antibodies were observed to have halved over a 2.5-month period. However, one of the team members states that they are uncertain whether or not the same rate of decline is constant over time.
Deepta Bhattacharya of the University of Arizona states that the studies they have been conducting do not point to dire circumstances. Even though immune response does indeed seem to last only temporarily, this immunity remains crucial in giving the population ample time to be more careful of the virus and also gives front liners a small window of rest.
With all these uncertainties surrounding the situation of immunity to COVID-19, the World Health Organization continues to promote the practice of regular hand sanitation, social distancing, and the wearing of face masks to combat the virus. Reports of the vaccines being already available by the end of the year may seem promising, but the public is advised to still adhere to the necessary precautions.