GENEVA, Apr 25 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said Saturday that there is currently “no evidence” that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second coronavirus infection SARS-CoV-2.
In a scientific report, the United Nations agency advised against issuing “immunity passports” or “certificates of being free of risk” to infected people, as their accuracy cannot be guaranteed.
The practice could actually increase the risks of continued spread since people who have recovered may ignore advice about taking standard precautions against the virus, he warned.
“Some governments have suggested that detecting antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for a ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate’ that would allow people to travel or go back to work assuming they are protected from reinfection, “the WHO said.
“There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”
Chile indicated last week that it would begin issuing “health passports” to people who have recovered from the disease. Once examined to determine if they have developed antibodies to make them immune to the virus, they could immediately join the workforce.
The WHO said it was continuing to review the evidence on antibody responses to the virus, which emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
Global coronavirus-related deaths exceeded the 200,000 threshold on Saturday, with confirmed cases of the virus expected to reach 3 million in the coming days, according to a Reuters count.
Most studies have shown that people who have recovered from an infection have antibodies to the virus, the WHO said. However, some of them have very low levels of neutralizing antibodies in their blood. “
(Report by Stephanie Nebehay; Edited in Spanish by Janisse Huambachano)