Repeated Covid infection doesn’t boost immunity, can raise long Covid risk: WHO official

London: The theory that prior Covid infections boost up people’s immunity levels, helping them to fight future variants may not be so true, as per a World Health Organisation (WHO) official.

According to David Nabarro, WHO’s special envoy for Covid-19, repeated Covid infection may instead increase people’s risk of long Covid.

“Having Covid multiple times does not build up resistance or immunity because the virus is always changing,” Nabarro was quoted as saying to Sky News. It is more likely to increase your chances of getting long Covid.

“The more times you get it, the more likely you are to be unlucky and end up with long Covid — which is the thing that none of us want because it can be so serious.

“It can knock people off their stride for several months,” Nabarro said.

Long Covid is defined as having new or ongoing symptoms four weeks or more after the start of disease. Symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of concentration, and joint pain. The symptoms can adversely affect day-to-day activities, and in some cases can be severely limiting. It can linger for months and years after an infection.

Earlier Nabarro said Covid has now become an “inconvenience” for most people rather than “life-threatening”.

He expressed concerns for elderly and those with health conditions, as well as the unvaccinated, as they “are going to be badly affected”.

“I’m not worried for the world in that I really do believe that a lot has been learnt and at the same time the virus is evolving,” Nabarro said.

“But I am worried for individuals who may be at risk because they are in the older age group or have other conditions that mean they are likely to get severely ill.

“I am worried for people who decided not to be vaccinated because I think their risks are greater as well.”

The current rise in global infections are due to the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.

Nabarro said that the strains are capable of “dodging past the protection” from vaccines. He urged people to be “responsible” and continue to wear masks and social distance “to protect others” – as Covid cases continue to surge, the report said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Sambad English staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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