The WHO is discouraging governments from issuing 'immunity passports,' warning there's 'no evidence' that recovered coronavirus patients can't be infected again
The WHO warned governments on Saturday to not issue 'immunity passports' for recovered coronavirus patients since there is "no evidence" to indicate they developed antibodies protecting them from reinfection. "The use of such certificates may therefore increase the risks of continued transmission," the UN agency said in a scientific brief. Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN earlier this month the federal government was weighing whether it should issue the immunity passports. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The World Health Organization on Saturday discouraged governments from issuing immunity passports, warning there was still "no evidence" to indicate recovered coronavirus patients are shielded from future infections. The agency said in a scientific brief that it's still too early to tell whether patients who recovered from the virus developed antibodies giving them immunity. "At this point in the pandemic, there is not enough evidence about the effectiveness of antibody-mediated immunity to guarantee the accuracy of an 'immunity passport' or 'risk-free certificate'," the WHO said. "People who assume that they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may ignore public health advice." It added: "The use of such certificates may therefore increase the risks of continued transmission." Leaders around the world are starting to weigh reopening their economies after several weeks of a shutdown aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, which has killed nearly 200,000 people around the world. Some have debated issuing so-called immunity passports designed to allow people who recovered to go back to work. Read more: Tests that can tell who's had the coronavirus are crucial to reopening the country. Here are the companies racing to bring them to the US healthcare system. Chile became the first country to issue the passports, The Washington Post reported. People receiving either the digital or physical cards will be exempted from quarantines or other social restrictions. The UK is also mulling whether it should take a similar step. Such certificates are tied to coronavirus antibody tests, which raise concern among public health experts since their quick development is leading to faulty results. In the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said on CNN earlier this month that the idea of the passports "might have some merit under certain circumstances" and it was under consideration at the time. Read more: 'It's a disaster': More than 100 companies are pumping unapproved coronavirus tests into the US healthcare system The federal government has entered discussions with AI startup Onfido about rolling out the passports across the country, Business Insider's Martin Coulter previously reported.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
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Experts suspect – but there is no proof – that antibodies will confer immunity. The implications...Experts suspect – but there is no proof – that antibodies will confer immunity. The implications could be wide-rangingCoronavirus – latest global updatesScrolling through Airbnbs in Brooklyn, one listing stands out. “IMMUNE HOST,” claims the heading in caps. Among photos of rooftop sunsets and interiors, lies something else unexpected – a picture of a positive antibody test. Related: Is it safe to protest during a pandemic? Experts answer our questions Continue reading...
As WHO warns no evidence exists to suggest people can’t catch Covid-19 twice, India, Belgium and...As WHO warns no evidence exists to suggest people can’t catch Covid-19 twice, India, Belgium and Greece among latest countries to ease lockdownsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe global toll from Covid-19 passed 200,000 on Saturday, with over 2.8 million people infected, as the WHO warned against issuing “immunity passports” because there is no evidence people who recovered from the disease are protected against a second infection.It took more than three months after the coronavirus first emerged for deaths from the disease to pass 100,000, a grim milestone that was reached on 10 April. It took just over two weeks for that toll to double, and worldwide the number of confirmed infections is creeping towards 3 million. Continue reading...
Italy sees a glimmer of hope in its high rate of coronavirus infections — more people whose antibodies can potentially be used to treat those still hospitalized
Italy's high infection rate may mean they have more people able to donate plasma to help...Italy's high infection rate may mean they have more people able to donate plasma to help treat people severely suffering from COVID-19, according to CNN. Several studies have shown that antibodies in plasma from recovered patients or people who were infected with the virus could be successful at treating severe coronavirus patients. However, an effective antibody test has yet to be developed. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Italy is looking for a silver lining, after being the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe with over 165,000 infections. According to CNN, the country that now has the highest death toll is hoping to use antibodies from those who recovered from COVID-19 to treat those still battling the virus. A doctor told CNN that the high number of infections means there are more people who can donate plasma. "Good can come out of this. We had such a huge outbreak, [that] now we have many potential donors," Fausto Baldanti told CNN. Business Insider previously reported that donor blood plasma from a recovered patient was being tested as a possible coronavirus treatment. The antibodies in the plasma could help fight against the virus in a patient's body. According to CNN, the use of plasma or even whole blood from recovered patients has been used to treated patients with other illnesses. According to Business Insider, two recent studies of plasma from people who recovered from COVID-19 used to treat those still severely ill with the virus have been promising. Baldanti is a virologist at the University of Pavia San Matteo Hospital, in the Lombardy region of Italy. Lombardy was the epicenter of Italy's outbreak and accounts for the most infections and deaths. At one point the region pulled doctors out of retirement and asked to have nurses close to finishing their degrees graduate early to help with the influx of cases. Baldanti told CNN he hopes "this plasma treatment can be crucial for controlling the infection in patients admitted to intensive care units," but the treatment is only in an experimental phase in the country. How helpful largely depends on developers creating a reliable and proven way to test for coronavirus antibodies, according to CNN. According to Business Insider, several companies including Abbott have launched new antibody tests that they aim to make available in the near future. CNN reported that the Food and Drug Administration recently tightened restrictions on antibody tests in the US after previous relaxed rules caused low-quality tests. In Italy, Giancarlo Maria Liumbruno, the director-general of the Italian National Blood Center is looking to have an antibody test available in weeks. "We should have a serological exam (blood test) that is approved to test if someone has antibodies by the end of April. We will start selecting the first donors by the end of the month," Liumbruno told CNN. However, trials of this process have already started in some hospitals in northern Italy. Plasma from patients who recovered and tested negative for at least two weeks is used on those still battling COVID-19. Italy has more than 1.7 million blood donors that the country could screen to see if they've had COVID-19 and now have antibodies that could fight the virus, Liumbruno told CNN. Their goal is to have repeat volunteers with antibodies donate plasma that could be used. Scientists would screen to see who is best to have their plasma used. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How the Navy's largest hospital ship can help with the coronavirus