Though research on reinfection of COVID-19 specifically isn't available because it's still so new, one study took a look at if people who've had other coronaviruses and recovered are immune to them afterward.
MONDAY, May 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- People all over the globe who've recovered from the new coronavirus want to know the same thing: Am I immune, at least for a while? A new study of common coronaviruses is not exactly reassuring.
Researchers found it was "not uncommon" for people with run-of-the-mill coronaviruses (not the one that causes COVID-19) to have a repeat infection within a year. Of 86 New York City residents infected with those coronaviruses, 12 tested positive for the same bug again.
A big caveat is, the study looked only at the four coronaviruses that are endemic in humans -- the kind that cause nothing worse than cold symptoms.
"They're kind of wimpy," said researcher Jeffrey Shaman, a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. "People rarely have to go to the doctor for these infections."
So it's hard to know, Shaman said, whether our experiences with endemic coronaviruses will translate to SARS-CoV-2 -- the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
"It's not the same as these endemic viruses," Shaman said. "But obviously, we can't look at repeat infections with [SARS-CoV-2], because it's new."
In lieu of that, he said, analyzing the patterns of regular coronaviruses -- how often reinfections occur, and in what time frame -- may at least give a sense of what could happen with the new virus.