Contracting COVID-19 is nearly as effective at preventing reinfection as the two top coronavirus vaccines — but there are a few catches.
A study by Public Health England, which has yet to be peer reviewed, tested 21,000 health-care workers across the U.K. and found 6,614 of them had antibodies against COVID-19, indicating they'd contracted the virus in the past. But of those who'd been infected, 44 had possibly gotten the virus again despite their antibodies, indicating an 83 percent chance of protection against reinfection over five months, CNN reports.
As Forbes notes, 83 percent isn't far off from the 95 percent effectiveness provided by Moderna's vaccine, or the 94 percent from Pfizer's. Still, that percentage means it's very possible for people who've gotten the virus to contract it again, the study notes. That fact has been proven over the past year as people who've recovered from COVID-19 have tested positive for it again months later. Researchers also found those who were seemingly immune to the virus may still carry it around and transmit it to other people, showing why it's still important to wear a mask and take other precautions regardless of past infections or vaccination.
The study will keep monitoring the workers for a year to determine just how long the antibody protections last.