A Russian scientist took two for the team – becoming infected twice with the coronavirus for the sake of an experiment, according to a report.
Alexander Chepurnov, a professor of virology and expert at the Novosibirsk Federal Research Center of Basic and Translational medicine, decided to become a guinea pig to find out for how long antibodies will protect him from a repeat infection.
“I spoke to the COVID patients and realized that the exposure happens at certain period. In six months after the first case, I had confirmed COVID once again,” he told the Russian news agency TASS.
Chepurnov said he first contracted the deadly bug in the early days of the pandemic on a flight from France to Novosibirsk with a stopover in Moscow.
He developed the characteristic COVID-19 symptoms and also developed pneumonia later.
After recovering, he took a test that revealed the presence of antibodies, the outlet reported.
A second test three months later found that the antibodies had disappeared – though another infection did not occur despite his constant close contact with coronavirus patients.
The scientists decided to administer periodic tests in an effort to determine for how long his immune system would continue to protect him from the virus.
After six months, he developed symptoms and was confirmed to be infected.
“My conclusion is that mankind will most likely be unable to obtain a herd immunity to the coronavirus. I was ready to contract the infection for the second time in order to clear the situation this way,” Chepurnov told TASS.
He said the disappearance of the antibodies will prevent people from developing a collective immunity.
Chepurnov suggested that a one-time administration of the Russian vaccine may be insufficient to maintain the immunity, saying periodic vaccinations may be much more effective.