WHO issues correction following nisleading tweet on immunity in recovered COVID-19 patients
- 28 April 2020
After being accused of misleading the public, the World Health Organization (WHO) has walked back a newsworthy statement which claimed there was “no evidence” that patients who have recovered from the COVID-19 novel coronavirus will be resistant to a future infection, APA reports quoting Sputnik.
A scientific brief on “‘Immunity passports’ in the context of COVID-19” was published by the WHO on Friday which pushed back against the idea that individuals with antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes COVID-19 - could be granted a type of “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate” by their governments, allowing them to travel or go back to work.
“As of 24 April 2020, no study has evaluated whether the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 confers immunity to subsequent infection by this virus in humans,” noted the WHO.
However, the agency’s social media team did not provide this context in a since-deleted tweet which simply stated, “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from [COVID-19] and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.” Though this statement is correct, it’s to be expected that there is not yet verified evidence of such an immunity to the novel coronavirus, as it is only a few months old.
The WHO highlighted the infamous tweet in a follow-up thread which better explained its statement on immunity.