The new study, from Imperial College London, involved more than 365,000 randomly selected adults who tested themselves at home using a finger prick test to check if they had antibodies against Covid-19.
Experts leading the Real-Time Assessment of Community Transmission (React-2) study said the findings suggested immunity was “waning quite rapidly”, which could lead to an increased risk of reinfection.
Dr Hilary appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss the findings
“We need to distinguish between natural immunity and immunity that the vaccine might confer,” he said.
“The research that’s been done on 350,000 people being repeatedly tested over the course of time has shown that natural immunity, when you’re exposed to the virus over a period of time, does tend to wane.
“So, being exposed to Covid-19 doesn’t necessarily guarantee immunity going forward. Now, that’s a blow. We didn’t want to hear that.
Dr Hilary said that the people needed to forget about achieving herd immunity by catching Covid-19 in the community.
“Nor did we want to hear that the idea of herd immunity, which so many people have been relying on, that’s blown out of the water as well.’
“We’ve got to forget that getting Covid-19 will make us immune going forward.
However, while he put aside natural immunity, Dr Hillary said that herd immunity from a vaccine still offered some hope.
“The vaccine does tend to give a strong immune response according to the trials so far.”