HIQA publishes four evidence summaries to support national response to COVID-19

13 May 2020: The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published four summaries of academic research and evidence to support the National Public Health Emergency Team’s (NPHET’s) response to COVID-19.

The summaries published today investigate the international evidence on immunity and the spread of the virus by children.

“An Australian study that examined potential spread from 18 confirmed (nine students and nine staff) cases to over 800 close contacts in 15 different schools found that no teacher or staff member contracted COVID-19 from any of the initial school cases. One child from a primary school and one child from a high school may have contracted COVID-19 from the initial cases at their schools.”

HIQA also found that there remains a lack of clear evidence as to whether long-term immunity is possible from SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).

Dr Ryan continued: “Studies have shown that antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 develop soon after infection. Immunoglobulin G antibodies (that contribute to long-term immunity) have been detected for at least two months after infection. However, as SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus, there is no long term evidence of immunity. Continued monitoring is needed to assess the adequacy and duration of the immune response for COVID-19. Evidence for other types of serious coronavirus infections, such as SARS-CoV-1, shows that the antibody response is maintained for one-to-two years after initial infection and decreases thereafter. As yet, it is also not certain if antibodies are transferred from mother to the child in the womb via the placenta.”

“It is not yet possible to determine if reinfection is possible following recovery from COVID-19. While some individuals have tested positive after recovery, this is likely due to virus re-detection where there is intermittent shedding of the virus rather than reinfection with a second virus. To date, there is no evidence that these individuals are infectious to others.”

The evidence summaries were developed by HIQA following requests from NPHET’s Clinical Expert Advisory Group and are informing the national response to the pandemic.

Dr Ryan continued: “HIQA develops evidence summaries following a thorough search of bibliographic databases, screening of identified studies to match relevant clinical questions, data extraction and quality appraisal of included studies. This robust process ensures that public health decisions are informed by the best available evidence and information from across the world.”

Read the evidence summaries at

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