Nursing home residents previously infected with COVID-19 have a substantially reduced risk of contracting the disease again within the following year, according to just-released research. 

The study, led by researchers with the University of College London’s Institute of Health Informatics, looked at COVID rates among more than 2,000 nursing home residents and staff, between October and February, who were infected with the disease up to 10 months prior. 

The analysis revealed that residents with a previous infection were 85% less likely to be infected during this four-month period than residents who had never been infected. Staff with past infection were 60% less likely than staff who had not had the infection before to be diagnosed during the study period.

The findings showed “strong protection in both groups,” according to investigators. 

“It’s really good news that natural infection protects against reinfection in this time period. The risk of being infected twice appears to be very low,” lead author Maria Krutikov, Ph.D., said in a statement. 

“The fact that prior COVID-19 infection gives a high level of protection to care home residents is also reassuring, given past concerns that these individuals might have less robust immune responses associated with increasing age. These findings are particularly important as this vulnerable group has not been the focus of much research,” she added. 

Full findings were published in the June edition of Lancet Healthy Longevity.