Health Care

Researchers report case of coronavirus reinfection

Researchers report case of coronavirus reinfection”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, doctors have reported that some patients have seemingly contracted coronavirus, recovered from it, and contracted it again.

Researchers from Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (HKU), said that they have proven the first instance of human re-infection by SARS-CoV-2 by using the next generation sequencing.

Those infected develop an immune response as their bodies fight off the virus which helps to protect them against it returning.

"Moreover there are also reports that the virus RNA can wax and wane in the respiratory secretions of convalescent patients for up to 3 months", said the statement adding that it is unclear whether these patients are prolonged virus shedders or have re-infection by another strain of SARS-CoV-2 as no viral genome sequencing is performed to differentiate these two possibilities. Sweden tried to take this approach, but ended up with far more COVID-19 deaths than its neighbors and "no economic gains" to show for it, economists said.

A man walks past a mural in Hong Kong on Sunday. "Immunity induced by vaccination can be different from those induced by natural infection", To said." will need to wait for the results of the vaccine trials to see if how effective vaccines are".

"Patients with previous Covid-19 infection should also comply with epidemiological control measures such as universal masking and social distancing".

The study has been accepted by medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, but the full research is yet to be published.

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Our findings suggest that [Covid-19] may persist in the global human population as is the case for other common-cold associated human coronaviruses, even if patients have acquired immunity via natural infection.

Nevertheless, other experts have urged caution on the findings, with Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, saying: "The significant thing here is that being reinfected with a mutated strain demonstrates that it is more likely to be reinfection, rather than the same infection that has hung around because the virus has not actually been got rid of, as some people have suggested happens".

"It appears that the young and healthy adult has been reinfected with a slight SARS-CoV-2 variant from the initial infection three months previously".

"This is a very rare example of reinfection", said Brendan Wren, professor of microbial pathogenesis, at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Instances of people discharged from hospitals and testing positive again for COVID-19 infection have been reported in mainland China.

It's important to document cases like the one described in Hong Kong, "but not jump to any conclusions", Van Kerkhove said.

The health officials were unsure at first if the Hong Kong man was a "persistent carrier" of the virus from his previous infection. More than 23.44 million cases have been reported worldwide, while over 15.2 million patients have recovered, according to figures compiled by the US' Johns Hopkins University. "We need to look at something like this on a population level".

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