Articles

Can COVID-19 Infect Someone Twice?

Share

The entire world is currently witnessing rapidly consecutive developments, as we all face the latest coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has invaded all continents and countries; hence, deservedly acquiring the status of pandemic as announced by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In such times, numerous questions and fears arise; everyone worries, and assumptions and theories increase in an attempt to answer these questions. One famous question is: Can a person cured from COVID-19 get infected again? The answer is "No".

Texas A&M University researchers report that the appearance of antibodies in a patient's body immediately after his/her exposure to the virus, completely denies the possibility of a second infection. The body develops these antibodies within seven–ten days of first exposure to the virus. However, some COVID-19 patients have tested positive after recovery, upon being re-tested by laboratories.

For example, a woman in Osaka, Japan, tested positive for COVID-19 several weeks after recovery and being discharged from the isolation hospital. Other reports from China and Korea state that the infection has returned; the fact that reinfection twice and thrice is common among coronaviruses that cause the common cold and influenza is increasing confusion and raising more questions.

Scientists confirm that viral pathogens that cause cold are quite different from the new coronavirus. Positive results of COVID-19 recovered patients are attributed to several factors, including that the previous negative tests were not accurate or deficient; for example, using a low-quality test sample, and the patient is still infected.

The person might have caught an infection by another corona family virus, not COVID-19, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), or there are remnants of COVID-19 viral DNA that were not completely eliminated by the body; yet, these are certainly not sufficient to infect a recovered person again.

Researchers elaborate on opposing the idea of reinfection, because there is no possibility of virus reactivation after its death. The closest theory to reality is capturing the remnants of the viral DNA present in cells, causing positive test results, as they remain for a long time in the cells, even after the virus is eliminated.

You might like to check this video:

Can patients get re-infected after recovering from coronavirus?

Another question might pop up to mind: Does a COVID-19 recovered patient acquire permanent immunity to the virus? Infectious diseases specialists at the National University of Singapore confirm that the data and information they have are the same as previous coronaviruses. For example, SARS survivors kept antibodies for three years, indicating their acquisition of immunity.

It is expected that those numbers will be close in the case of COVID-19; of course, immunity varies from one individual to another according to age and strength of the formed antibodies. Younger and healthier recovered patients are expected to have a strong response to antibodies; yet, the definitive answer to this question is far from here, as it requires numerous laboratory and clinical researches.

Scientists, thus, have not completely ruled out the possibility of a recurring COVID-19 infection, but it cannot occur in such a short period of a few weeks; the formed antibodies protect the body for an average period of two–three years.

 

References

fortune.com

livescience.com

seattletimes.com

time.com

About Us

SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
Continue reading

Contact Us

P.O. Box 138, Chatby 21526, Alexandria, EGYPT
Tel.: +(203) 4839999
Ext.: 1737–1781
Email: COPU.editors@bibalex.org

Become a member

© 2020 | Bibliotheca Alexandrina