Can a person get reinfected by COVID-19?



Fighting novel coronavirus can be alonger battle than anyone thought. So, when patients walk into medical centres complaining of COVID symptoms post recovery, it could mean potential worries.

While it can be normal for patients to suffer from some of the symptoms until weeks after defeating the virus, reinfection is still a question which hasn't been answered until now. Globally, there have been some reported cases of people developing COVID-19 for the second time even after making a successful recovery from the same. So, it does leave some questions which need to be answered.

01/ Is reinfection possible? Can a person catch COVID-19 more than once?

Scientists till now, have stressed that re-infection should not be possible since a person gains enough antibodies to prevent a repeated attack. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, in its latest advisory also said that there is no evidence which is suggestive of the same. They also added that while there is no surety as to how could a person be immune to reinfection and for the sizeable cases of reinfection which exist, investigative studies might be required.

02/ What happens when you recover from coronavirus for the first time?

The way our bodies learn to fight a disease is by remembering the genetic make-up of the existing virus. Post battling a viral infection, a person gains antibodies which help the immune system remember the first attack and prepare itself for any sort of future attacks. Thus, the body would be in a better state to fight the infection.

03/ Why does reinfection happen then?

Even though there exists only little clinical evidence about people catching COVID-19 again, scientists suggest that there can be multiple meanings of what reinfection could mean, making us understand as to why this could happen

A probable reason for this could be the fact that once a person recovers from the infection, the viral load in the body depletes. In some cases, a recovered patient could go on to have low levels of virus in the body and hence, make them prone to show symptoms and get reinfected.

The viral load could persist in the body for up to three months time, which is the duration which most people who get reinfected were diagnosed with. However, scientists believe that a positive diagnosis for the second time, post complete recovery is not a case of reinfection but virus shedding due to leftover traces of virus left in the body.

04/ Virus can continue to linger in the body post recovery

It could also so happen that some people get infected more than once because the novel coronavirus stays dormant in their body until it reemerges.

Experts are also pointing out to a remote possibility that since COVID-19 has symptoms similar to that of other respiratory illnesses, a person who gets infected again might be suffering from another viral disease- and mistaking it for COVID-19.

A recent CDC advisory issued also concurred the same: “Recovered persons can continue to shed detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA in upper respiratory specimens for up to three months after illness onset, albeit at concentrations considerably lower than during illness, in ranges where replication-competent virus (those that can replicate and spread) has not been reliably recovered and infectiousness is unlikely. The etiology (cause of the disease) of this persistently detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA has yet to be determined,”

05/ Can transmission still happen?

One of the biggest risk factors with COVID-19 is the rapid rate with which the infection could spread from contagious carriers. If reinfection or viral load still persists, it only raises fears of further transmission and COVID spread. However, scientists have been quick to confirm that even though patients can have a low or moderate viral load in their bodies weeks after recovery, transmission risk is fairly low or even rare. Studies conducted so far have not proven the same.

06/ How long do antibodies stay for?

Over the past month or two, researchers sampled data to observe the prevalence of antibodies. While it is true that a person can gain antibodies post infection, the time for which it may last may be difficult to fix. One study done in the USA seemed to note that in COVID infected individuals, antibodies will peak at about 20 to 30 days after symptom onset, and then they decline, which could explain as to why certain individuals could be repeatedly diagnosed with COVID-19.

07/ Milder COVID infections may offer lasting immunity as well

Interestingly, the presence of antibodies and the time for which it lasts may also have something to do with the type of infection you have in the first place-mild, moderate or severe. While until now it was seen that mild coronavirus cases may not guarantee much immunity to patients, newer studies have proved that even with milder forms of infection, people can get lasting immunity, since the infection could trigger T-cell levels in the immune system and provide protection for a longer duration.




from LifeStyle
Can a person get reinfected by COVID-19? Can a person get reinfected by COVID-19? Reviewed by streakoggi on August 19, 2020 Rating: 5
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