- There are chances that tests could have been false positives: Scientists
- No evidence of patients spreading virus after retesting positive: Experts
- Some studies suggest antibodies against COVID-19 may last only few months
Washington: Can you get the coronavirus twice? Scientists don’t know for sure yet, but they believe it’s unlikely. Health experts think people who had COVID-19 will have some immunity against a repeat infection. But they don’t know how much protection or how long it would last. There have been reports of people testing positive for the virus weeks after they were believed to have recovered, leading some to think they may have been reinfected.
More likely, experts say people were suffering from the same illness or the tests detected remnants of the original infection. There’s also the chance tests could have been false positives. Scientists say there has been no documented instance of a patient spreading the virus to others after retesting positive.
With similar viruses, studies have shown that people could fall sick again three months to a year after their first infections. It’s still too early to know whether that’s also possible with the coronavirus. “It’s very much emerging science,” said Dr Philip Landrigan, director of the global public health program at Boston College.
A small US study published last week also found the antibodies that fight the coronavirus may only last a few months in people with mild illness, suggesting people could become susceptible again. But antibodies aren’t the only defence against a virus, and the other parts of the immune system could also help provide protection.
Settling the question of whether reinfection is possible is important. If it can occur, that could undermine the idea of “immunity passports” for returning back to workplaces. And it would not bode well for hopes of getting a long-lasting vaccine.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.