The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci says that public health officials around the world are starting to see cases of coronavirus reinfection. He added that these cases are well-documented and are of people who contracted the virus and after a brief period of weeks or months contracted the virus again when exposed, in other words, no one is immune to the virus, so everyone has to be careful.
President of the United States Donald Trump after recovering from the virus said that now he is immune to the virus. However, experts are of the opinion that coronavirus reinfection is very much a possibility in the survivor of the virus, but they admit that it’s rare. Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said that out of nearly 40 million cases of the virus reported worldwide, there are only a couple dozen cases of the coronavirus reinfection.
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In August the first case of coronavirus reinfection was reported in a Hong Kong man (33 years of age) and the first documented case of covid19 reinfection in the US was also reported in the same month in a Nevada man (25 years of age). He was first infected with the virus in April but recovered afterward, however, a month or so later he was positive for the virus again. Moreover, the one and only death so far that was caused by the coronavirus reinfection occurred to a Dutch woman (89 years of age) who was also suffering from cancer and died after getting infected with the virus for the 2nd time.
Although anyone can be infected with the virus twice, the scientists are trying to find answers about how long the covid19 antibodies last in an individual and who has the more probability to get infected again. As the pandemic is not even a year old, scientists will need some more time to answer these questions.
University of Arizona researchers found that the antibodies capable of protecting against the coronavirus are produced in an infected person for a period of not less than 5 to 7 months after getting infected. Some other studies conducted in Canada and in Massachusetts also believe in long-term immunity. A Professor at the University of Toronto Jennifer Gommerman said if the covid19 vaccine is designed properly, it will potentially induce a robust antibody response against the virus in the person getting vaccinated.
The researchers from Arizona also noticed that the more a person is ill with the virus the stronger his immune response was. Swaminathan also agrees with the finding. She said that a large number of people who were asymptomatic or were very mildly infected with the virus did not produce any detectable antibodies. However, according to her, people who were moderately or severely infected produced detectable antibodies.
The thing which is still not clear is how the coronavirus reinfections can impact the coronavirus vaccine. The Hong Kong man, when reinfected with the virus was symptomless, however, the Nevada man fell more critically ill of the virus the second time.