First case of a reinfected patient in the world

A 33-year-old man from Hong Kong has become the world’s first documented case of Covid-19 reinfection; the patient was cured of the virus in April but tested positive again in August

| 08/24/2020 | ionicons-v5-c11: 23 | . |

Beijing, China.- A Hong Kong 33-year-old has become the first case documented from reinfection by COVID-19 in the world, according to researchers at the University of Hong Kongreported today, Monday, the local media of the Chinese special administrative region.

The patient was discharged after being cured of the virus in April but earlier this month he tested positive again after returning from Spain, according to local public television RTHK.

According to the city’s health authorities, at first it was thought that the man could be a « persistent carrier » of SARS-CoV-2, coronavirus causing the pandemic COVID-19, and keep the infectious agent in your body from your previous illness.

However, researchers at the University of Hong Kong they assure that the genetic sequences of the strains of the virus that the man contracted in April and in August are « clearly different ».

This discovery could be a setback for those who base their strategy against the pandemic on the supposed immunity obtained after passing the disease.

« Many believe that recovered COVID-19 patients have immunity against reinfections because most developed a response based on neutralizing antibodies in serum, » notes the study from the University of Hong Kong.

The researchers recall that « there is evidence that some patients have decreasing levels of antibodies after a few months. »

The study has been accepted by the medical journal ‘Clinical Infectious Diseases’ (‘clinical infectious diseases’, in English), published by the British University of Oxford.

According to experts from the University of Hong Kong, « SARS-CoV-2 could persist in the human population, as is the case with other coronavirus common humans associated with colds, even though patients have gained immunity through natural infection. « 

Therefore, they recommend that patients recovered from COVID-19 keep wearing masks and respecting social distance.

Likewise, the absence of a long-lasting natural immunity would imply that those recovered from the disease would not avoid undergoing vaccination once an effective vaccine is discovered: « Since immunity may be short-lived (…), it should also be considered vaccination for those who have experienced an episode of infection. « 

In mid-July, the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed its hope that those recovered from the COVID-19 maintain some degree of immunity for several months.

As the head of the Department of Emerging Diseases of the institution, Maria van Kerkhove, recalled then, « in other coronavirus like MERS or SARS, immunity lasted about 12 months or even a little longer. « 

However, despite the fact that those infected develop an immune response, it is still unknown how solid this is or its duration.