A man has got reinfected with the coronavirus or COVID-19 within just 48 hours of first catching the deadly disease, suggesting that the immunity against the virus might not stay very long. The patient in Washoe County, Nevada, USA, got infected with two distinct variants of the virus while testing negative in between.
His second case of infecting was more dangerous with the symptoms including fever, nausea, headache, diarrhea, which caused hospitalization. It is the first confirmed case of reinfection in the US and only the fifth in the world, as per reports.
The man has been discharged from the hospital and he did not have any known health problems or immune defects that would have made him susceptible to getting COVID-19. Dr. Mark Pandori, from the University of Nevada, was the leader of a team that conducted a study into the condition of the man for the Lancet Infectious Disease journal.
Questions Raised About Immunity Against COVID-19
"There are still many unknowns about SARS-CoV-2 infections and the immune system's response, but our findings signal that a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection may not necessarily protect against future infection," he said as reported by the Daily Star.
"It is important to note this is a singular finding and does not provide generalisability of this phenomenon. While more research is needed, the possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for our understanding of Covid-19 immunity, especially in the absence of an effective vaccine," he added.
The doctor mentioned that it also suggests that people who tested positive for the disease must continue to take precautions seriously including social distancing, hand washing, and wearing face masks. The other confirmed cases of reinfection were in Belgium, Ecuador, Netherlands, Hong Kong, as per reports. But before the case in the US, the patient in Ecuador showed a more severe reaction in the second case of infection.
The expert mentioned that more research is required to understand how long the immunity might last for people who are exposed to the virus and why some of the second infections are more severe. "So far, we've only seen a handful of reinfection cases, but that doesn't mean there aren't more, especially as many cases of Covid-19 are asymptomatic. Right now, we can only speculate about the cause of reinfection," Pandori added.
The deadly virus outbreak has infected more than 37.8 million people globally until now and is currently spreading like wildfire. An effective vaccine is expected by the first quarter of 2021 as experts are trying to understand more about the characteristics of the virus.