Coronavirus: What are the chances of reinfection?

The World Health Organisation officials are saying that it is still unclear about the need for people to be tested again for coronavirus. According to the officials, some people who recover from the virus do not have the anti-bodies to fight the coronavirus infection a second time.

During a press conference in Geneva on Monday, April 13, Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO's emergencies programme, referred to reinfection and said that the UN body did not know the answers yet.

According to Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's lead scientist on Covid-19, preliminary research on patients from Shanghai showed that while some had "no detectable antibody response", others had. But it was unclear if patients with strong anti-body response have immunity against coronavirus a second time. The WHO officials said that 300,000 of the 1.87 million coronavirus cases across the world had recovered, adding that there was need for more research and data to analyse the antibody response.


Antibody response in terms of immunity

The WHO is still understanding the antibody response in terms of the immunity of the recovered patients. Ryan said there were questions about the virus reactivating after coronavirus patients tested negative for the infection.

"There are many reasons why we might see the reactivation of infection either with the same infection or another infectious agent," he said

There are chances of the virus being present in the system. Some can also develop a bacterial infection. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that they are trying to develop a method of test to detect the presence of coronavirus antibodies in recovered patients' bodies. The WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference at the organization's Geneva headquarters on Monday that the speed of the spread was very fast but the slowing down of the infection spread was quite slow.

Several leaders have said that economies need to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. But the rate of the infection going down is comparatively slow. The WHO has hence warned again that reopening could pose a threat to reducing the number of infections.

The apprehension comes in the wake of cases of reinfection in places like South Korea and China.

This article was first published on April 14, 2020
Related topics : Coronavirus