Re-infection Possibilities in COVID-19 patients

Discussion among the scientists and medical professionals can be seen regarding chances of re-infection among the COVID-19 patient. On the occasion, experts have been curious to know whether a COVID-19 patient can gain a permanent immunity over the virus. In order to find out definite answer to these questions, scientists have been working constantly. Through a recent study, plausible cases of COVID-19 re-infection have been found in India.
On the occasion, the study has been conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research. 1300 coronavirus patients have been found that have been infected with the virus twice. According to the researchers 58 cases among them that are 4.5% of total number of cases are considered to be re-infections. In case of two COVID-19 patients among the 58 cases, re-infection has been seen with the gap of mere 102 days. However, there have been negative results in between also.

The study explains, “A working epidemiological case definition of SARS CoV-2 reinfection is important to strengthen surveillance. The present investigation contributes to this goal and records reinfection in 4.5% of SARS CoV-2 infected individuals in India”
Soon, the study is going to be published in the journal titled Epidemiology and Infection. If a patient is re-infected with the coronavirus within a span of 102 days with a negative result in between then it can be looked as the possible case with re-infection.

How to identify cases of re-infection?

Through genome analysis of the virus sample, confirmation can be given regarding re-infection only. Mutation of coronavirus has been happening constantly. Therefore, it is possible to know about the difference between the samples through the genome sequencing only.
However, genome sequencing has not been done by ICMR always due to lack of samples. Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Disease from ICMR Dr. Samiran Panda has said, “The reinfection cases were earlier confirmed by only genome sequencing for which we need specific infrastructure, which may not be available everywhere. With the new definition, we can easily tab reinfection cases in India”
During the study, patients have been evaluated that have reported to go through re-infection. On the occasion, the patient has been come under the control of virus within 102 days from the first infection.

Bottom line

As genome sequencing has not been done always, therefore findings from this study cannot be considered conclusive. However, the study has established the fact that permanent immunity from the virus due to a prior infection is not possible. Experts have once again advised the people to wear mask and maintain social distance.

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