Is it possible to re-infect the coronavirus once it has recovered from it? To understand cases of reinfection SARS-CoV2, the Indian Medical Research Council (ICMR) recently formed a team of scientists to identify the most likely cases of coronavirus reinfection. Scientists have examined 1,300 consecutive cases of reinfection in countries that have been infected twice with the virus. ICMR scientists embarked on this study because of uncertainties around the world about the potential for reinfection with the coronavirus. Scientists around the world are trying to understand how long the immunity to the coronavirus lasts after the patient recovers from the disease. A clear answer to the issue of coronavirus reinfection may also help develop better strategies for pandemics, Indian Express reported.
What are the results of the study?
According to an ICMR survey, of the 1,300 reinfections in the country, only 58 were truly classified as reinfection cases. Scientists found that in these 58 cases, reinfection occurred 102 days after the patient first recovered from the virus. The study also found that these patients tested negative during 102 days.
According to a study published in the Epidemiology & Infection Journal, scientists have found that there are very few actual cases of coronavirus reinfection. In most patients, scientists have discovered “persistent viral shedding.” This means that the level of coronavirus is low. It remained in the body for up to 3 months after recovering from the disease. Scientists have found that the level of the virus is so low that it is not enough to offend patients or spread the disease to others. However, even low-level viruses can be tracked in the coronavirus test, and the report can be positive a second time.
How can I confirm coronavirus reinfection?
According to ICMR studies, the only definitive way to confirm actual reinfection can be done with the help of genomic analysis of viral samples. Because the virus mutates continuously, there are some differences in the genomic samples when re-infected. Genome sampling may be the definitive way to determine if a patient has been re-infected with the virus, but it is a very complex process and requires a great deal of effort and time, so it can be done in all cases. It does not mean. In most cases of reinfection, no genomic sample is available from the first instance of infection.
In the first confirmed case of coronavirus reinfection followed in Hong Kong last August, scientists were lucky because they sent genomic samples even when a 33-year-old patient was first infected with the virus. was. If the same patient is infected with the virus again, you can compare genomic samples from the first and second instances.
Did ICMR research also rely on genome sequencing?
No, ICMR scientists are not studying genomic sequences due to the lack of genomic sample data. Scientists instead relied on the analysis of patients who reported a second reinfection with the virus after a gap of 102 days or more. A 102-day figure was agreed after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that a small, persistent release of coronavirus could last up to 90 days among recovered patients.
As an additional safeguard, scientists considered the patient to be a real reinfection, testing for coronavirus for 102 days and having been negative at least once during that period.
Points from research
Until genomic sequencing was studied, 58 cases zeroed by ICMR could not yet be classified as 100% reinfection. However, ICMR scientists have concluded that permanent immunity of people infected with the virus cannot be envisioned. Scientists also need to reach consensus to find alternative ways to track possible cases of reinfection, as genome sampling cannot be identified in all cases of Covid-19 reinfection. Said there is.
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