Study: Can People Get Reinfected With the New Coronavirus?

It seems that people who test positive again for the new coronavirus, even if they recovered from the virus, are not infected again.

According to some reports, patients allowed to go home from hospitals in South Korea tested positive after their recovery. This started to raise some questions: can people get infected by the virus more than once? Can the infection come back? The diagnostic tests for COVID-19 rely on detecting the virus’s genetic material. This means that a positive result does not suggest if the person gets rid of viruses that are capable of infecting the cells again.

A new report shows that samples gotten from reinfected patients do not have viruses. This indicates that the diagnostic tests get the genetic material from noninfectious or only dead viruses. The fact that the infection is not present in the samples means that these people are not infected, and they cannot transmit the virus to each other.

Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, stated: “It’s good news. It appears people are not being reinfected, and this virus is not reactivating.”

What protects a person from being reinfected?

Researchers tried to isolate the infectious viruses from the samples they got from 108 people who were retested positive. The samples tested negative. Then the scientists examined 23 of the patients for antibodies against the coronavirus, and they found out that all of them had neutralizing antibodies. This can stop the virus from getting to the healthy cells. And this might protect a person from getting reinfected.

They have also taken a look at 790 contacts of 285 people who got tested for coronavirus again, and they were all positive. 27 of them tested positive for the new virus. 24 were cases that were known to the officials as being positive. There were three new cases. But no new case happened because of the patients who tested positive again.


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