Coronavirus re-infection, is possible but the chances of that happening are very slim, says the World Health Organization (WHO).(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Covid-19 reinfection possible but chances are very slim, says WHO

“Yes, it’s possible that we could start to see reinfection, but you know we have the tools in place that can prevent people from getting infected.”

DURBAN – Coronavirus re-infection, is possible but the chances of that happening are very slim, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

In response to a study published on Monday, which documented a case of Covid-19 reinfection, in a 33-year-old man, ​​​​​​​WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said although the finding is significant, this is one documented case in over 23 million and we will probably see other documented cases. But it seems to be not a regular event, we would have seen many more cases.

The study which was conducted in Hong-Kong found what appears to be the first documented cases of Covid-19 reinfection in a 33-year-old man. The man was first infected in late March and then again roughly four and half months later.

However, the WHO believes that the Hong Kong case is also not the only time someone has been infected with the coronavirus twice, though it’s the first documented case. 

“This is one example out of 23.5 million cases so far, but we expect that people who are infected do develop an antibody response, they do develop an immune response that lasts for some time, so we’re learning,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit.

It was reported last month that a Durban woman had tested positive for Covid-19 twice in three months. In the report which appeared on  News24, Dr Yuvan Maharaj reported that the woman had received her first positive result on March 9. She received a negative result two weeks later and had another positive result on July 14.

“This is probably one of the first cases of re-infections in the country. I did not even imagine that we could have this scenario in South Africa and it worried me a bit so I contacted the NICD (National Institute For Communicable Diseases) who are now also involved in monitoring this case,” said Maharaj.

Van Kerkhove reiterated that whether someone has been infected or not, they should continue following suggested social distancing guidelines, wearing face coverings and following other recommended health precautions. 

“Yes, it’s possible that we could start to see reinfection, but you know we have the tools in place that can prevent people from getting infected,” Van Kerkhove said.

 

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