Can a patient be infected by the coronavirus twice?
"Reinfection in Covid patients'', one of the most discussed and undoubtedly the most common topics nowadays. The year 2020 has witnessed some breathtaking and tragic developments taking place. It’s indeed a year of crisis, misery and pain all around. People have suffered leaps and bounds and yes families have been destroyed in all parts of the world. It is a year that defined itself with unprecedented circumstances.
Coronavirus has been that very reason for these undetermined yet undeniable circumstances. Covid-19, the term all of us have been familiar with by now. Face masks, sanitizers, hand washing, social distancing have the very regular terms both spoken and heard quite often. The virus has certainly been the very cause of death, destruction and nothing less than a calamity all over the world. Affecting all the countries around, the Covid-19 virus has put up some very severe questions till now. But the much stringent question now is related to Covid-19 reinfection. Even scientists and researchers around the globe have no answers at all.
One unanswered question amongst all is related to Covid-19 Infection and reinfection in Covid patients! The virus has many attributes that define it to some extent. This also answers the researcher’s queries ranging from Infection to reinfection, that include…
- The disease related to the virus,
- The symptoms,
- The degree of illness,
- The risk of the disease getting severe,
- How to protect in case if not infected
- What is the testing procedure and what is rapid testing?
- What if there is an exposure to a confirmed positive case?
- How long does it take to develop symptoms?
- Is there any vaccine or a stringent treatment?
- Does the coronavirus re-infect?
Yes, the Covid reinfection is thereby a hot topic attached to the Infection with acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and needs to be answered. However, the susceptibility of previously infected individuals to reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 is not well understood, and so the very undetermined nature of the virus comes into action again. So when we talk of the Covid reinfection, there are many facts that come onto the table and they have to be taken into consideration.
Does Coronavirus re-infect?
Yes, the most prominent question proves how the development of immunity is against the pathogen through a natural infection in a multi-step process. Re-infection now is the very prominent hurdle in the fight against Covid-19 In accordance with the scenario of Covid-19 reinfection, confirmed and suspected cases of reinfection of the virus that causes Covid-19 have been reported, but the number still remains less. There is no such thing as fully recovering when after the required medications also does not ensure that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection. While it initiated by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the protective immunity against this is short-lived and takes phases to develop through a series of infection and reinfection. The basis of coronavirus reinfection as per the ongoing studies suggest some parameters that say about how this reinfection relates to public health, these include:
- How likely the Coronavirus reinfections are or would be?
- Are the Coronavirus reinfections occurring most often or are a rare case as of now?
- What’s the cycle of Infection and reinfection?
- Can Coronavirus reinfections get severe?
- What’s the role of immunity here and who’s at a higher risk of Infection?
Considering Covid-19 reinfection, these questions ponder one’s mind. To add to the misery was this news that in late August that confirmed the first case of reinfection. A Chinese male from Hong Kong, reportedly caught his second Infection during a trip to Europe, just four-and-a-half months after he first tested positive for COVID-19. This being the first case of the reinfection in Covid patients, it started the count. It was indeed the Post testing genome sequencing that suggested it was the second round of Infection that contained the variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
With the Coronavirus reinfection has got researchers thinking on their feet, it has also raised serious discussions around harsh after-effects of the Novel Coronavirus. Thanks to viral genome sequencing that has led the researchers and scientists to work with a lot more circumspect approach. There still are many questions around the viability of the vaccine and the role of immunity in treatment that need an answer. Amidst all, the traits and attributes of the Coronavirus will help a better understanding of the nature of it and the role of immunity therein.
Let’s understand the virus and its traits to learn about immunity better!
COVID-19 is the infectious disease that happens because of the Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which is a respiratory pathogen. In simpler terms, Covid-19 can also be described as an infection that is caused by acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus that has been the reason for everyone’s hardship has a detectable connection with the response from the immune system.
Additionally when talking in terms of Covid reinfection, the co-morbid conditions may also play a role in determining the response of the immune.
Here Coronavirus becomes the reason to initiate an adapting immune response. We should also understand the fact that the innate immune response is not responsive to Coronavirus. Understand the fact that the nature of the virus is difficult to predict for an innate immune response and it will not give you immunity to the Coronavirus.
This, however, is in support of the fact which many researchers and medical professionals state from all over the world.
Coronavirus reinfections are the major result of how well and how long our immune system responses. A study of the various traits of the virus regarding its very first occurrence gives us the idea that the virus is associated with mild symptoms. These include fever, dry cough, fatigue, etc. Several severe symptoms may include shortness of breath, loss of appetite, confusion, etc. The majority of the people though (about 80%) recover from the disease without going into the hospital treatment. About 20% of those who get COVID-19 who tend to become seriously ill and require oxygen, with 5% of those who become critically ill and need intensive care.
There are people who already have underlying medical conditions or the major cor-morbid conditions. These include high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, etc. get much vulnerable to severe illness caused by the virus.
Your safety is in your own hands!
Developing symptoms, going for a round of PCR or rapid testing followed by isolation or quarantining along with the required medications also does not ensure safety. People who have recovered from COVID-19 are never found fully protected. Neither does it support the fact that antibodies produced will protect from a second infection. Remember, Coronavirus reinfections have been associated with the development of immunity to a pathogen. This though is a natural Infection and is a multi-step process. The rate of the reinfection in Covid patients proves the unpredictable nature of the virus.
Nevertheless, the reinfection in covid patients or rather the Covid-19 reinfection wants you to be a responsible citizen as well as a responsible family member and take all necessary precautionary measures primarily. The safety of the healthcare workers, doctors, police personnel and other duty bound staff who have acted as the frontline warriors lies in their very own hands. Don't just carry a too casual approach so as to become a carrier of the virus. Follow the social distancing norms, wear masks, avoid crowds, keep cleaning your hands, sanitize frequently, etc. Be safe; keep others safe!