HK man’s Covid ‘re­in­fec­tion’ raises con­cerns over im­mu­nity

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - Comment - Bloomberg

HONG KONG: A man was in­fected with the coro­n­avirus af­ter re­cov­er­ing from an ini­tial bout in April in what sci­en­tists said was the first case show­ing that re­in­fec­tion may oc­cur within a few months.

The 33-year-old’s sec­ond Covid-19 in­fec­tion was de­tected via air­port screen­ing on his re­turn to Hong Kong from Europe this month. Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Hong Kong used ge­nomic se­quence anal­y­sis to prove that he had been in­fected by two dif­fer­ent strains.

The IT worker didn’t de­velop any symp­toms from his sec­ond in­fec­tion, which might in­di­cate any “sub­se­quent in­fec­tions may be milder”, the re­searchers said.

“Our find­ings sug­gest that Sars-cov-2 may per­sist in hu­mans,” Kwok Yung Yuen and col­leagues said on Mon­day in a pa­per ac­cepted for publicatio­n in the jour­nal Clin­i­cal In­fec­tious Dis­eases.

The find­ings are rem­i­nis­cent of the coro­n­aviruses that cause com­mon cold, and sug­gest Sarscov-2 may con­tinue to cir­cu­late

“even if pa­tients have ac­quired im­mu­nity via nat­u­ral in­fec­tion or via vac­ci­na­tion”, they said.

While some pa­tients have tested pos­i­tive for the virus over many weeks, even af­ter their symp­toms have re­solved, sci­en­tists haven’t fully un­der­stood whether th­ese cases re­flect lin­ger­ing traces of the virus, a re-erup­tion of an in­fec­tion, or a new in­fec­tion.

This is “the world’s first doc­u­men­ta­tion of a pa­tient who re­cov­ered from Covid-19, but got an­other episode of Covid-19 af­ter­wards,” the re­searchers said in an emailed state­ment.

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