Two More People Were Reinfected With Coronavirus After Recovering From First Case, Virologists Say

In Belgium, a woman was diagnosed with coronavirus in June after previously having been infected in March

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According to Forbes, Virologists have confirmed two more patients that have been reinfected with coronavirus after previously recovering from the disease, a day after Hong Kong researchers identified the first documented case of reinfection as the world races to contain the pandemic that has infected millions and killed more than 800,000.

In Belgium, a woman was diagnosed with coronavirus in June after previously having been infected in March, virologist Marc Van Ranst told Reuters.

However, Van Ranst told the news agency the woman’s symptoms were very mild the second time around, which may suggest any antibodies the patient's body developed may have protected her against a more serious infection even if they didn’t keep her from getting sick again.

According to Newsweek, Van Ranst said virologists are looking at two more possible reinfections.

Another Dutch case of reinfection was reported, virologist Marion Koopmans told broadcaster NOS this week, and said the patient was elderly with a weak immune system, according to CNN.

Those two cases of virologist-confirmed reinfections closely follow reports of a Hong Kong man in his thirties who had a second case of coronavirus nearly five months after his first bout with the disease, news that raised alarms about viral immunity.

The man in Hong Kong reportedly had no symptoms during his second infection after only experiencing mild symptoms during his first.

The question of whether catching coronavirus protects a person from subsequent infections was raised early on in the pandemic, with many hopeful that if enough people were infected and survived, herd immunity could be achieved. The new reports this week may have implications on the developments for a vaccine, with Van Ranst telling Reuters any immunizations could have to be readministered with regularity to be effective, saying “perhaps a vaccine will need to be repeated every year, or within two or three years. It seems clear though that we won’t have something that works for, say, 10 years.”

However, scientists say it’s still too soon to judge the nature of coronavirus immunity based on just these three cases. On Tuesday, 23.6 million people had been diagnosed with the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University, and 814,354 deaths attributed to coronavirus had been counted, with the United States leading in both tallies.


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