Sabina Saktaganova Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
In South Korea, where authorities had gotten the outbreak of COVID-19 under control, the same patients are now testing positive again. Health officials are still trying to figure out why 163 people recovered from COVID-19 have retested positive. Currently, the same has been happening in China.
This makes people question if it is possible to catch coronavirus multiple times?
In South Korea, the number of people retested positive has been really low. According to KCDC, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the 7,829 people who recovered, only 2.1% retested positive, even though it is not clear how many recovered patients have been tested again.
One theory for why people have been tested positive is that there might have been an error with the test. Even though the cause of it is not clear, patients retesting positive is still a concern around the world.
The WHO, World Health Organization, has confirmed that just because a person recovers from coronavirus does not mean that he is protected from a second infection. Even though people who have been infected with the virus develop antibodies.
It also isn’t confirmed how long the protection lasts and even if it lasts at all. But it almost certainly will not last for life. Based on antibody studies in Sars the immunity might only last for about one to two years but this is also not confirmed .
More research needs to be done in order to determine if and why people are getting coronavirus again. Your immune system determines whether you will get COVID-19 multiple times, and how often and how severe the virus will be. One person’s immune system might be able to fight the virus really quickly, while it may take another person over two weeks to recover.
Scientists suggest that people with weaker immune systems, such as kids and older people or even people who recovered from mild infections are more likely to be tested positive again, even though nothing is confirmed at the moment. It is also confusing to scientists why children do not seem to be as susceptible to the virus.
However, what is possible is that even if you are not completely immune to the virus, a second infection might be not as severe as the first one.
Right now the question is not whether you become immune, it’s for how long. If it is almost impossible to produce long-term immunity, it will make a vaccine harder to develop. It may even change the way vaccines need to be used. Will it be done once in a lifetime or once a year?
The duration of the protection and our immune system, will tell us how to stop the spread of the pandemic.