COVID 19 pandemic has taken over the life and lifestyle of the people around the world. There seems to be no control, and the number of cases is increasing day by day. Countries all over the world had implemented preventive measures of social distancing and lockdowns. But once the lockdown relaxations started the pandemics seems to be spreading at a faster pace.
On the other hand, people across the world are resuming their everyday life and economic activities slowly but steadily. Research says that if a person has already been infected earlier cannot be infected again by COVID 19. But there have been some cases noted to everyone’s surprise who has also been suppressed by the infection.
The first documented case occurred in Hong Kong of a 33-year-old man almost around four months after he was first infected. Researchers in Hong Kong think that a person can be infected twice with COVID 19. However, the scientists have been sceptical about the possibility and say that there still no proven evidence that it happens twice.
World Health Organisation report says that “ People do develop an adequate immune response and it is not still clear how strong this immune response will be if a person gets reinfected. Still, the study is undergoing, and soon a publication will come out. There is no need to panic, but it does have implications for the development of herd immunity and the efforts to come up with the vaccines and treatments.
What is COVID 19 reinfection?
As the word itself suggests, it means that a person who got infected earlier and recovered caught the infection again. Initial evidence says that the antibody Immunoglobulin G is tested positive after 2-3 weeks of infection. In some instances, the antibody tests negative, which means that the person might not have developed the immunity after the infection. Another possibility may be that the person might not have developed the required sufficiently strong antibodies to fight the disease resulting in the antibodies disappearing quickly, thereby causing the infection again. Hence we can say that reinfection occurring again means that every infected person may not produce antibodies, and if they have been created, they are not strong enough to last long. The result of which is causing the infection again in an earlier infected person.
Reports from WHO states that there is no evidence that people who have recovered are not prone to get infected again. So we need to take necessary precautions as earlier
How is the reinfection to established?
The tests may come negative as perhaps the virus was too low to get detected. The infection may increase and get noticed in the subsequent tests. Although the question now arises whether the same virus has attacked again or that the person has got infected by another viral attack.
To study and analyse, this is quite a challenging task process and involves genetic engineering to figure out the sequence of the virus attack. If the study reflects a difference in the pattern, then it means reinfection has occurred, and if there are no changes, then there could be a relapse.
Health officials believe that such reoccurrence is very rare, and it is not a serious concern based on recent studies. Whoever has shown symptoms are suffering from very mild infections.
What are the symptoms of reinfection?
The patient from Hong Kong who was reported to be the first case had experienced cough, cold, sore throat and fever when he got infected initially; he was asymptomatic during his second infection. Another person from the US had experienced mild symptoms initially, and the second time had experienced breathing difficulties and pneumonia.
Effects on herd immunity
The principle of herd immunity says that the disease can be eradicated if most of the world population is immune to it. The researchers are increasingly cynical as to whether herd immunity can be achieved after the cases of reinfection being reported and confirmed. Hence as of now achieving the herd immunity target seems difficult to achieve.
Impacts on vaccine research
The vaccine produces less immunity then the infection as per the early reports coming up based on research. Still, the conclusion is under process and lot of data testing is required to ascertain the level of immunity the vaccine will provide. We may need booster doses to maintain the immunity levels for a more extended period and to save ourselves from the infection.
So now the question arises what a person should do once he has recovered from COVID 19?
A common observation across the globe is seen that the people who have recovered are showing a carefree attitude towards the disease. We all need to understand that recovery does not mean that you are now immune to the disease. You need to follow the guidelines of wearing masks, sanitization and social distancing. The condition is new and a lot of research are still undergoing to understand the long term immunity that the infected patients develop. So it is in the interest of oneself, family and society, on the whole, to be careful.
So to conclude………still there is no evidence as per the health officials and lot of research work is yet to be done…till then we as humans should act responsible enough to save further spread on the planet earth. The pandemic has affected our lives mentally, financially and physically, but we do not have any option other than to take needful precautions and make efforts to maintain the immunity. Researches have proved earlier that the people suffering from pre-existing diseases are more prone to getting affected, and the severity may be very high. So please take utmost care of yourselves and especially the elders in the family. A little negligence can cost your life or other serious health issues.
So wear a mask !!! Maintain social distance !!!! Take care of your immunity!!!! Eat healthily!!!! Stay healthy !!!! Stay safe!!!