The Vexing Question Of Reinfection: It’s Unlikely, Experts Say
Anecdotal reports of people testing positive twice raise questions, while research continues into the coronavirus' behavior and human immune response.
The Washington Post:
Can You Get Coronavirus Twice? Doctors Are Unsure Even As Anecdotal Reports Mount.
Doctors emphasize there is no evidence of widespread vulnerability to reinfection and that it is difficult to know what to make of these cases in the absence of detailed lab work, or medical studies documenting reinfections. Some people could be suffering from a reemergence of the same illness from virus that had been lurking somewhere in their body, or they could have been hit with a different virus with similar symptoms. Their positive covid-19 tests could have been false positives — a not-insignificant possibility given accuracy issues with some tests — or picked up dead remnants of virus, as authorities believe happened in hundreds of people who tested positive after recovering in South Korea. (Johnson and Eunjung Cha, 7/22)
The New York Times:
Can You Become Reinfected With Covid-19? It's Very Unlikely, Experts Say
The anecdotes are alarming. A woman in Los Angeles seemed to recover from Covid-19, but weeks later took a turn for the worse and tested positive again. A New Jersey doctor claimed several patients healed from one bout only to become reinfected with the coronavirus. And another doctor said a second round of illness was a reality for some people, and was much more severe. These recent accounts tap into people’s deepest anxieties that they are destined to succumb to Covid-19 over and over, feeling progressively sicker, and will never emerge from this nightmarish pandemic. And these stories fuel fears that we won’t be able to reach herd immunity — the ultimate destination where the virus can no longer find enough victims to pose a deadly threat. (Mandavilli, 7/22)
Study: COVID-19 Antibodies Decay Quickly After Mild Illness
Levels of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, dropped dramatically over the first 3 months of infection in 34 people recovered from mild illness, University of California at Los Angeles researchers have found. Their research letter, published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine, said that antibody levels against the novel coronavirus decreased by about half every 73 days and, if that rate were sustained, would be depleted within about a year. (Van Beusekom, 7/22)
In related news —
Dallas Morning News:
‘We Are Desperate,’ North Texas Hospitals Seek Donors Of Plasma That Can Help The Most Critical COVID Patients
One of the most promising ways to treat patients sick with COVID-19 is with the plasma of people who have recovered from the illness and whose antibodies can be used to fight off the disease. With the surge of new coronavirus cases in Texas filling up hospitals, it’s getting harder to fill orders for convalescent plasma. (Tarrant, 7/22)