Confirmed reinfection cases are raising doubts about people’s immunity to the virus. Two European citizens have been re-infected with coronavirus.
A case reported this week by researchers in Hong Kong about a man there who had been re-infected with a different strain of the virus four and half months after being declared recovered. The new cases in Belgium and the Netherlands are similar to the case reported in Hong Kong.
The doubt over the vaccine caused by reinfection cannot be justified until the number of the reinfection cases rise drastically.
The Belgian case was a woman who had contracted COVID-19 for the first time in March and then again with a different coronavirus strain in June, Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst said. He said the woman in her 50s who got reinfected with the virus had very few antibodies after the first infection.
Van Ranst said “Viruses mutate and that means that a potential vaccine is not going to be a vaccine that will last forever, for 10 years, probably not even five years. Just as for flu, this will have to be redesigned quite regularly”. The mutation in viruses is expected by the vaccine developers. The new mutation in the will have no surprise for the vaccine developers.
The reasons for the emergence of cases due to reinfections is the rise in the number of testing worldwide, rather than because the virus may be spreading differently, some experts said.
Though the new cases are expected, a clinical senior lecturer at the University of Exeter Dr David Strain brings in to reasons to consider the reinfection more cautiously:
- “It suggests that previous infection is not protective.”
- “It raises the possibility that vaccinations may not provide the hope that we have been waiting for.”