Researchers question immunity after infection

A 25-year-old contracted the corona virus twice within a short period of time. Researchers compared the diseases – and made a disturbing discovery.

In the professional world, rare cases of a second corona infection have raised questions about immunity to the virus. The debate in the United States is based on a 25-year-old from Reno, Nevada, who tested positive in April and showed mild symptoms. At the end of May the virus was detected again in him, this time with a more severe clinical picture, according to an article in the specialist journal “Lancet Infectious Diseases”.

“Re-infection is possible”

Doctors in Nevada used very complex methods to compare the coronaviruses in the two diseases in men and found that they are genetically different. “It is becoming increasingly clear that re-infection is possible, but we cannot yet say how common it will be,” said Simon Clarke, microbiologist at Reading University, UK.

If people can easily become infected again, this will have an impact on vaccination programs and forecasts of how long the pandemic will last. Medicine professor Paul Hunter from the UK’s East Anglia University said these findings showed that too little was known about the immune response to the virus.

Vaccination expert Brendan Wren of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said the Nevada case was the fifth documented re-infection in the world. It is true that this shows that a vaccine cannot guarantee one hundred percent protection. “But with 40 million people infected worldwide, the incidence of re-infection is negligible and shouldn’t limit vaccine development efforts.”

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