Possibility of reinfection in COVID-19- A Study of ICMR


If you think you have had a corona once, and it will not happen to you again, you are making a mistake. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India's apex body in the field of medical research, claims that 4.5% of cases of coronavirus reinfection have been reported in India. That is, there are about 4.5 out of 100 people who became corona negative and later became positive again.

At present, the second wave of Corona is going on in India and for the first time on Sunday, more than one lakh cases have been reported in the country in a day. In such a situation, it is very important to understand whether the coronavirus can re-infect.

Let's understand what Reinfection is and how can Coronavirus infect you for the second time.

What is Corona Reinfection?

Corona reinfection means being infected a second time from the corona. The ICMR states that if a person is corona positive and is positive again in 102 days, then he/she will be considered as reinfection.

In fact, ICMR's team of scientists investigated the cases of 1,300 people, who turned out to be Corona positive twice. Researchers found that 58 out of 1,300 cases, or 4.5%, could be termed as reinfections. The study states that the definition of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection is extremely important to increase surveillance. The study has been accepted to be published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection.

However, public health and policy expert Dr. Chandrakant Laharia says that it is very important to understand the reinfection. Until the genome of positive cases is sequenced, one cannot say with a claim that corona reinfection has occurred.

Why is the report positive if there is no reinfection?

Dr. Rohan Sequoia, Consultant General Medicine at Jaslok Hospital and Research Center, Mumbai, says that there is a debate in the scientific community about whether Coronavirus can cause reinfection or not. It is not clear if there is a corona, the antibodies made in the body will last forever or will be gone in a few days. Very few cases of reinfection have been reported.

They say that even after the corona is negative, small amounts of the virus often remain in the body. This is called persistent virus shedding. These viruses live in very small amounts, due to which neither fever nor symptoms are seen. Such a person cannot even infect others. The test may leave positive. In this case, only after genome analysis, it can be said that whether the reinfection has occurred or not.

According to Dr. Sequoia, even if there is a negative report between two positive reports, we can still call it a provisional case of reinfection. Until genome analysis is done, we cannot confirm reinfection.

Have there been any cases of reinfection before?

·       Yes, the case of reinfection first came to light in Hong Kong in August 2020. The 33-year-old man was infected with Corona in March 2020. He again became Corona positive in August. During this time he returned to Spain. Dr. Sequoia says that the genome analysis of the samples from a Hong Kong patient was done, which confirmed the reinfection.

·       After this, many cases of corona reinfection occurred in the US, Belgium, and China as well. Genome analysis was also done in these. In August 2020, ICMR confirmed 3 cases of re-infection with the coronavirus in India.

The reason for Re-infection:

  • ·       The biggest reason behind the reinfection is the mutations in the coronavirus. Because of this, the virus is coming out in a new avatar. In such a situation, if a person was positive and negative first, then he may be infected with a new strain. Its apprehension cannot be denied.
  • ·       According to the Indian government, the double mutant virus was also found in Maharashtra. Apart from this, Variants of Concern (VOC) was also found in 18 states, which may be the reason for the reinfection. Mutations and new strains were also blamed in the case of reinfections that surfaced in Hong Kong.
  • ·       According to Dr. Poonam Chandani, who is working on the Corona Cases in Bhopal, there have been different claims about how long the antibodies made in the body against the coronavirus will remain. According to studies conducted in Australia and the UK, antibodies have been found in the body for 8 to 10 months. But this is not a confirmation that corona reinfection will not occur.
  • ·       Dr. Chandani says that the symptoms are also changing with every new strain of corona. New symptoms include cold fever, red-eye, body ache, headache, and vomiting-diarrhea. All these symptoms are also caused by the flu. In such a situation, one cannot ignore these symptoms as normal flu.
  • ·       Experts also say that ICMR study data has been taken till October-2020, but the number of infected due to the second wave of the corona is increasing in India right now. In such a situation, there is a possibility that this figure may also increase. In other countries, the rate of people who have been re-infected with corona has been 1%, but in India it is 4.5%. This is also a matter of concern.

Chances of Re-infection post-vaccination:

Doctors believe that the risk of re-infection increases after vaccination with COVID if the beneficiary is not very careful.

Therefore, while vaccines will certainly help reduce community-level infection rates, many preventive measures will have to be followed in advance.

Many believe that after the vaccine, they can now live in the COVID-19 world without a mask. This is not true, and perhaps one of the biggest mistakes a vaccinated person can make. By the time we get community-level immunity, that is, when a large part of the world receives the vaccine, masking will still be necessary to protect ourselves.

The CDC also recommends that fully vaccinated people (ie, those who have received both of their doses of the vaccine) remove their masks only under certain conditions, that is if they are in a less risky location such as Gathering inside the house.

Alpha EYE Thoughts:

The central and all state governments insist that people should be vigilant. Strictly follow the Covid-19 protocol. Scientists say that until everyone gets vaccinated, the wave of the virus will continue, then the cases will continue to increase.

People must understand that Covid-19 is fatal, and the virus has not been eradicated. They should follow the social distinction. Also, wash hands frequently. Cleanliness must be taken care of and avoid going to crowded places.

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