Despite recovering from COVID-19, lingering doubts about re-infection bother some people who have successfully beaten the infection. Doubts gained strength after researchers at University of Hong Kong on Monday announced a first documented case of reinfection. A man from Hong Kong who recovered from COVID was detected with the infection again.

In Telangana too, at least two cases of reinfection with coronavirus have come to the notice of State Health department officials. Citing research, senior health officials said the symptoms in the second bout are mild. Till August 25, 10,8760 cases of COVID were recorded in the State.

The officials got to know about one such case among their colleague who was closely involved in COVID management work in the State Health campus, Koti. Another is a dean of a prominent central government hospital in Hyderabad. More such cases have come to the notice of the health officials.

Infection status

However, the State’s Director of Public Health G Srinivasa Rao expressed doubts about infection status of people who were asymptomatic in the first bout. He said that if a person who has reported re-infection did not have symptoms during 14-17 days of the first bout, he will rather take it as a false positive because both RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests have certain limitations.

“Even RT PCR gives false positives. Rapid Antigen Test gives less false positives,” Dr Rao said.

Genome sequence analysis of the virus which caused the first and second bout of infection in Hong Kong man was carried out and it was found that there were differences in the two strains.

When asked if the State Health department will coordinate with a research institute to carry out genome sequencing to establish if there is any cases of re-infection in Telangana too, Dr Rao said that they will compile information about cases of reinfection recorded here and share it with research institutes so that they can come out with some conclusions.

Virus strains

He added that since people from European Union, other countries have migrated to India, virus strains present there will be present in our country too.

“There are some myths about herd immunity. We cannot assume that herd immunity will take care of people. This is a new virus and research into various aspects of the virus is on. It is better for people to continue maintaining all precautions, regardless of whether they got COVID and recovered, or not infected yet,” Dr Rao said on sidelines of the press conference held in State Health campus, Koti, on Tuesday.

During the press conference, Director of Medical Education K Ramesh Reddy said that though people take vaccines for various diseases, some who get vaccinated might get infected with the disease again. “But its effect will be less when compared to the people who did not get vaccinated and got infected,” Dr Reddy said.

He too stressed that people who have recovered have to continue maintaining precautions.

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