Covid-19 reinfection cases under investigation, but number is negligible, says Harsh Vardhan

Reports are being examined, although this is not a serious issue at present, the health minister said.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says reinfection of Covid-19 is not a threat yet.(PTI)
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says reinfection of Covid-19 is not a threat yet.(PTI)
Updated on Sep 27, 2020 09:28 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh

Amid reports that people once cured of Covid-19 are not free from the threats of contracting the virus again, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said the issue of reinfection is under investigation, though it’s not a serious issue at this moment. The Union minister was addressing his weekly programme ‘Sunday Samvaad’.

“Some cases of reinfection are being reported from across the world, not only from India. At the moment, the subject is still under investigation and doesn’t appear to be serious issue. However, each and every aspect of Covid-19 is being actively studied and researched. Reports are being examined, although the number of reinfection is negligible,” the health minister said.

Recently, the Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital in Pune has claimed a resident doctor has tested positive for Covid-19 “a second time” in a three-month period. The doctor’s samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) for a genome sequencing and antibodies test.

“The doctor had tested positive in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, on June 12 through the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. During discharge on June 22, he was tested again and he was negative. The test was repeated 24 hours later, and he tested negative again. All these tests were RT-PCR. After that, the doctor continued his work. However, a few days ago, the doctor felt uneasy and complained of body ache. We tested him through an antigen test on Friday and he tested positive for the infection,”Dr Parikshit Prayag, the consulting doctor for Covid-19 at Deenanath Mangeshkar, said.

Some hospitals in the national capital in August reported they were seeing recovered coronavirus patients returning to them with recurrence of the infection.

According to Dr BL Sherwal, medical director of the Delhi government-run hospital, unless the virus is cultured or gene sequencing is done, it will be difficult to determine whether it is a different strain of the virus that has infected the person the second time.

“There can be a relapse. The virus can be isolated from the body particularly from the sputum. We have the evidence that after ninth or tenth day the virus becomes non-infectious and the patients are not tested again. However, the virus has been reported to be living in patients who have recovered around 39 to 40 days back,” he added.

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