India’s 1st Covid patient tests positive again

By, Thiruvananthapuram
Jul 14, 2021 01:49 AM IST

The Thrissur woman is 22 years old and is waiting to resume her studies at a medical college in Wuhan. She has taken one shot of a vaccine.

A woman from Kerala who was studying in Wuhan and was infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus in the early days of the pandemic in 2020 has tested positive for Covid-19 again, a health official said on Tuesday, but with no symptoms.

Representational Image. (File photo)
Representational Image. (File photo)

The woman, officially recognised as India’s first Covid-19 infected person, took an RT-PCR test in order to travel to Delhi. She tested negative on a rapid antigen test, widely regarded as reflective of contagiousness, and none of her family members appear to have been infected.

“She has tested positive and is under quarantine at her home. None of the family members has tested positive so far,” said Thrissur district medical officer KJ Reena. She said re-infection is nothing new, and some of the health workers have been infected twice.

The Thrissur woman is 22 years old and is waiting to resume her studies at a medical college in Wuhan. She has taken one shot of a vaccine.

The woman has been unable to return to China as Beijing is yet to allow Indian students back into the country because of the pandemic.

In 2020, she spent almost a month in hospital while undergoing treatment for Covid-19.

Two of her friends, who travelled with her from Wuhan, the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in China, also tested positive later.

Recent assessments of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, now believed to be dominant in India, have shown that it can lead to more repeat infections than its predecessors. Clinicians and experts largely believe that re-infections are not a cause for concern if a person has no symptoms, especially since RT-PCR tests can also throw up a positive test due to viral remnants.

“There are several factors at play here. If the person had a mild infection, the antibody titres are usually low and they do not last very long. Plus, if they had an infection 18 months ago, it is likely they have lost the protection by now. Also, the variant is likely to be different. A person getting a second infection is not unheard of,” said Dr Lalit Kant, former head of epidemiology and infectious diseases department at ICMR.

An Indian Council of Medical Research study from January to October last year estimated 4.5% reinfection cases among symptomatic people.

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