‘Many of these Covid-19 cases are misclassified’: What Harsh Vardhan says on reinfections
Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday reiterated that Covid-19 reinfection is still not a serious issue as most of these cases have been mislabelled as reinfections. “Even though there are various reports of re-emergence of Covid-19 cases, careful analysis of ICMR has revealed that many of these cases have actually been misclassified as reinfections,” the minister said.
“The clinical diagnosis of Sarrs is mainly based on real-time RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) which also detects dead virus shed for long and varying periods of time. Dead virus is sometimes sequestered in various organs and intermittently shed for several weeks and months after recovery,” the minister said.
“However, such a patient is considered recovered and non-infectious. Due to the inherent characteristic of the RT-PCR test to detect dead virus, intermittent period of positivity after a negative test report may be documented. Therefore, any lab-confirmed case, if tested over a duration of several weeks, may have intermittent positive, negative, and then again positive results,” the minister added.
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 health minister said ICMR is investigating the cases of reported re-emergence of Covid-19 and the results will be shared in a few weeks.
“A person during his path of recovery and having a low viral load may have a resurgence of ongoing infection due to immuno-compromised state or other secondary infections. It is necessary to differentiate between a mislabelled reinfection and an actual reinfection. An actual reinfection would mean a fully recovered person getting infected with a freshly introduced virus,” Harsh Vardhan said.
Some hospitals in the national capital in August reported they were seeing recovered coronavirus patients returning to them with recurrence of the infection.
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