One of the key issues to overcome this horrible Coronavirus pandemic is if it’s possible to be infected twice. There is an ongoing and highly controversial idea to release an “immunity passport” that should be used to certify that a person has already overcome a COVID-19 infection and therefore test positive for antibodies to the virus. The efficacy of these passports is based on the assumption that these people are immune.
However, WHO warned the public and the governments that there is “no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection”.
The study from South Korea and the false positives
According to Dr. Myoung Don Oh and his team at the South Korean center for disease control and prevention (CDC), it’s highly improbable for the COVID-19 to reactivate. They believe that a test showing that a person had a relapse is simply false positive.
The researches state that some tests are not able to distinguish between live traces of the virus and the harmless dead samples which remain after patients have recovered. This is a key difference with other viruses like HIV and chickenpox. In these cases, viruses can break in the nucleus of human cells. Nevertheless, in the case of the COVID-19 the virus stays outside the cell’s nucleus.
According to Dr. Jeffri Choi, Division Chief of Infectious Disease at Seoul Medical Center, even in patients that have been discharged “the virus can be detected, but this does not mean it is an infectious level.”
Choi added respiratory symptoms may still be reported by recovered patients and they might even test positive. However, he said that they “think it is a reconfirmed case, not reinfection or reactivation.”
Eventually, South Korea admitted that 292 coronaviruses reinfections were false positives.
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