Doctors allay reinfection fears | Bengaluru News – Times of India
Case reported in city is likely to be false alarm as chances of reinfection are ‘low’
Days after a 27-year-old woman came back to a private hospital and tested positive for covid-19 after having recovered from the infection once, doctors say this re-infection theory may have been a false alarm. Other doctors say that though the chance of reinfection is low, it is not nil.
The woman was first discharged from hospital on July 24. In the last week of August, she developed mild symptoms again and tested positive.
This was said to be the first reported case of covid reinfection in the city. Doctors said she had tested negative in the antibody test, which means she had not developed immunity after infection. “Other possibility is that the antibodies disappeared in a month,” said Dr Pratik Patil, Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Fortis Hospital.
When the case caught the world’s eye, Faheem Younus, Chief of Infectious Diseases, UM, UCH from Maryland, US, took to Twitter to debunk claims of reinfection. “This is a false alarm. Reinfections cannot be diagnosed by antibody levels. No genomic analysis was done in this case. This -and many other such ‘reinfections’ are just unnecessary panic,” he tweeted.
City doctors agree. Dr Ranjit Mohan, Consultant – Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Manipal Hospitals said, “The T-PCR test may remain positive a few days after a patient has recovered. This indicates residual viral genetic material and does not indicate an active infection.” He said as per current scientific understanding, the probability of reinfection is extremely low and should not be a cause for public panic.
Need more research
Dr Prakash Doraiswamy, Sr. Consultant – Critical Care & Anaesthesiology, Aster CMI Hospital, said, more studies are needed for a reliable inference, calming fears that herd immunity may not be enough to curb covid-19.
It is established that 99% of those who finished quarantine will stop shedding the virus
–Dr Jagadish Hiremath Ace Suhas Hospital
However, Dr Pratik clarified that we cannot rule out re-infection cases. He said there is a need to come up with a guideline for a minimum number of days that a positive test sample needs to be stored.
A 35-year-old man, who was treated for covid and was in quarantine for 21 days, later tested positive and had to undergo another 14 days of quarantine. Now, there are questions whether a patient has to undergo a second test before being declared virus-free. Gajendra (name changed), a resident of Sudhamanagar had fever and when it wouldn’t decrease he got tested for covid. On July 13, he tested positive for covid. “I isolated myself in my room and BBMP too advised me to continue home isolation.
After 14 days, I still had a sore throat so I extended the quarantine. I had missed work for a month so I checked with the BBMP if I could join work. They agreed, but for a fitness certificate when I got tested on July 30, it was positive. I have been asked to quarantine myself for 14 more days.”
Gajendra has recovered now, but says had he listened to BBMP he would have resumed work and might have infected others. A resident of Banashankari said that his friend had tested positive on August 18 and was admitted to Jnanabharathi covid care centre. “He was not retested before being discharged. But he took a test on the 15th day and tested positive. Now he is in home isolation for 14 days.”
Dr Somnath Chatterjee, Medical Director, Prakriya Hospitals, said these are not cases of re-infection. “Patients should continue to take care for two weeks after quarantine too. They should continue social distancing and using masks. Second tests after quarantine are not being done as there is a shortage of kits and the RT- PCR has a 40% false negativity. Dr Neha Mishra, Consultant – Infectious Disease, Manipal Hospitals said, the second test is done only for severe cases.