First documented case of SARS-CoV-2 re-infection


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove says there is no need to jump to conclusions after reports of a case of SARS-CoV-2 re-infection.

Reuters has reported that a Hong Kong man who recovered from COVID-19 was infected four-and-a-half months later. It would be the first documented instance of human re-infection.

The 33-year-old male was cleared of COVID-19 and discharged from a hospital in April but tested positive again after returning from Spain via Britain on August 15.

The patient had appeared to be previously healthy, researchers said in the paper, which is expected to be published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

He was found to have contracted a different strain than he had previously. He remained asymptomatic for the second infection.

Dr Kai-Wang To, one of the authors of the paper, told Reuters: “The finding does not mean taking vaccines will be useless.”

“Immunity induced by vaccination can be different from those induced by natural infection,” he said. “[We] will need to wait for the results of the vaccine trials to see if/how effective vaccines are.”

When asked about the case at a briefing yesterday (Monday August 25th), Dr Van Kerkhove said “we need to look at something like this at a population level”.