Coronavirus Re-Infections Raise Questions About Immunity


Immunity After a COVID-19 Infection May Not Be Lasting

Health Editor’s Note: Two more cases of re-infection with COVID-19 have come to light in Belgium and the Netherlands. Earlier this week, we had a man in Hong Kong who demonstrated a re-infection with COVID-19. He fully tested negative  and then became positive again with a slightly different COVID-19 strain, four and one half months after being declared COVID-19 free. 

Re-infection cases are probably going to be quite rare, but deserve to be look at when preparing a vaccine. The second time these people had tested positive, the second infection is a slightly different strain of COVID-19, not identical to the first one they contracted. 

These three people had a first and then a second infection after clearing the first infective virus from their bodies. All three have a different type of COVID-19 virus than their first infection.

The clear fact that these people could be re-infected is concerning for two reasons. If you can become reinfected, that means the first infection did not leave you with an immunity and the second is that the COVID-19 vaccine may not be to be made as effective as it needs to be. I would propose a third scenario, where  COVID-19 mutates slightly, as viruses easily do into another form of the COVID-19 virus, which the person previously infected has not already had, thus no immunity to this new form. Currently the typical yearly flu does this every flu season/every year and it is guesswork to put together a flu vaccine that will be effective for the next year’s type of flu.  COVID-19 is just completing this process at very high speeds…Carol





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    • “… it is guesswork to put together a flu vaccine that will be effective for the next year’s type of flu…”

      YES INDEED ! a HUGE guesswork… That’s why Influenza/flu coronavirus vaccines are… RUSSIAN ROULETTE.

    • Stargate,

      The U.S. has seen a case or re-infection in a 25 year old. Just as in the other re-infections, the coronavirus was of two different strains, and for this fellow he was sicker the second time around and required hospitalization and oxygen. I am not thinking this will only be for a few cases and as mentioned these re-infections reinforce the concept that a vaccine will have to be finely tuned to include most if not all strains…..

    • Carol,

      You said it : reinfected from a different strain !

      As for everybody, the flu can be caught every year by anybody who’s immune system is not strong. They can catch it EVERY year because of the mutated flu strain. So… REinfection scare is FEAR-MONGERING for it is in the nature of viruses to mute and REinfect. Nothing new under the sun here.

  1. MarsB,

    Coronavirus needs humans to keep making more if itself. A virus is such a simple cell that it does not have a reproductive capacity. Being infected again, is like How some people get the common cold every year, since there is no vaccine for that one, would not be that big of an issue other than this is not the common cold coronavirus. COVID-19 kills people. Maybe different strains of this coronavirus are less lethal or make people less sick. It is hard to tell until we get further in to this mess…COVID-19 does appear to be mutating which is easy to do when you do not have that much that makes up the viral cell and when it is spreading so fast and widely.

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