Coronavirus Pandemic

No evidence that you can contract coronavirus twice: UAE experts

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on May 29, 2020 | Last updated on May 29, 2020 at 06.36 am

(Photo: Ryan Lim/KT)

'New studies have suggested that some people remain Covid-19 positive for up to 30 days'

Around the world, there have been several cases of people recovering from Covid-19 only to test positive again later. However, doctors in the UAE have said that according to studies, there is no evidence that one can catch Covid-19 twice.

The two reasons for such cases, experts pointed out, could be either faulty positive test or remnants of the previous infection that can sometimes stay in the body for as long as a month but is not infectious. Dr Syed Nadir, acting head of internal medicine at Adam Vital Hospital in Al Garhoud who has been actively treating a number of Covid-19 positive cases, said it is highly unlikely that a patient would get reinfected with Covid-19 after recovering.

"Although this question of recurring Covid-19 infection still remains unclear, chances are that since the recovered person's body develops antibodies against the virus, they provide some level of immunity against the virus, not allowing it to recur. It doesn't matter if you had a strong infection of mild infection, the antibodies produced in one's body to fight the virus are like vaccines, they thwart any attack by the virus again."

Talking about why some people may show positive results even after 14 to 20 days of being in isolation, Dr Nadir said, quoting a Korean study: "Studies have shown that this could happen due to faulty tests that gave false positive results or in some cases, tests may detect old particles of the virus, which may no longer pose a significant threat to the patient or others."

Dr Nadir added: "One of the Covid-19 patients I was treating was discharged after spending over 14 days in the isolation ward. After 10 days, when he came back for a follow-up test, his result showed positive. But we calmed him down and explained that it was not a reason to worry because as per the new guidelines sent by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), in line with international standards, sometimes the antibodies present in the body may show a Covid-19 positive result but there is no active infection in the body. So he should consider himself as free from infection."

Dr Zakir K Mohamed, consultant surgeon, Mediclinic Parkview Hospital, who has been handling Covid-19 patients at an isolation facility, said that there is evidence that shows people testing positive after being cleared is probably error or because they still have some particles of the virus in them which is non-infectious. This he said was not re-infection.

He added: "New studies have suggested that some people remain Covid-19 positive for up to 30 days or so but this is not reinfection. These are not people who were cured and got infected again."

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