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Deepti Gahlaut
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CAN YOU GET COVID-19 TWICE?

30 May 2021

Understanding immunity has become very crucial since the COVID-19 infection started, as coronavirus is a completely new infection seen in people.

Before understanding the chances of reinfection from COVID-19 let’s understand how does our immune system works.


What is the immune system?

The body’s defence against infection is called the immune system and is of two types.

  • INNATE IMMUNITY- also called natural immunity, which everyone is born with. When our body is exposed to an infection, a defence mechanism comes into play, which involves the production of inflammatory chemicals and the destruction of infected cells by white blood cells.  But this system will not give you immunity against coronavirus.

  • ADAPTIVE IMMUNITY-the adaptive immune system plays a role in our ability to prevent infection. This system produces targeted antibodies, which sticks to the virus to stop its growth. Also produces T-cells that attack the virus-infected cells, called cellular response.

Studies state that this takes time of about 10 days to begin producing antibodies capable of targeting the coronavirus. Patient with severe symptoms develops a fastest immune response.


WHAT IS COVID-19 REINEFCTION?

Reinfection means you were infected once, cured, and then became infected again.

According to some researches, the COVID Immunoglobulin (IgG) antibody is usually tested positive after 2-3 weeks of infection. While in some cases the antibody tests negative, which indicates that the individual did not gain immunity post-infection.

Another explanation is that the antibodies are transient and fade rapidly, leaving the patient vulnerable to reinfection.

Thus, we can say that every infected person may not generate antibodies, or even if they do develop, it does not last for a longer time, causing the virus to infect the person again.


HOW LONG DOES IMMUNITY LAST?

With the rising number of COVID-19 cases, every day one question that is arising in peoples mind is for how long does immunity lasts after recovery.

However, the majority of people who have had the virus became immune to acquiring it for at least five months according to a news article, in public health England (PHE)

Some people, who are reinfected, even though asymptomatic, can carry a higher amount of virus in their nose and mouth, which they can spread to others easily.

In the last week of August 2020, researchers at the University of Hong Kong announced the first recorded case of Covid-19 reinfection in a 33-year-old man almost 4 1/2 months after the first recovery. Since then, a few more confirmed cases of reinfection have arisen, including one from Bengaluru.


HOW IS COVID-19 REINECTION ESTABLISHED?

This could probably be the new outbreak, which resulted in another viral event.

Since COVID-19 is a new disease, there isn't much evidence to explain the type of long-term immunity that patients get after they recover from the infection.


CONCLUSION

Researchers and public health officials are unsure how the immune system responds to coronaviruses or whether people who survive from COVID-19 gain long-term immunity. So, do not assume that you are immune to the disease after recovery.

In the meantime, doctors advise citizens to consider taking precautionary steps, such as maintaining hand hygiene, wear masks, and keep social distance even after recovery.

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