Health Ministry ‘mulls’ gathering information on suspected COVID-19 re-infection instances

New Delhi, September 20

Taking word of cases of suspected COVID-19 re-infection reported from Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Delhi and Maharashtra, the Union Health Ministry is contemplating gathering information of such instances to establish their veracity, sources mentioned.

They mentioned it must be confirmed whether or not these instances are certainly distinct second an infection and never simply lingering results of the primary one.

This will be carried out solely by genetic sequence evaluation to see if it’s the similar pressure of the virus which had brought on the primary an infection or a distinct one.

For gathering information on suspected instances of COVID-19 reinfection, the well being ministry may concern pointers and a format based mostly on which database of all such instances is to be maintained by the State Surveillance Units (SSUs) and District Surveillance Units (DSUs), sources mentioned.

Worldwide, there isn’t ample proof on re-infection. Most scientists describe the recurrence as shedding of the residual virus which can occur for as much as three months for the reason that first an infection is recognized, Dr Neeraj Nischal, an affiliate professor within the Department of Medicine at AIIMS, mentioned.

During such a time their RT-PCR take a look at could come optimistic, he mentioned.

“The second possibility is that it could be a different strain which is causing the infection. To know whether it is reinfection or active infection, one can do viral culture, sub-genomic RNA analysis or compare the genome of the two samples—that of the first infection and the supposed recurrence.  But these methods are technically demanding and not easily available,” Dr Nischal defined.

ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava had final week mentioned reinfection of COVID-19 is feasible, although it’s a “very rare” incidence. He, nonetheless, careworn that it’s not a matter of significant concern.

“We have seen somebody will get measles and is meant to be protected all his life as a result of he generates sure antibodies. But then, we now have seen reinfection occurring in measles as nicely.

“Similarly, we can have COVID-19 reinfection as has been described by the case in Hong Kong. But, it is not a matter of serious concern. It has been noted that whenever reinfection occurs, both the infections have been mild,” Bhargava mentioned.

He had earlier mentioned there’s a have to learn the way lengthy immunity lasts.

Suspected instances of COVID-19 reinfection have additionally triggered issues concerning the effectiveness of vaccines being developed.

According to some researches, immunity to coronavirus most likely lasts a minimum of three months and even longer, but it surely has not been scientifically established but how lengthy immunity lasts.

“Understanding how our immune system responds to the virus is an important step towards vaccine development,” Dr Sanjay Rai, a professor within the division of group drugs at AIIMS mentioned.

“What should be of concern is whether the virus is mutating very fast and to find out if the magnitude of mutation is very large. Then the vaccine developed against the virus may not act on this mutant variety. We don’t have evidence to suggest drastic mutations in strains of SARS-CoV-2 in India till now,” he mentioned.

The idea of immunity after an an infection is essential as a result of if immunity wears off it might pose a problem for vaccines, one other researcher mentioned, including that booster photographs could also be wanted.

It can be unclear whether or not reinfected folks would have the ability to unfold the virus. That’s another excuse why scientists say folks ought to proceed to put on masks, practise social distancing and good hygiene, specialists mentioned.

Instances of coronavirus reinfection have been reported from Hong Kong, Belgium and the Netherlands elevating issues that herd immunity is probably not sufficient to curb the pandemic.

However, scientists in India and elsewhere mentioned extra research are wanted for dependable inference. PTI


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