There are many mysteries surrounding COVID-19 disease. Can we get coronavirus twice? Or can our immune get infect with coronavirus twice? If COVID-2 SARS attacks simultaneously, how long will it stay?
In this fight against the pandemic, the only possible answer seems to be the vaccine. However, we know that vaccination is underway. In addition, different counties are trying to treat COVID-19 with different treatment plans. Questions also arise whether COVID-19 treatments are effective or not. To stop confinement, serological tests could be turning into passports of immunity, raising ethical questions.
Are we protected after a SARS-CoV-2 infection? The re-emergence of already infected cases in South Korea raises concerns about low immunity after a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Yes, coronavirus attacks twice, which have been proved in the cases of South Korea. Patients are suffering from coronavirus twice in South Korea.
So what do we know about the antibody response generated by our bodies?
Can You Get Coronavirus Twice?
This crucial question in the fight against the pandemic has no firm answer today. However, the scientists hope that an infected patient will be immune to the new coronavirus for at least a few months. “Being immune means that you have developed an immune response to a virus. And that will allow you to eliminate it. The immune response has a memory. It also means that you will not be re-infected by the same virus later on,” explains Eric Vivier, professor of immunology at the Marseille Hospitals Public Assistance.
Generally speaking, for RNA viruses such as Sars-Cov-2, it takes “about three weeks to have a sufficient quantity of protective antibodies” and this protection lasts several months, he continues. But that’s the theory: Sars-Cov-2, which is always full of surprises, is too new to be certain. “We don’t know, we can only extrapolate from other coronaviruses, and even for them the data are limited,” says Mike Ryan, director of emergency programmers at the World Health Organization (WHO).
Extrapolations From Other Coronaviruses Whether It Affects Twice
For the SARS, which caused nearly 800 deaths worldwide in 2002-2003, the cured patients were protected “on average for two to three years,” Professor François Balloux of University College London told AFP. So, we can certainly get re-infected, but the question is: after how long? We will only know retroactively.
A recent Chinese study, not evaluated by other scientists, has certainly shown that rhesus monkeys infected with this virus, then cured, could not be re-infected. But that doesn’t mean anything about the duration, because the observation took place over a relatively short period of time, namely one month.
However, reports from Asia, particularly South Korea, of several cured patients who tested positive again. That means that coronavirus attacked them twice. These events of coronavirus twice arise many questions. In theory, it could be second contamination, noted several experts, who however consider this unlikely and favour other explanations at this stage.
It could be that in some people, the virus does not disappear and infects “chronically”, like the herpes virus, which can remain dormant and asymptomatic, notes Professor Balloux. Since the tests are not 100% reliable, it could also be a false negative, since the patient has never actually been rid of the virus. “It would suggest that people remain infectious for a long time, several weeks. It’s not ideal,” he adds.
Too Much Uncertainty Around Protective Antibodies
A study of 175 patients cured in Shanghai, published in early April without evaluation, shows that most of them developed neutralizing antibodies between 10 and 15 days after the onset of the disease, at various concentrations.
But “whether the presence of antibodies means immunity is a different question,” noted Maria Van Kerkhove, another WHO epidemic manager. “The question is being asked whether someone who has made a COVID is that protected,” Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, president of the Scientific Council in France, said Wednesday.
And worse: “We don’t know if the antibodies we develop ourselves against the virus are not a risk of increasing the disease,” said Frédéric Tangy, noting that the worst symptoms of COVID-19 come late, at the time when the patient has developed antibodies.
Nor is there any evidence yet to say who would develop more effective antibodies: the most severely affected patients or those most spared, the elderly or the young?
In the face of these uncertainties, some people wonder about the relevance of achieving collective immunity via contaminations (when the epidemic is extinguished for lack of new people to contaminate). “The only real solution is a vaccine,” says Archie Clements, an epidemiologist at Curtin University in Australia. Let’s wait to see when the vaccination will be available.
Coronavirus twice attack is apparent in cases, especially in South Korea. However, it is still not proved whether coronavirus attacks twice even after recovery. It may be that this virus remains silently in the body and the tests come negative. But later, the test comes positive. If it is the second case, it challenges the test techniques which every country is following.