Researchers claim to have confirmed the world's first case of a coronavirus reinfection, in a discovery with far-reaching consequences for the fight against the pandemic. Meanwhile, there were also more than 10 preliminary positive cases.
The scientists have cautioned that patients with previous covid-19 infection should also comply with epidemiological control measures such as universal masking and social distancing.
Chuang believes the upcoming massive screening will help identify unknown sources and cut transmission chains of the virus.
A 33-year-old IT worker in Hong Kong came down with COVID-19 in March but recovered after experiencing mild symptoms.
A man walks past a mural in Hong Kong on Sunday. "What is not completely clear yet is how strong that immune response is and for how long that immune response lasts", said Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, an infectious disease epidemiologist with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
"Our study proves that immunity for COVID infection is not lifelong - in fact, reinfection can occur quite quickly", said Kelvin Kai-Wang To, a microbiologist at Hong Kong University's Faculty of Medicine and lead author of a forthcoming study that details the findings.
Experts say that such reinfections may be rare and not so serious.
This came as a surprise because the man had contracted - and recovered from - a COVID infection four-and-a-half months earlier, and was assumed to have immunity, especially after such a brief time since the infection.
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They said this case shows that while coronavirus patients develop antibodies, their levels could decrease after a few months.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong Monday reported its lowest coronavirus cases since July 3 with only nine new infections.
The study has been accepted by medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, but the full research is yet to be published.
"Since the immunity can be short-lasting after natural infection, vaccination should also be considered for those with one episode of infection", they said.
"We still can't make conclusions about people who do" test positive for antibodies, Rasmussen says.
"This report sequenced the virus from both rounds of infection and found differences in both sets of the virus, showing that the patient may have been infected a second time". "It is very unlikely that the patient would have gotten the second virus during the first infection".
The findings could have significant implications for the development of vaccines and what is known about natural immunity against Covid-19.
"There's been more than 24 million cases reported to date". "We need to look at something like this on a population level". And so it's very important that we document this - and that, in countries that can do this, if sequencing can be done, that would be very, very helpful. "Lastly, while this is a good example of how primary infection can prevent disease from subsequent infection, more studies are needed to understand the range of outcomes from reinfection".