Two patients who recently recovered from the coronavirus in the Netherlands and Belgium have re-contracted COVID-19, the Netherlands Broadcasting Corporation (NOS) reported, citing virologists.
Earlier, researchers at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) reported a confirmed case of re-infection with a patient who was cleared of the disease. Initially, doctors were not sure whether this was a re-infection or whether the virus had been dormant in the body all this time. But genetic sequencing showed that the virus strains detected in the patient in April and August are “completely different.”
In the Netherlands, a second infection was found in an elderly patient with a weakened immune system, virologist Marion Koopmans said. She explained that all infections have a different genetic code and for official confirmation of re-infection, it is necessary to prove that the RNA of the coronavirus is different.
A woman from Belgium who contracted the coronavirus three months ago was re-infected. The patient had a mild infection and the body produced fewer antibodies.
“In this case, the first time antibodies do not help enough to prevent re-infection,”virologist Marion Koopmans.
Koopmans said it was expected that some patients would be reinfected, “but there was no evidence yet.”
“We need to look closely at these cases and see if this happens more often,” she said, adding that this can be done by tracking larger patient populations over time.