Srinagar April 17: With reports that recovered coronavirus patients are getting reinfected, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday urged health authorities in Kashmir valley to test recovered patients for antibodies that would help us know whether they are immune for reinfection.
“Patients who recover are getting infected with the virus again,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“141 cases in South Korea who had recovered from the disease were tested positive for the virus again,” he said.
“About 15 percent of recovered patients in the Southern Chinese city of Shenzhen were retested positive for the virus,” he added.
Dr Nisar said while the recovery rate is promising, it does not mean that those who have been infected with the novel virus are not still at risk.
“Having the virus once does not mean you can’t get sick from it again,” he said.
Dr Nisar said not all people who recover from coronavirus have the antibodies to fight a second infection.
“A new study from China suggests that some people who have recovered from coronavirus have very low or even undetectable levels of protective antibodies against the virus,” he said.
“The study found that almost a third of those who recovered had low levels of antibodies against the virus, with ten patients having no detectable levels of neutralizing antibodies at all,” he added.
Dr Nisar said this raises concern that patients surviving COVID-19 don’t develop immunity to prevent reinfection.
“The low amounts of antibodies could affect herd immunity which is the resistance to the disease among the general population to stop its spread,” he said.
“This will also have implications for the development of a vaccine. If the real virus could not induce an antibody response, the weakened version used in a vaccine may not work for some patients too,” said Dr Nisar.