In many diseases, especially those which are viral in nature, the chances of it re-infecting you are slim as our body creates antibodies against them. But that doesn’t seem to be the case with covid-19. Especially, if you have heart disease or high blood pressure and have just recovered from covid-19, the chances of you falling prey to SARS-CoV-2 again are high.
In fact, researchers from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China assessed data on 938 covid-19 patients from the country’s Wuhan Union Hospital to understand what exactly happens.
In their study, only 6.2% people were seen getting covid-19 positive again
The researchers obtained information about residual symptoms in these patients and the results of follow-up tests for viral genetic material in their body after they were discharged.
In the study, which is yet to be published, the scientists evaluated the relationship of clinical characteristics and reappeared positive viral RNA test results in the patients over a follow-up period of at least 44 days.
Good news is that according to the findings, published in the preprint repository medRxiv, a total of 58 (6.2%) of the 938 patients had reappeared positive viral RNA test results, while 880 remained negative.
The researchers saw that people with hypertension, heart disease, and who are above the age of 50 were more likely to test positive again during the follow-up period. This means now you have to be more vigilant about your parents, even if they have recovered from covid-19.
“Among patients over the age of 50, the factors we found to be associated with re-positive results were coronary artery disease and hypertension,” they wrote in the study.
Some patients may still carry SARS-CoV-2 deep in the lungs after recovery
Although the number of re-positive cases are far and few, the possibility is still there. The scientists said 54 (93.1%) of the re-positive (RP) patients turned negative again, while two patients remained positive, and two were lost to the second follow-up.
“Despite that mechanisms, underlying re-positive outcome remain unclear, the possibility of secondary infection is small because these RP patients caused no infection after discharge, and most of them returned negative again with alleviation in symptoms,” the study noted.
According to the scientists, some patients may still carry SARS-CoV-2 deep in the lungs after recovery, which cannot be detected by conventional nucleic acid tests for the upper respiratory tract.
Researchers said that there are patients that may still carry low counts of SARS-CoV-2 at the time of discharge. And there are chances that these viruses, combined with their impaired immunity due to comorbidities, may result in a fluctuation in the quantity of the virus in their body.
And therefore, according to researchers, a re-positive state may arise several days later.
Citing the limitations of the study, the researchers noted that the short duration of follow-up “makes it hard to determine clinical ends of re-positive patients.”
“It is uncertain whether they will remain negative or turn positive again,” the scientists noted in the study.
The bottom line is that even if anyone in your family has recovered from covid-19 still after a few days get them tested again. This should happen at least twice to be double sure. If both their tests came out as negative then there is nothing to worry about.
It is always better to be sure and in case of your parents and elderly, following this two-test formula even after their recovery will make things foolproof. Plus, it will also keep the rest of the family members safe.
(With inputs from PTI)