No evidence of reoccurrence of Coronavirus in recovered patients

Doctors and clinical investigators involved in treating Covid-19 infection have claimed that there was no evidence found reoccurring of the diseas  in people who have recovered from it.

Though, it is difficult to say confidently where or not there is relapse in recovered patients as some post recovery signs can be confused with coronavirus symptoms, said Giridhar Babu, who is part of ICMR’s research task force on Epidemiology and Surveillance.

One has to establish that the Covid-19 has caused new infection in recovered patients, he said.

“We are up against evidence from all over the world where we are seeing there is no re-infection so when we say that is happening only in India then it maybe something new,” said Babu.

A chest specialist, Dr Swapnil Kulkarni at the pulmonology department of Mumbai based KEM Hospital said that, there is no definitive evidence of re-infection in recovered patients.

“There were reports from China earlier this year about recurrence of the infection, but no further information was received on that and other than that there were no reports of relapse,” said Dr Kulkarni, who has been treating coronavirus infected patients in Pune.

There have been cases wherein results of RT-PCR test have come out positive for patients who have recovered as this test detects remnants of the dead virus in the body, he said.

Dead articles or remnants of the virus are harmless and take one or two months to get cleared from the body, informed Kulkarni, also by adding that there is no clarity on whether these tests come out positive because of re-infection or due to presence of old remnants.

Apart from this, the percentage of false negatives and positives is quite high in RT-PCR tests, Kulkarni said.

“Several recovered patients come for follow-up, but we have not come across any case of recurrence with proper symptoms,” Kulkarni said.
“In order to establish that the virus has infected a recovered patient again, we have to show it in the culture of the virus in the laboratory and it requires BSL 3 level lab facilities.”, said Babu, member of ICMR research task force.

The phenomenon can be confused with the post effect of coronavirus symptoms including weakness, breathlessness and poor oxygen saturation which may persist for some time in recovered patients, he said.

 Medical superintendent of Naidu Hospital, Dr Sudhir Patsute also denied the reports of relapse or reoccurrence of the infection.

Maharashtra has reported 6,28,642 coronavirus cases and 21,033 deaths data as on Wednesday.


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