Cases of “re-infection” with coronavirus were explained by testing errors

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, what speculation and rumors have not lined up around Covid-19. And one of them is the risk of reinfection. So, we wrote earlier that in late February, the Chinese authorities announced a re-testing of 195 patients who recovered from Covid-19, the results of which again showed the presence of infection. However, the next day, the State Committee for Hygiene and Health Affairs of the PRC deleted this data from its reports.

Since then, similar reports have surfaced in different countries, despite the fact that there was no scientific evidence of the possibility of re-getting Covid-19. In early April, South Korea announced that 263 people again received a positive result for coronavirus infection, although weeks have passed since the full recovery of some of them. In order to finally confirm or refute this and investigate such cases, an expert group was formed.

As a result, experts found that the “dead fragments of the virus” caused these 263 people to test positive for the second time in coronavirus. According to representatives of the Central Committee for the Control of Infections, there is no reason to believe that this could involve re-infection or reactivation of SARS-CoV-2.

“Tests have revealed the dead virus ribonucleic acid,” said hospital officials at Seoul National University at a press conference. Thus, tests performed by the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction method used to diagnose Covid-19 can respond to any genetic material of the virus, including fragments of its dead cells that can remain in organisms that have recovered for months. Therefore, the tests are false positive.

“The epithelial cell of the respiratory system has a half-life of up to three months, and virus RNA in the cell can be detected by PCR testing one to two months after cell elimination. <…> The test is not able to distinguish an infectious virus particle from a non-infectious one, as it simply detects any viral component, ”the experts added.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than half of those who were re-tested by mid-April showed clinical signs of Covid-19, however, most likely, these symptoms were not caused by the virus. In addition, not a single case was recorded when such “re-diagnosed” patients infected another person.

The expert group also emphasizes that the risk of reinfection after a plasma transfusion with antibodies produced by Covid-19 patients has been virtually non-existent. As the doctors explained, unlike hepatitis B or HIV, coronavirus does not penetrate the nucleus of the host cell: therefore, it does not cause a chronic infection, and the likelihood of its re-activation is “extremely small”.

However, all this does not mean that you can relax: earlier, scientists discovered that the coronavirus mutated and became more contagious. In addition, new calculations have shown that in some countries SARS-CoV-2 can kill up to 1% of the population.


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