Scientists are now beginning to study people that have been infected with the coronavirus multiple times. A case in Hong Kong and one in Reno, Nevada were early reinfection cases. Now, scientists are tracking cases in the Netherlands, Ecuador, and India, according to the Guardian.

Source: IndianExpressOnline/Youtube

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Of the 30 million people that have been infected with the coronavirus since the winter, about two dozen reinfections have surfaced. However, it can be easy to miss reinfection cases, even as uncommon as they might seem. “It’s really hard to find a pattern right now,” said Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology at Yale University, to the Guardian, “Essentially every case is different.” In Reno, for instance, the patient was hospitalized the second time he got the virus, and felt relatively fine the first time.

Because each person’s immune system is different, reactions to secondary infections differ. Scientists are looking at antibodies, immune systems, and individuals infected to determine how reinfection works. In reinfection cases that have been tracked by scientists, reinfection seems to beat any lingering antibodies from the first round of infection. The amount of virus that enters the system and any comorbidities also determine the severity of the second infection.

Scientists are most optimistic about a potential vaccine. Shiv Pillai, an immunologist at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts general hospital, told the Guardian, “If we want antibodies that will persist for a few years and protect us, it’s not clear that’s going to happen. I don’t see why the vaccines won’t work. They may not be fantastic, but I believe that’s what’s going to protect us,” he said.

Read more about protecting yourself from coronavirus. Check the CDC website for more information on how to protect yourself and check our latest article to learn how COVID-19 differs from the flu.

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