NEW DELHI: Cases of coronavirus re-infections have been reported in the national capital, making many question exactly how long antibodies to fight the virus are effective.
One hospital under the Delhi government which is also a designated Covid-19 facility recently reported that five of its doctors have gotten reinfected with the virus for a second time, a claim which was later confirmed by an official who did not wish to be named.
“The doctors have been conducting Covid-19 duties. They had earlier tested negative for the virus and were therefore cleared for duty again in their respective wards. But somehow they got infected again, and this time, three out of the five are facing serious complications. Last time they were asymptomatic but now they are showing severe symptoms."
"This has now put the administration under pressure because our lives also matter and we cannot put healthcare workers at further risk. Once they are recover, they won’t be put back on Covid duty because if they get infected for a third time, we won’t be able to save them. Their health is already very weak,” added the official.
A similar case was detected at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital as well. A healthcare worker at the hospital who presented symptoms suggestive of acute viral illness was tested positive for the virus by RT-PCR.
The patient was initially admitted to a Covid facility for three days but later the patient was shifted to home quarantine for 17 days in view of the mild nature of her illness.
She was tested again before joining work at the hospital and was found to be negative for Covid-19. She resumed her daily activity and went back to her normal life.
After 2 months, she developed a fresh episode of cough, generalised weakness and malaise. The patient was investigated and was found to be Covid-19 positive once again.
She was readmitted to the Covid ward after being diagnosed. During the course, the patient was tested for Covid-19 antibodies but her antibody levels were negative.
Another patient, a middle-aged man, who had diabetes mellitus and suffered from other liver and renal problems had nasal discharge and was subsequently found to have a fungal infection of sinuses (mucormycosis) in addition to Covid-19 infection.
He was treated with an antifungal and other supportive medications and about 10 days later he had tested negative for Covid-19 and was subsequently discharged.
He was readmitted due to abdominal distension 25 days later and required hospitalisation during which he was retested and found Covid-19 positive yet again.
Severity of infection has major role
Dr Lalit Kant, former scientist ‘G’ and head Epidemiology & Communicable Diseases Division, ICMR stated that the Covid -19 antibodies can remain in an individual for three to four months. He said it also depends on how severe the infection sustained was.