For a while, many believed that once stricken with coronavirus, the body fights it off, creating antibodies in the process that makes one immune to reinfection. Theoretically, once someone is immune, they are no longer at risk for the virus, nor will they shed the virus thereby causing others to become infected. This is where the concept of a vaccine comes from; when a child receives a measles vaccine, the body is coaxed into creating antibodies against measles, thereby making the child immune to ever getting the measles.
But new research is showing that this may not necessarily be true in all cases. While there are many people who are indeed getting equipped with antibodies and whose blood plasma containing those antibodies are now being used to treat other coronavirus patients, it appears that some “recovered” Covid-19 patients are not getting antibodies to fight off a future coronavirus infection and are at risk of becoming ill again.
According to reports, doctors in South Korea have noticed that some patients who were believed to be fully recovered are testing positive again for Covid-19, raising theories that perhaps the virus can go dormant before revitalizing itself and attacking patients a second time. Because the coronavirus pandemic is completely unprecedented and Covid-19 is a brand new virus, doctors and health researchers have not settled on one theory to explain it, but the idea of the virus lying dormant for a while before reactivating is now the leading theory.
This doesn’t need to send everyone into a panic, and definitely not at this point. For the most part, recovered patients appear to indeed become immune once recovered and the number of patients becoming reinfected is extremely low. Still, the threat that a patient thought to have recovered can become reinfected remains. Because of this, it is crucial that we maintain social distancing, follow the guidelines being set by the health experts, and do all we can to ensure that no more people become ill with Covid-19.
Don’t be fooled by the positive news that we are thankfully receiving more and more of each day. The pandemic still exists. It can make a comeback. We must stay vigilant.