A doctor has reportedly been diagnosed with coronavirus twice, three months apart and after negative testing in between – raising questions about immunity to the killer bug.
The unnamed Israeli doctor worked at Sheba Medical Center in the city of Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, and is said to have tested positive in April before recovering.
She was then wiped twice, tested negative in May and June, before seemingly contracting the disease again after treating a positive patient this month, reports The Times of Israel.
There is a lot of debate about the possibility of someone contracting the bug more than once, with some experts assuming that parts of the virus simply remain in the body after a patient appears to have recovered.
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So far, there is no scientific evidence that someone is contracting Covid-19 again.
However, there is some agreement among scientists that those who have had the bug will develop some degree of immunity, at least in the short term.
Professor Gabriel Izbicki, of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, told the Times of Israel: “More than half of the patients, weeks after negative testing, are still symptomatic.”
A scientific paper published in the U.S. entitled ‘A case report of a potential new coronavirus 2019 describes an 82-year-old man hospitalized twice with the virus.
Despite being put on a ventilator for a long time at Massachusetts General Hospital before testing negative several times, the unnamed man returned two weeks later and was re-admitted to the ICU with the virus.
His doctors suggest that he never really fully recovered and that tests were probably not sensitive enough, although other doctors in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine debated whether it was possible that he contracted the disease twice.
Dr. Nicole Duggan said that “viral secretion” can last an average of 22 days, but there seem to be cases where it takes double – where testing does not necessarily correlate “with the active infection.”
Another patient, a 71-year-old woman, would continue to test positive five weeks after she became asymptomatic.
In a study by the University of Amsterdam, researchers suggested that this coronavirus may act in a similar way to colds with a very short duration of protective immunity.