Can One Contract COVID-19 Thrice?

Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives.
#COVID19

A tweet published on November 16 indicates that there have been cases of people contracting COVID-19 thrice.

The tweet was met by sceptic reactions in the replies, especially since there have been reports on the rare possibility of contracting COVID-19 twice, but three times? Not so much.

Besides the tweet, Citizen TV featured the story of a woman from Nakuru County who caught COVID-19 thrice.

Background

Naturally, the body generates antibodies that fight a disease once the first attack occurs. This is either through the innate immune response, which is the general, rapid response to invading pathogens, or the adaptive immune response, which is a more specific response to a virus or pathogen as explained in a Harvard School document on ‘How The Body Reacts to Viruses’.

In fact, US President Donald Trump said that he is immune to COVID-19 after contracting the virus and later testing negative after treatment.

Piga Firimbi looked into a fake document claiming that the U.S President had been seeking donations towards his COVID-19 treatment.

Verification

In a warning against the issuance of immunity passports or risk-free certificates to people who previously tested positive, the World Health Organization (WHO) cautions that there is no evidence of immunity against a second infection of COVID-19.

“No study has evaluated whether the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] confers immunity to subsequent infection by this virus in humans,” the WHO statement reads, “People who assume that they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may ignore public health advice.”

Another WHO report titled ‘What We Know About the COVID-19 Immune Response’ reveals that patients who recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies against the virus, which mostly develop within the first three weeks of showing symptoms. However, the report adds that the antibodies may disappear after three months, making it possible to contract the virus again.

Screenshot from WHO report on COVID-19 immunity response published on August 2, 2020

An article on The Star website further features a 2018 research by the Kenya Medical Research Institute, which found that people can contract coronaviruses as much as three times. This research is however not a direct reflection of COVID-19 cases, since COVID-19 is a new strain of the coronavirus that was first reported in late 2019.

The chief scientist at WHO, Soumya Swaminathan, confirmed in a CNN interview that, indeed, one can catch COVID-19 twice, but this is rare since out of over 30 million cases reported worldwide, only a “couple dozen” of re-infections occurred.

People could test positive more than once due to faulty tests, some of which were reported in China. It could also be caused by the initial infection, which may trigger a persistently positive test– an article on the Healthline website indicates.

“What might seem like reinfection could simply be longer-term effects of the virus or reemergence of viral propagation inside someone who feels better but never fully cleared the effective virus from their system,” the article states.

Verdict

In light of media reports, but inconclusive studies on COVID-19, reports that one can contract COVID-19 three times are MOSTLY TRUE.

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Linda Ngari