AMSTERDAM – Two patients in Europe have been re-infected with the coronavirus. This news raises concerns about people’s immunity to the virus, at a time when the world is struggling to tame the Covid-19 pandemic.
The news of the two European patients’ reinfection follows a report this week from researchers in Hong Kong that another patient also tested positive for Covid-19 after being declared cured 4.5 months ago.
This has certainly raised concerns about the potential of a vaccine candidate against the virus, although experts say more cases of reinfection are needed for this condition to be justified.
The Dutch broadcaster NOS on Tuesday (25/8/2020) reported that a patient in that country and also in Belgium was again infected with the corona virus. Quoting virologist Marion Koopmans, the media reported that the patient in the Netherlands was an elderly person with a weak immune system.
According to Koopmans, to know the true reinfection, (as happened in the Netherlands, Belgium and Hong Kong), genetic testing of the virus is absolutely necessary. That testing should be done, both at the time of the first and second infection, to see if the two virus samples differ slightly.
Koopmans, who is also an adviser to the Dutch Government, said that reinfection in Covid-19 patients had actually been predicted by scientists. “That someone can be re-infected doesn’t make me feel strange. We just have to see if it happens often, ”he said.
Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst told broadcaster VRT that he was not surprised to hear reports of reinfection cases in Hong Kong. “For us it is not news, because we also have cases like that in Belgium,” he said.
The case in Belgium is a woman who was first infected with Covid-19 in the second week of March and was re-infected last June.