First COVID-19 Reinfection Case Recorded in Hong Kong

The patient is asymptomatic and in his thirties.
Fabienne Lang

There's still a lot scientists are figuring out about the coronavirus. As the race to create a vaccine continues, whatever information they can get, they're working with it. 

A new piece of the COVID-19 virus puzzle has been added to researchers' list as a man in Hong Kong has been confirmed as reinfected with the virus, roughly four and a half months after first contracting it, as per the BBC.

He is the first known person to become reinfected with the coronavirus. 


First proven case of reinfection

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that there's no immediate need to jump to any conclusions on the basis of one patient, per the BBC's report.

Hong Kong scientists observing the patient in question have noted that the two strains of the virus are different.

The report on the matter, written by Hong Kong University scientists and shared on Twitter, explained how the man in his thirties spent 14 days in hospital when he was first diagnosed with COVID-19 where he recovered. Following this, during a screening at the airport, he tested positive once again for the virus, despite being asymptomatic. 

Given there have been over 23 million people globally who have been infected with COVID-19 and only one has been reinfected, experts are saying that there's no need to panic as this type of reinfection is rare and maybe not even serious.

It's still unclear how long immunity against the virus lasts after someone has recovered, or how strong it is. 

Further studies on the coronavirus need to take place before being able to reach these conclusions. 

Viruses are known to mutate with time, and as Brenden Wren, professor of microbial pathogenesis, at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the BBC, "This is a very rare example of reinfection, and it should not negate the global drive to develop Covid-19 vaccines."

More similar cases need to happen and be recorded and observed before any definitive conclusions about reinfections can be reached. 

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