One of the coronavirus variants can reinfect people who have already recovered from a COVID-19 infection, regardless of immunity gained through earlier infections, according to an initial report from The New York Times.
New COVID-19 strain 'P.1' re-infects people who already recovered from a previous infection
The variant was first discovered in Brazil in December 2020, but it has increasingly become an object of worry for scientists wary of another major wave of the coronavirus. As of writing, the P.1 variant is spreading rapidly through the city of Manaus, but it's also showed up in 24 other countries and numerous U.S. states.
In other words, this is serious.
"It's right to be worried about P.1, and this data gives us a reason why," said Epidemiologist William Hanage of Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in the New York Times report.
Self-imposed isolation and medical masks still needed, even for those who have survived COVID-19 illness
Early data on the P.1 strain's ability to reinfect people who've already recovered from the coronavirus is in, but the lab's research hasn't made its way into an official academic journal, according to the NYTimes report. But the danger is still real, say experts.
"The findings apply to Manaus, but I don't know if they apply to other places," said researcher Nuno Faria of Imperial College London, who co-lead the research into the P.1 variant, to the NYTimes.
"The ultimate message is that you need to step up all the vaccination efforts as soon as possible," said Faria in the NYTimes report. "You need to be one step ahead of the virus."
However, Faria emphasized a need for extreme caution, and added that we should do everything possible to slow the spread of the coronavirus — maintaining self-imposed isolation and slipping on our medical masks will help us avoid spreading the illness. Even for people who have already recovered from it.
This was a breaking story and was regularly updated as new information became available.