As a 27-year-old woman from the city probably became the 'first' victim of COVID-19 reinfection nearly a month after recovering, Karnataka Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar on Monday instructed the officials to conduct a clinical study about such cases.
Expressing concern over the reinfection of the patient who was discharged from a hospital in July after recovery, he said it should be dealt with carefully and efforts taken to dispel fears among the people.
"Minister Dr K Sudhakar has instructed the officials to conduct a clinical study about the coronavirus reinfection cases," his office said in a statement. Referring to the woman found infected with coronavirus for a second time at the Fortis Hospital, the Minister, who held a meeting with the COVID-19 taskforce officials, said several other countries have reported cases of reinfection and each country has come up with a different reason for it.
According to the statement, an official said that when a person recovers from COVID-19, it takes at least 15 days for production of white blood cells and this might lead to reinfection in some patients. However, this cannot be considered as the definite reason for the reinfection, it was stated.
"Responding to this, the Minister demanded clarity over coronavirus reinfection, and instructed officials concerned to submit a report regarding the treatment of special cases such as this in other states," the statement said. The Fortis Hospital at the Bannerghatta Road has said the woman has been found to be the "first" confirmed victim of COVID-19 reinfection in the city.
The hospital's Infectious Diseases Consultant Dr Pratik Patil has said that in the first week of July, the patient was symptomatic (fever, cough and sore throat) and tested positive. She was admitted to the hospital and recovered well.
A repeat test was conducted on her, which turned out to be negative post which she was discharged on July 24. However, nearly after one month, in the last week of August she developed mild symptoms again and had been tested positive again, Patil said in a statement.
This was possibly the first reported case of COVID-19 reinfection in Bengaluru, Patil said, adding normally, in case of infection, the Covid Immunoglobulin G antibody is tested positive after 2-3 weeks of infection. However, in this patient, the antibody has been tested negative, which means she did not develop immunity after infection.
Another possibility was that the IgG antibodies disappeared in nearly one month leaving her susceptible for reinfection, he has said. "Reinfection cases mean that the antibodies may not be produced by every individual or if they do develop, they may not last long enough, and therefore, allowing the virus to enter the body and cause the disease again," Dr Patil has said.