WHO warns multiple Covid-19 attack

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'There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,' says WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that a person can catch the coronavirus infection multiple times.

An April 24 statement of the United National agency said that catching Covid-19 once may not protect a person from getting it again.

“There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,” the statement added.

The WHO statement came after some governments suggested that people who have antibodies to the coronavirus could be issued an “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate” that would allow them to travel or return to work, based on the assumption that they were safe from re-infection.

People issued such a certificate could ignore public-health guidance, increasing the risk of the disease spreading further, the statement warned.

Earlier Business Insider quoted scientists as saying that a person can theoretically catch the coronavirus multiple times.

The underlying idea behind a vaccination — or even “chicken pox parties” — is that exposure to a virus will trigger the immune system to generate antibodies that will shield that person from that virus in the future. But according to Chinese health officials, the antibodies created after a 2019-nCoV infection aren’t always strong enough to keep patients from getting sick again.

“For those patients who have been cured, there is a likelihood of a relapse,” Zhan Qingyuan, the director of pneumonia prevention and treatment at the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, said.

“The antibody will be generated,” he added. “However, in certain individuals, the antibody cannot last that long.”

Because some patients could get sick multiple times, it will prove even more difficult to track and contain the viral outbreak — which has already spread to and killed more people than did the entire SARS outbreak of the early 2000s (with inputs from agencies).

Image Credit: Down to Earth

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