Monday, August 24, 2020

Hong Kong man was reinfected by the coronavirus, researchers say

The finding suggests that some patients who recover from COVID-19 may have only short-lived immunity from reinfection.

Medical staff wearing personal protective equipment approach a nursing home in Hong Kong on Aug. 23, 2020.May James / AFP - Getty Images

By Denise Chow

A man in Hong Kong has become the first confirmed patient to be infected with the coronavirus a second time, according to researchers at the University of Hong Kong.

The finding suggests that some patients who recover from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, may have only short-lived immunity from reinfection. The case will likely also be significant for scientists who have been working on treatments using antibodies from recovered coronavirus patients, and those who have been scrambling to develop a safe and effective vaccine, though it’s too soon to draw any firm conclusions.

But the research is not necessarily cause for panic. Reinfection is common with other coronaviruses. Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology at Yale University, tweeted shortly after the study was released that the study did not show anything unexpected.

"This is no cause for alarm - this is a textbook example of how immunity should work," she wrote.  Read more >>