Can you get COVID-19 twice?
The number of cases of the new coronavirus has reached more than 2,177,469 million globally and continues to spread around the world. However, 546,743 people have been recovered. Although the recovery rate is promising, it does not mean that those who have been infected with coronaviruses are not at risk, experts believe that having been infected with the virus does not mean that you cannot get sick again.
To date, most people infected with COVID-19 have had mild illness and have recovered, according to the WHO.
According to Li Qingyuan, director of prevention and treatment of pneumonia at the China Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing, people infected with Covid-19 develop a protective antibody, but it is unclear how long the protection lasts. "In certain individuals, the antibody cannot last as long," Li told USAToday. "For many patients who have been cured, there is a chance of relapse".
In children, the virus is often believed to cause the development of at least short-term immunity. "No one knows for sure, but most children will likely develop at least short-term immunity against the specific coronavirus that causes Covid-19," Dr. Peter Jung, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine, told The Huffington from the University of Texas at Houston. "But just as the flu can mutate, so could Covid-19, making an individual susceptible to re-infection".
From another angle, according to Dr. Stephen Gluckman, infectious disease doctor at Penn Medicine and medical director of Penn Global Medicine, it seems likely that having the disease once results in immunity in most people, as seen with other coronaviruses.
"Coronaviruses are not new, they have been around for a long time and many species, not just humans, contract them," he explained. "So, we know quite a bit about coronaviruses in general. For the most part, the feeling is that once you have had a specific coronavirus, you are immune. We don't have enough data to say that with this coronavirus, but it is likely".
"The immune response to Covid-19 is not yet understood," explain the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Patients with MERS-CoV infection are unlikely to re-infect themselves shortly after recovery, but it is not yet known whether similar immune protection will be seen in patients with Covid-19".