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First Covid-19 reinfection reported in Hong Kong

Published Aug 25, 2020


CAPE TOWN- Researchers from the University of Hong Kong have revealed that a 33-year-old man has been reinfected with Covid-19 four and a half months after he was first diagnosed.

According to the pre-print study, the man was first infected in March and had a cough, sore throat, fever and headache for three days. During his second episode of illness he was asymptomatic. The patient was returning home from traveling in Spain and tested positive during his entry screening at the Hong Kong airport on 15 August.

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The research team found that the genome sequence in the first episode of the man's Covid-19 infection is "clearly different" to the sequencing in the second episode.

While the study suggests that Covid-19 reinfection can occur just a few months after recovery, experts said more data is required to determine if his cases like his will be more common.

A professor of immunobiology at Yale University, Akiko Iwasaki, said in a series of tweets, "a first case of Covid-19 reinfection from HKU, with distinct virus genome sequences in 1st and 2nd infection (142 days apart). This is no cause for alarm - this is a textbook example of how immunity should work".

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Iwasaki said the second infection was asymptomatic and while immunity was not enough to block reinfection, it protected the person from disease.

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