MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) is studying the case of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año who tested positive again for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
Speaking on ABS-CBN Teleradyo, Vergeire cited how antibodies developed in persons who had recovered from COVID-19 do not last, making them still susceptible to the disease.
“Ibig sabihin, base sa scientific evidence, 'yung antibodies na nagde-develop sa katawan ng isang nagkaroon ng COVID ay ‘di rin tumatagal ng ganun katagal. kailangang mag-ingat pa rin 'yung nagkaka-COVID,” Vergeire said on ABS-CBN Teleradyo.
(This means antibodies that develop in someone who had COVID do not last that long, so those who had COVID should still be careful.)
On Monday, the DILG said that Año has a mild case of COVID-19. He remains under isolation after testing positive for the disease over the weekend, according to Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.
Año, co-chairperson of the National Task Force against COVID-19, was the first member of President Rodrigo Duterte's Cabinet to be infected with the virus after contracting it in late March.
He recovered from the disease, based on two negative test results, on April 8 and 13.
Vergeire said DOH experts are studying the case and have given several possibilities on why the official contracted the virus again.
“Maaring una, ito ay false positive o 'yung una niyang pagkakasakit 'yun ang false positive. Pangalawa, maaring may contamination sa laboratory that’s why this false positive happened or the third, it may be just remnants o the virus.
(It's possible that his first diagnosis was a false positive. Second, there could have been contamination in the laboratory that's why the false positive happened, and third, this may just be remnants of the virus.)
Vergeire said the RT-PCR machine is sensitive that it could detect even fragments of the virus.
“A COVID-positive patient may retain these fragments of the virus even for a long time. Kaya kung minsan nakikita natin sa ibang mga tao na nare-report na hanggang sa matagal na positive pa rin sila kahit non-infectious na sila,” she explained.
(That's why we see in other people that they remain positive for a long time even while they are already non-infectious.)
The DOH will release whatever information it would gather on the matter, Vergeire said.