COVID-19 survivors told to stay cautious as reinfection studies still underway

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 14 2020 04:19 PM

Medical technologists work inside the The Lord’s Grace Medical and Industrial Clinic, a molecular diagnostic laboratory in Pasay City. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — People who survived the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19) should still be cautious because there is no assurance that they won’t get infected again, the Department of Health warned Wednesday.

“Wala tayong immunity passsport. Iyan may ebidensya talaga — na kung sakaling kayo ay nagkaroon na ng sakit before hindi ibig sabihin na hindi na kayo magkakaroon ulit,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.

(We don’t have an immunity passport. There’s evidence for that — that if you already got sick, it doesn’t mean you won’t get sick again.)

Vergeire said this after being asked about a recent study published on the medical journal Lancet about how a 25-year-old man was reinfected. The study said the 2nd infection was more severe.

“As to the severity of the disease, kailangan pa natin magkaroon ng malawakang information tungkol dyan kung talagang nagiging severe after the 2nd infection,” she said. 

(As to the severity of the disease, we still need more information on that if the 2nd infection is really more severe.)

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She said there is also a need to study if those cases were really infected or just received a false positive result the first time.

There have been a few high-profile cases of alleged COVID-19 reinfection, including a doctor from the Philippine General Hospital who was able to come home before needing to return to the hospital again because of severe symptoms. She died after spending around a month in the hospital.

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Vergeire said they continue to document cases of alleged reinfection.

“Humihingi na tayo ng datos sa iba’t ibang areas natin para mapagaralan nating mabuti itong nangyayaring experience na ito,” she said.

(We’ve been asking for data from our different areas so we can closely study these experiences.)

“Itong mga articles na ito still has to be completed para maging official study para magkaroon tayo ng sapat na ebidensya. Basta ang alam nating lahat meron talagang nangyayari na mga tao nagpositibo na before and nagpositive sila ulit,” she said.

(These reports need to be completed to become an official study with enough evidence. What we do know is that there really are instances when people have tested positive before and then they tested positive again.)

The health official said there are still a lot of aspects to be studied about reinfection so they may give accurate information to the public.

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