Having received full treatment from coronavirus, and testing negative, is it possible to test positive again? One thing that is not too obvious is why people can test positive to Covid-19 more than once.
According to WHO, the evidence available is not sufficient enough to help medical experts understand if, and why many tests positive even after making a full recovery.
This article will be looking at the evidence around the world to suggest the possibility of testing positive twice for COVID-19.
Can One Be Positive Twice?
More than a week ago, news surfaced online about the chances of testing positive for COVID-19 again after making a full recovery.
Paulo Dybala, a Juventus Football Club player in Italy was said to have been positive for the 4th time in 6 weeks. He has recovered three times, and now positive again. Nothing came officially to suggest that’s not the case.
The truth is, this virus has given experts such a short time for working that determining the cause and possibility of being positive after initial recovery still carries a question mark.
In South Korea, there were also reports of COVID-19 patients who had tested positive to the virus again, after making a full recovery when they first contracted the virus. After a few days of recovery, they start to experience previous symptoms like fatigue, fever, cough, and sore throat again.
Medical experts in South Korea have strongly claimed that such cases cannot be due to reinfection with Covid-19 a second time, due to the short time it took them to test positive again. Instead, they suggested that many with this record are only experiencing the reactivation of the virus.
Dr Robert Glatter, an emergency physician in New York City, said, “the exact dynamics of how patients who have made a full recovery from the virus return to testing positive again is unknown, only further studies will make this clearer.”
What are the Possible Causes of This Virus Reactivation?
Many have not agreed with the virus reactivation story. Medical experts in the United States claimed that reactivation of COVID-19 could not be possible since other coronaviruses have not had such an effect even with their severity.
Understanding the cause of this will depend on having more data to work on for medical experts. But one factor that comes to the fore is the Immune System.
The functionality of each person’s immune system will determine if they can test positive to the virus more than once. This calls for a focus on building the immune system even after one makes a full recovery.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the available information is not sufficient to know why and if testing positive twice to Covid-19 is based on virus reactivation. But with further research, more information will be available.
What Does Other Evidence Suggest?
Medical experts around the world have also suggested that testing positive twice can be attributed to Resurgence and not Reactivation.
Dr. Benjamin Neuman in his report claims that many are being discharged after making a full recovery, unknowing that there are fragments of this virus in such individuals, weeks after making a recovery, such ones test positive again.
Another research-based evidence in Hong Kong and China shows that the virus continues to live in the system of some patients and can be active two weeks to a month after making a full recovery.
One other study carried out in Hong Kong from previous patients of COVID-19 found out that the fragments of the RNA or particles of the virus are present in stool 33 days after making a full recovery. Yet these viruses were not detected in the lungs and respiratory tract of such individuals.
This leads to the belief that some part of the virus remains active in the body after making a full recovery in some individuals. They may remain active in other parts of the body and may not be present in the respiratory tracts.
While the reactivation of a virus is very possible considering the available evidence, but those that cause coronaviruses like SARS, Covid-19, and MERS are not known to have a dormant phase where they become less active, neither do they integrate into the DNA of the host, this makes the story of reactivation less likely.
Immune System and Positive Cases
With the available evidence still not in agreement, one factor stands out for now. The immune system plays a major role in patients being positive again after making a full recovery.
The overall coordination of the immune system is needed if the body will effectively clear out the fragments of viral infections or that of COVID-19 even after testing negative.
The immune system will keep fighting the virus in the system, and in some cases, the fragments of the virus can overpower the immune system and lead to a patient testing positive again.
Some individuals’ immune systems can quickly get rid of this virus, while others might take longer to eliminate the fragments, and some others may not be able to do this on their own.
Seniors and elders with weak immune systems are likely to test positive after making initial progress from Covid-19, but more evidence is needed to back this claim.
Since the virus still lingers around even with tests not showing that it’s present, testing fecal matters will provide more details on the presence of fractions of this virus in the system.
Differentiating between Reinfection, Resurgence, and Reactivation of COVID-19 at this moment can only be done relying on fractions of evidence, nothing concrete.
With the available evidence, one cannot give a solid reason why many who have once recovered fully are testing positive again, but the truth is
One can test positive twice or more for COVID-19.
With the Antibody test that will effectively track the immunity of patients after recovering from the infection, it can be easier to reduce the spread of the virus, and help recovered cases stay healthy.
Each person should also take active steps in strengthening their immune system even if they have fully recovered from the viral infection. They may still develop symptoms if they relax in building their immune system after recovery.
Whether it’s Reactivation, Resurgence, or Reinfection, further studies will provide clear evidence. But until they are available, keep on protecting yourself from contracting the virus, and if you’ve recovered, keep on boosting your immune system.