Enlarge / Medical staff transport patients of a sanatorium where mass coronavirus infections occurred to hospital in Daegu, South Korea, March 19, 2020.Getty | Lee Sang-ho | Xinhua News Agency

People who recover from COVID-19 but test positive for the virus again days or weeks later are not shedding viral particles and are not infectious, according to data released Tuesday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The so-called “re-positive” cases have raised fears that an infection with the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, could “reactivate” in recovered patients or that recovering from the infection may fail to produce even short-lived immunity, allowing patients to immediately become re-infected if they are exposed.

The new data from Korea should ease those concerns.

KCDC researchers examined 285 cases that had previously recovered from COVID-19 but then tested positive again. The patients tested positive again anywhere from one to 37 days after recovering from their first infection and being discharged from isolation. The average time to a second positive was about 14 days.

Of those cases, researchers checked for symptoms in 284 of them. They found that 126 (about 48 percent) did indeed have symptoms related to COVID-19.

But none of them seemed to have spread the infection. KCDC investigated 790 people who had close contact with the 285 cases and found that none of them had been infected by the “re-positive” cases.

Crucially, additional testing of 108 “re-positive” cases found that none of them were shedding infectious virus.


The type of tests that suggested the 285 people were positive for COVID-19 a second time were whats called RT-PCR tests (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction). These tests are typically used to diagnose a COVID-19 infection. They do so by recognizing and making copies of unique, targeted fragments of SARS-CoV-2s genetic material.

Its a precise and effective way to determine if someones been infected with the virus. If someone has SARS-CoV-2 genetic material in their airways, theyve been infected. That said, haviRead More – Source

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