THE UK has seen the ‘first credible’ cases of people being REINFECTED with coronavirus – but none have shown any symptoms.
Health secretary Matt Hancock says “we’ve seen first ‘credible’ cases of coronavirus reinfections. You can see it is a different disease to the first time around,” he added: “In all the cases that I have seen it has been an asymptomatic second infection picked up through asymptomatic testing.”
Mr Hancock told the House of Commons a recent spike in cases across the country should be a reminder that the virus ‘remains a threat,’ and the crisis is ‘not over.’ He went on to say: “Just because we have come through one peak doesn’t mean we can’t see another one coming towards our shores.”
He added: “We have also just started to see the first credible cases of reinfection and, through genomic analysis, you can see it is a different disease to the one the person got the first time around. But, in all the cases that I have seen, it has been an asymptomatic second infection that has been picked up through asymptomatic testing.”
He went on to say: “But the hard question is – because one of the most difficult parts of dealing with this virus is the asymptomatic transmission – what we don’t yet know is the transmissibility of the disease even from an asymptomatic person who might have had the disease before. But we have got a huge amount of work going into answering that question.”
Chinese, February 2020
A healthy 33-year-old man was the first person confirmed to have caught the coronavirus twice, according to unpublished research from the University of Hong Kong. As details of the case emerge, researchers say there is still much we don’t know.
“There have been anecdotal reports of people being reinfected,” says Charlotte Houldcroft at the University of Cambridge, who wasn’t involved in the work. “But this is the first time that there’s good immunological data on the individual.”