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COVID-19 In South Korea Appears To Have 'Reactivated' In Some Patients

COVID-19 In South Korea Appears To Have 'Reactivated' In Some Patients

Employees work on a production line of the ichroma COVID-19 Ab testing kit used in diagnosing the coronavirus at the Boditech Med Inc. in Chuncheon, South Korea. (Lee Jin-man/AP)

By    |   Friday, 17 April 2020 10:03 PM

More than 160 South Koreans have tested positive a second time for the coronavirus, suggesting COVID-19 may have a longer shelf life than expected, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The virus has “reactivated” in the patients, meaning it went dormant and came back, according to South Korean doctors involved with a government review. But the research remains ongoing and inconclusive, the Journal reported.

South Korea flattened its curve of new infections and is now contemplating how to lift social-distancing measures. But results showing people testing positive a second time could signal a worrisome potential for the virus to linger.

“It may be that you have to test these recovered people every month for symptoms or viruses,” Mary Guinan, a former chief scientific adviser to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, told the Journal. “Maybe it comes and goes. We don’t know.”

The World Health Organization has acknowledged not all recovered patients appear to have the antibodies to stave off a second infection, the Journal reported.

“Countries in Europe and the U.S. will see the same phenomena after us, and they will look to South Korea’s ongoing research for clues,” Lee Hyuk-min, an infectious-disease doctor in Seoul, who advises the government on COVID-19 response, told the Journal.

For weeks, South Korea, with 10,635 confirmed cases as of Friday, was the most hard-hit country other than China, the news outlet noted -- but it slowed infections through widespread testing, aggressive contact tracing and citizens voluntarily staying indoors.

The country’s number of patients testing positive again for coronavirus nearly doubled this week to 162, the Journal reported.

Daegu, with the country’s most coronavirus cases, has begun monitoring patients after releasing them from the hospital, with 67 individuals testing positive for a second time—17 of whom were asymptomatic, the Journal reported.

“It’s clear that we don’t fully understand what it means to have immunity against this virus,” Keiji Fukuda, a former WHO official who worked extensively on the H1N1, avian flu and other recent major outbreaks, told the Journal.

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More than 160 South Koreans have tested positive a second time for the coronavirus, suggesting COVID-19 may have a longer shelf life than expected, the Wall Street Journal reported.The virus has "reactivated" in the patients, meaning it went dormant and came back, according...
coronavirus, south korea, immunity, testing, contract tracing
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2020-03-17
Friday, 17 April 2020 10:03 PM
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