A report released on Monday stated that test results show people who tested positive for the coronavirus after recovering were not able to transmit the infection. The report from the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said those patients might have antibodies triggered by the virus that kept them from contracting the disease again themselves, Bloomberg News reported.
285 Covid-19 survivors were studied; they were unable to spread the infection. Bloomberg News added, “Virus samples collected from them couldn’t be grown in culture, indicating the patients were shedding non-infectious or dead virus particles.” South Korean authorities said with revised protocols, people should be able to return to work or school once they have recovered from the coronavirus and finished their period of isolation.
Bloomberg News noted, “Some coronavirus patients have tested positive again for the virus up to 82 days after becoming infected. Almost all of the cases for which blood tests were taken had antibodies against the virus.”
If the findings are an accurate reflection of the reality of the coronavirus, people who recover from the disease would not present a risk if coming into contact with others.
A study from Singapore released in April found that there were “significant levels of neutralizing antibodies in recovered SARS patients 9–17 years after initial infection.” The study explained why its analysis of SARS was important for the study of COVID-19:
As SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 are genetically closely related and belong to the same viral species, SARS related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV), it is important to understand the cross reaction/neutralization dynamics in affected patients, especially in regions heavily affected by both viruses, such as Singapore. This information is important for several reasons. First, virus-specific serological tests will play an important role in retrospective contact tracing, in monitoring potential asymptomatic infections such as in children and in tracing the origin and potential intermediate host(s).
Second, pre-existing cross-reactive antibodies in a given population may play a role in disease transmission and severity as antibody-dependent enhancement is known for coronaviruses including SARS-CoV. Third, the possibility of using SARS convalescent human plasma for treatment of COVID-19 patients needs to be assessed urgently for nations like Singapore. Lastly, such information may also shed light on the longevity of protective immunity for SARSr-CoV in general and on the development of effective vaccines for SARS-CoV-2.
The study added, “The finding of neutralizing antibodies in SARS survivors 9–17 years after the initiation infection is significant in the context of better understanding the longevity of SARSr-CoV protective immunity in general and vaccine development for SARS-CoV-2.”
As a result of the findings in the South Korea study, authorities said that under revised protocols, people should no longer be required to test negative for the virus before returning to work or school after they have recovered from their illness and completed their period of isolation.
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