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Covid Reinfection Rates Are Low But No One Is Tracking The Numbers – What Now? | Forbes




The number of patients suffering Covid-19 reinfections is likely a small percentage of the hundreds of thousands of new infections diagnosed worldwide daily, immunologists suggest. The only place that seems to be even attempting to track reinfections is a Dutch news site that has counted over 9,000 cases of suspected reinfection. But to know for sure would require a genetic sequence of the virus in both the first and second diagnosis to compare whether the new infection is a genetically distinct virus or the same from the original infection. Countries such as Australia and Taiwan are doing routine sequencing, which could teach scientists more about the Covid-19 immunity as well as new, more contagious variants of Covid-19. On the U.S. frontlines however, most doctor’s just don’t have the time or resources to be sequencing thousands of viral genomes each day. “We’re swamped,” Griffin says, “we’re trying to keep people alive.”

According to Alessandro Sette, an immunobiologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, “at this point, reinfections are not a huge problem.” Sette is a coauthor on a recent study published in the journal Science which suggests that a majority of patients remain immune to Covid-19 reinfection at least eight months after diagnosis.

But as the world looks forward to Covid-19 vaccines and reliable treatments to recover from nearly a year of locking down, those missing numbers could be hiding the true story about how long vaccinations will last, and whether the pandemic can be brought under control as the virus evolves more contagious strains.

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