Physician who tested positive after first recovering may be additional proof that coronavirus antibodies may only be effective for a short time.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
A doctor at the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv Hospital who recovered from the coronavirus in April has been diagnosed with the virus again, Channel 13 reported.
When she first contracted the virus in April, the doctor suffered from fever, cough and muscle aches, but subsequently recovered and tested negative in May and June. However, after coming into contact recently with a patient who was infected, she was tested again and found positive.
This is the second case at Sheba Hospital where a person who had recovered was found to be positive again In the first such case, a patient who previously recovered returned to the hospital with acute pneumonia and also tested positive again.
Several similar cases have been reported both in Israel and around the world, with experts confused as to the cause.
Because the coronavirus is new, there is no accumulated data showing how the virus behaves over long periods of time. Some potential reasons for the double infections are that previous negative results could have been erroneous, or new positive results could be in error.
Another concern is that the antibodies the body generates when sick with the virus become ineffective after a few months.
Doctors are not yet sure how coronavirus antibodies work over time, and there are suspicions that antibodies do not stay active in the body the same way that antibodies from other diseases do, such as measles or smallpox. With those diseases, antibodies proovide lifetime of immunity after vaccination or actual infection and recovery.
Israel has been collecting blood plasma for the past three months from recovered coronavirus patients to give scientists material to to both study and potentially use in vaccines.
Despite having isolated the coronavirus antibodies, Israeli scientists cautioned that the road to a coronavirus cure remains long an perilous with no guarantees that a complete cure is possible.