Faizel Patel – 06/08/2020
A Professor in the Centre for HIV and STIs at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says there is no definitive evidence that people who have been infected with COVID-19 can be re-infected.
This comes after experts have asked for caution following reports that South Africans who recovered from the Coronavirus appeared to have been re-infected with the virus.
While similar claims were also made in other countries, the reports have raised doubts about people’s ability to gain immunity from the virus.
Speaking to Radio Islam, Professor Adrian Puren says while there is no certainty that people can be re-infected with COVID-19, we cannot exclude the possibility.
“I think there is good evidence to show that there is some immunity and therefore that makes the case for re-infection possibly unlikely at this time. But it’s not ruled out because we looked at other Coronaviruses, these are the ones that cause the common cold. We do know that it this case that those Coronaviruses immunity does wane and in fact, you do become re-infected. But for COVID at this time, we don’t really have definitive evidence.”
Professor Puren says it will take a while before people can be immune to COVID-19.
“We do know from the vaccine studies that there is immunity and the different types of immune responses. So I think those will be the clues and we’ll also be doing what we call serology testing, anti-body testing in communities and that will also give us an idea as to how we are actually coping with this particular virus.”
Professor Puren has urged people to continue practicing social distancing, the wearing of masks and hand hygiene.
Listen to the interview with Professor Adrian Puren