Just when Wuhan could breathe a sigh of relief after zero new recorded cases of the coronavirus for a second day, doctors in the Chinese province are now cautioning otherwise. The struggle is far from over.
According to South China Morning Post, up to 10 percent of patients who recovered from the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, tested positive again in Wuhan, China.
With over 90 percent of patients having recovered and only 4,300 still receiving treatment in the city’s hospitals, some 3 to 10 percent have somehow contracted the virus again. This was confirmed after healthcare providers conducted nucleic acid tests which turned out positive on recovered patients.
But it’s a small sample size.
President of Tongji hospital revealed that out of 147 recovered patients they observed, five emerged positive, giving rise to fears that imported cases could possibly unleash another wave of the global pandemic.
However, many are also beginning to question the reliability of the nucleic acid tests in detecting the virus on recovered patients with experts questioning the sensitivity and stability of test kits.
Are they infectious?
This is the question on the minds of many experts along with the possibility of the body developing antibodies to beef up immunity against the disease.
However, health experts from Wuhan”s Tongji hospital said there is no conclusive proof as of yet on whether these patients are infectious. Doctors have conducted lab tests and have been observing members of the patients’ families.
Five patients from the hospital, though testing positive, didn’t display the symptoms of the coronavirus. Their family members too were not infected.
“So far there is no evidence to suggest that they are infectious. These are just small samples and not enough to assure us of the validity of our initial findings. We need a large-scale epidemiological study to guide our disease surveillance and prevention works,” Wang said.
An observation on similar patients also revealed that 80 to 90 percent of them no longer had the virus in their bloodstream a month after recovery.
He does, however, insist that recovered patients remain in isolation for two weeks upon being discharged so that they could be tested again.
Cover image sourced from New Straits Times / AFP.