Dozens of people are becoming reinfected with COVID-19 in Israel and the US, and doctors are now warning there may be two or more strains of the virus.
In Israel, at least 81 cases of reinfection have been documented by the Health Ministry so far, according to the Hebrew-language Hadarei Ha’Haredim news website.
All of those cases were people became ill a second time with the virus at least three months after they had tested negative after recovering from the first coronavirus infection.
It is not possible to know whether the second time around is a separate infection, or a re-infection from remnants of the virus remaining dormant in the body that have caused a second outbreak, or even the possibility that one of the tests, either in the first or second round, could have been a false positive.
So in light of all of the above, it is strongly recommended to consult with an infectious diseases specialist if God forbid you, the reader, or someone you know should happen to be among those who are challenged with a possible second infection.
However, there is another possibility, one that is even worse.
Many of those who reinfect the second time around seem to be getting sick with a different strain of this virus, one that is more severe than their first encounter with the illness.
Case Study in Nevada: Different Strain
In the United States, a 25-year-old man with no known immune disorders or underlying medical conditions became infected twice with COVID-19, according to a study published in the The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
According to the research team led by Dr. Mark Pandori of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine in Reno, Nevada, “Genomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 showed genetically significant differences between each variant associated with each instance of infection.
“The second infection was symptomatically more severe than the first.
“Genetic discordance of the two SARS-CoV-2 specimens was greater than could be accounted for by short-term in vivo evolution.
“These findings suggest that the patient was infected by SARS-CoV-2 on two separate occasions by a genetically distinct virus. Thus, previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 might not guarantee total immunity in all cases.”