Coronavirus reinfection discovered in Belgium, virologist says

Coronavirus reinfection discovered in Belgium, virologist says
Credit: Belga

A coronavirus reinfection has been discovered in Belgium, virologist Marc Van Ranst told VTM NIEUWS on Monday.

Van Ranst’s assertion follows the news on Monday that researchers In Hong Kong announced that they had discovered the world's first proven case of reinfection by Covid-19. The researchers are looking for other similar cases and are analysing the effects of this discovery on our immune system.

"We have determined the genetic sequence of these two viruses in the laboratory," Van Ranst said, “and we found that the same patient became ill again after three months - with another virus characterised by 11 mutations.”

The Belgian patient’s infections occurred in March and June, the virologist told Terzake.

"It is also possible that these are exceptions,” Van Ranst said. “Let's hope so, but it's not good news. We can forget about the possibility of being immunised all our lives against these respiratory viruses," he continued.

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Van Ranst did point out that both patients had mild symptoms during their first infection. "They were never hospitalised,” he said. “As a result, there may not have been enough antibodies to stop the disease a second time.”

The virologist told Terzake that he suspected that more cases of reinfections would be reported in the coming days. Indeed, Dutch virologist Marion Koopmans told NOS that the Netherlands, too, had a case of reinfection.

While Koopmans did not disclose the Dutch patient’s symptoms, she did say that it concerns an older patient with a weakened immune system.

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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