COVID-19 reinfection cases alarm experts.
Recent documented cases of COVID-19 reinfection around different countries put the world’s worst fears to test- what would happen if a person catches COVID-19 more than once?
Further test results confirmed that the patients did not possess enough antibodies to fight the infection.
Could reinfection render a vaccine ineffective?
There’s still a lot we don’t know about COVID immunity and antibodies. If there are looming fears of COVID reinfection, there naturally arise immediate doubts over how far could a vaccine probably work- if a person’s antibodies or immunity aren’t strong enough to ward off future infections, what hope do we have? Does it mean a COVID vaccine won’t really be that effective?
What does it mean for vaccine development?
There have already been constant doubts about a vaccine’s efficacy, whether or not a shot would be enough to fight the pandemic or not, considering the short timelines they are being devised in. The recent problem is also something to give thought to.
However, even though COVID reinfection brings a lot of loopholes forward, it won’t really be detrimental to the development of any vaccine right now. Here are some reasons why.
Read also– Corona Vaccine – Hope vs Reality
We might require more than one shot of the vaccine
The case of COVID striking again is evident of COVID immunity not lasting for long and antibodies starting to wane after a while. But it does not mean the end of the road for vaccine work. If anything, the case for reinfection makes a stronger case for devising rules and regulations for vaccine administration like will we require a booster shot, will repeated doses be needed or not.
Isolated cases of reinfection do not make for credible proof
Second of all, it is too early to reach any sort of conclusion, based on isolated cases of reinfection. Vaccine makers and scientists are supportive of this theory.
“It is very hard to make any strong inference from a single observation,” said one of the lead experts working on a unique COVID genome project in London
The same was concurred by the Indian Council of Medical Research ( ICMR) in its latest briefing, adding that a single case cannot determine how effective vaccines are. Balram Bhargava, head of the ICMR said,
“We have read with interest the reports of reinfection in one case in Hong Kong. We are learning more and more about the disease as we go ahead. It can depend on several factors, one can be related to the patient itself, how is his immunity, how was his immune status, was it compromised. It can also depend upon the virus, whether the virus has mutated or turned virulent,”
Strong vaccines are made with mutations and safety concerns in mind
Much like any mutation, working of a vaccine isn’t determined by cases of infection or reinfection. Most likely, any vaccine which is registered for use will be able to work to provide base-level immunization. Additional boosters such as adjuvants and antigens can work to support the working of a vaccine as well. These are being developed by pharma companies as well.
It also makes a case for vaccine trials to go through thorough research and the job to be not rushed.
Credible experts have long suggested that a vaccine alone may not root away from the pandemic but a lot of measures shall be needed to put in place on the public level. One must also look into the medical diagnosis of the documented case and draw credible inferences. The Hong Kong resident was found to carry no antibodies but was completely asymptomatic and suffered from a mild form of the infection. Experts are suggesting that the man’s second bout of infection, though shocking is not entirely bad. It may mean that the immune system may have tried to fight off the reaction and saved him from undergoing severe complications.
There’s a lot of research still needed to support the dangers of reinfection. A lot of vaccines are under work and showing promising results. If anything, the recent hiccup is only making a case for us to pin out hopes for a stronger, and more effective vaccine.