Since the coronavirus pandemic was declared in March, one question has puzzled scientists around the world – can you catch the virus twice?
Now, a new study claims that recovered coronavirus patients can catch the virus again, but ‘are not contagious’ the second time around.
Researchers from the Korean Centres for Disease Control and Prevention screened 285 people who had tested positive for Covid-19 twice.
Those people were found to have come into contact with 790 people, including 351 family members and 439 members of the public.
Despite these huge numbers, just three new cases of the virus were confirmed in the 790 people.
This indicates that people who catch coronavirus for a second time are unlikely to be contagious.
In their report, the researchers said: “From monitoring of 790 contacts of the 285 re-positive cases, no case was found that was newly infected solely from contact with re-positive cases during re-positive period.”
The findings could help to lift lockdown restrictions in the UK, with the suggestion of ‘immunity passports’ for people who have already had the virus.
However, the government’s own scientific advisors have raised a huge list of problems with the idea of immunity certificates or passports.
In a paper on April 13, the scientific pandemic influenza group on behaviour (SPI-B) warned rogue bosses could give riskier jobs to people who have had Covid-19.
They said employers might “actively discriminate” against workers who were not shown to have antibodies.
And any ‘immunity passports’ – which have not yet been proven to work – could be hijacked by people trying to “game the system”.