Re-infection with corona: what you should know about cases of reinfection – health

– Within 20 days, a Spaniard was infected with the Corona virus twice – first delta, then omicron. A rare but not an isolated case. The so-called re-infection occurs over and over again. Here you can find out what this is all about, the factors that promote renewed infection and the role that the vaccination status plays.

If recovered corona patients contract the virus again, this is referred to as reinfection. According to an American study, the risk of infection again immediately after the initial infection is only about five percent, but increases by up to 50 percent in the following 17 months. Means: Just like vaccination, infection cannot fundamentally and completely protect against further infection. “After repeated contact with the virus, the risk of severe cycles or death is reduced,” explained Professor Jonas Schmidt-Schnaset of the Bernhard Notch Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg. Build.

After one injury, how long is protection from another injury?

“You can’t say that in general,” Professor Schmidt-Shanaset explained. The probability of ‘re-infection a few weeks after infection is very low’ – and this happens above all when a new species is circulated. This development can be observed, for example, in the transition period between Delta and Omicron.

In principle, the following applies to infections in those who have recovered as well as to penetrating infections after vaccination: “The longer it has been since the last contact with the virus, the higher the likelihood of infection again.” Other factors that influence potential re-infection are, for example, viral load, type of contact with the virus, but also the severity of previous infection with corona.

Vaccination status affects the risk of reinfection

The latter is proven by a study from the USA that has not yet been published: researchers have established for the delta and omicron variants that the number of antibodies in people who have been exposed to infection with severe symptoms is higher than in people who have experienced it. moderate cycle. The number of antibodies depends on the severity of the symptoms, but does not directly affect the risk of infection again: according to Professor Schmidt-Schnasett, how well the human immune system responds to the virus also depends on “cellular immunity”. Because of the infection, the immune system stimulates the formation of killer cells that fight the virus. However, measuring these cells is more difficult than measuring antibodies.

Another aspect that can affect the risk of reinfection is the vaccination status. People who are not immunized are more likely to become infected again than people who have recovered who have also been fully vaccinated. This is what a study from the USA showed. In addition, unprotected recoveries infected with a variant other than the omicron variant have only marginal protection against it. Accordingly, at least one booster vaccination is recommended for these people.

Re-infections bring this feature

Prof. Schmidt-Shanaset predicts: “Re-infections will happen more frequently in the future – and that’s a good thing.” Because: Each contact with the virus creates a broader immunity against different variables on the one hand and reminds the immune system on the other hand that it must fight these viruses. Thus, re-infection makes it possible “to live with the virus in the long term and to increase protection against serious illness and death for the entire population.”

According to the German Society of Virology, at least three contacts with the virus’s spike protein are necessary for the greatest possible immune protection – for example through three vaccinations or through one infection and two vaccines. A German study emphasizes that it is important to maintain a certain period of time between contacts in order to bring about an effective increase in the antibody response, for example with a second vaccination.

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