UWI Doctor: No Proof of Covid-19 Re-infection

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Dr Christine Carrington

GENETIC material from Covid-19 remaining in the body of a patient may give a false positive in testing.

This according to Dr Christine Carrington, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Virology and Head of the Department of Preclinical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine.

She made the observation during the virtual news conference of the Ministry of Health on Thursday.

Dr Carrington said there have been reports of people who recovered from Covid-19 and tested negative were again tested positive.


She said, “People have used that to say that people have been re-infected.

“But from the beginning scientists have cautioned that we can’t be sure that they were re-infected.

“It is possible that some of their genetic material from the virus remains in their body after they have cleared the virus itself.

“That sought of genetic junk that is left over can be detected by the test.

“The test that you are using is actually trying to detect that genetic material and there was actually a recent study…where they took material from people who were supposedly re-infected and checked to see if the so called virus that they had detected was infectious and they were able to show that it is absolutely not.”

She said the low levels of the leftover genetic junk in the body can be detected in this test which was very sensitive.

Dr Carrington said, “It does not appear to be a true reinfection. It seems that when people are infected they do mount an immune response that would protect from further infection.

“What we don’t know is how strong that immune response is and how long it will last.”

See related story below:

Covid-19 Reinfection is a Possibility


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