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Months after Delhi policeman tested negative, he contracts Covid again

While there have been a few cases of relapse reported from other countries, there is no concrete medical literature yet that confirms the recurrence of Covid-19.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: July 24, 2020 10:46:23 am
According to doctors, he tested negative on May 25 and resumed duty. On July 10, he complained of fever and dry cough and was tested through rapid antigen and RT-PCR on July 13. Both reports were positive.

Almost a month after testing negative, a 50-year-old policeman has reported a recurrence of Covid-19 infection. The policeman, who is currently admitted to Indraprastha Apollo hospital, first tested positive in May but had no symptoms.

According to doctors, he tested negative on May 25 and resumed duty. On July 10, he complained of fever and dry cough and was tested through rapid antigen and RT-PCR on July 13. Both reports were positive.

“This is the first such case I have seen so far. When the patient was tested earlier, he had no symptoms… In July, he developed some symptoms and was tested again. After he recovered the first time, we couldn’t find any antibodies,” said Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant, Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Apollo Hospitals.

Explained: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery?

While there have been a few cases of relapse reported from other countries, there is no concrete medical literature yet that confirms the recurrence of Covid-19. “If every report is considered to be true, then he probably got re-infected… RT-PCR has a sensitivity of 60-65% so a false positive can occur but chances are very low. This is a highly specific test,” said Dr Chawla.

Earlier this week, a nurse working with MCD’s Hindu Rao hospital also tested positive again for Covid-19, days after recovery. However, municipal authorities claimed it could ostensibly be because of “dead virus left in her body from the previous infection”.

“… If one such case is reported from the city which has over 1 lakh cases, then it could be a problem of testing, interpretation, conditions, etc. About 7-10% can be false positive; it all depends on the amount of the virus in the body…,” said Dr Jugal Kishore, director, head of the department of community medicine, Vardhman Mahavir Medical College (VMMC) and Safdarjung hospital.

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