Many cases of multiple re-infections have been reported across the world
The coronavirus has been wreaking havoc around the globe for the last two years, continuously evolving with new and more dangerous variants.
With over 4.53 million deaths across the globe, there have been many cases where a patient was reported to be infected twice and at times thrice with the virus.
Nihar Ranjon Das, a doctor in his mid-thirties at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital, got infected in April last year when the government started rolling out movement restrictions and social distancing across the country. He recovered in a few days, but the virus struck him not twice, but thrice between April and October last year.
Two Covid-19 survivors, who got infected multiple times, spoke to Dhaka Tribune about their experience.
Nihar was infected for the first time with Covid-19 in the second week of April last year. His symptoms were initially mild and he tested negative in a few days.
However, in June last year, he showed symptoms of Covid-19 again.
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“My symptoms were stronger compared to the first time. I lost my appetite. I had a fever and body aches,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
He tested negative on July 21 and resumed his duties at the hospital.
On October 17, just three months after the second strike, he tested positive again.
“The third time was the worst. About 24% of my lungs were infected this time and it took me more than a month to recover,” he said.
Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) advisor Mushtaq Hossain told Dhaka Tribune that repeated Covid-19 was rare, but it happened.
According to him, there is not enough data and research done on this issue and therefore it cannot be said for sure exactly how many times a person can be infected.
“Sometimes the virus remains dormant and loses its ability to infect others. However, if a person suffers from post-Covid-19 complications in a few months and takes the test again, it may come out positive,” he said.
He suggested more genome sequencing of coronavirus samples collected from people who have been reinfected.
A study led by Public Health England (PHE) shows that most people who have had the virus are protected from being infected again for at least five months.
Another research at King's College London has seen levels of antibodies that kill coronavirus become weaker over a three-month study.
Kaberi Maitraya was infected in May last year. It took 36 days for her test results to come out negative.
She got fully vaccinated this year but got infected by coronavirus in June for the second time.
“From the 13th of June, I suddenly started to feel sick. I got a fever and a cold. I thought it was just a common cold,” she told the correspondent.
Then other symptoms of Covid-19, like loss of smell and taste, started kicking in.
Later, on June 17, she tested positive again, this time with five members of her house.
“I did not have breathing difficulties like the first time. But there were other symptoms, including fever, cold, loss of taste and smell. I was able to eat and sleep the second time, which was difficult when I contracted the virus the first time,” Kaberi explained, adding that she lost 10 kilograms the second time around.
Kaberi said she feels like she has been sick with this virus for a long time although the test results came out negative.
“I feel as if every cell in my body is in pain. I get a headache and joint pain constantly now,” she said.
She said the first time it was only physical pain she had to endure, but suffered post-Covid-19 complications during the second time when infected, including mental health issues.
“I feel like I am always exasperated at everything ever since I recovered from Covid-19 the second time,” she told Dhaka Tribune.
Bangladesh has already topped the 1.5 million mark in terms of Covid-19 cases. So far, a total of 1,503,680 people have been infected with the virus in the country, with 26,274 dying of it as of Wednesday.