COVID-19: Is reinfection possible?

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Aratã Oliveira Cortez Costa
Humberto de Carvalho Aragão Neto
Ana Paula Lopes Nunes
Ricardo Dias de Castro
Reinaldo Nóbrega de Almeida

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly in many countries, overburdening health systems and causing numerous economic and social impacts. Most studies on the subject have focused on epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment, however, there remains a scientific gap concerning the possibility of reinfection. The purpose of this bibliographic review is to gather information from studies aimed at this possibility, and to clarify what we know so far. It was found that in many situations cured patients are being released from hospitals, however, in some cases, the discharge criteria are not effective. Patients are presenting positive RT-PCR tests. There are several factors that might interfere so that patients cured of COVID-19 continue to test positive, and this would not necessarily represent a case of recurrence, as the test cannot differentiate the viral RNA from the complete virus, which alone is capable of causing the active infection. This review demonstrates that in order to rule out the possibility of COVID-19 reinfection in cured patients, more robust methods need to be adopted as criteria for both clinical discharge and post-hospital follow-up.

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How to Cite
Costa, A. O. C., de Carvalho Aragão Neto, H., Lopes Nunes, A. P. ., Dias de Castro, R., & Nóbrega de Almeida, R. (2021). COVID-19: Is reinfection possible?. EXCLI Journal, 20, 522-536. https://doi.org/10.17179/excli2021-3383
Section
Review articles