Doctors at a private hospital in Ahmedabad on Tuesday claimed that a 54-year-old woman who had tested negative after a bout with Covid-19 in April had tested positive once again through an RT-PCR (swab) test on Sunday. The woman has hyperthyroidism and hypertension as co-morbidities, said doctors, but she is asymptomatic and recovering well.
Meanwhile, Telangana health minister Eatala Rajender said on Tuesday that there were two possible cases Covid-19 reinfection in the state. “The virus is new and we are learning about it daily. There is no guarantee that coronavirus will not come [back] in those who were infected before. Those who are not developing antibodies in sufficient amounts might get infected again,” Rajender told a news channel.
Dr Pragnesh Vora, the doctor treating the patient from Ahmedabad at Ratan Hospital, said, “Primarily, this looks like a case of Covid-19 reinfection. The patient went four months without any problems, after which she tested positive again. She had earlier tested negative twice.”
Mirror has learnt that the woman had tested positive for Covid-19 on April 18 and was admitted to Ahmedabad Civil Hospital. There, she tested negative twice through RT-PCR tests on April 27 and April 28. But four month later, on August 20, she once again tested positive for Covid-19 through an antigen test during an Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation drive. This was confirmed with an RTPCR test on August 23. The case was reported to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) by Dr Vora, a private practitioner, and Dr Dhaval Pankhaniya, an intensivist, who discovered the case.
Dr Pankhaniya said, “This is the first case of reinfection we have seen. The patient tested positive through RT-PCR with a very high viral load and was admitted to Ratan Hospital under the AMC quota. However, she is asymptomatic. Her condition is improving.”
Gujarat’s Principal Secretary of Health Dr Jayanti Ravi said, “We have to be open to all situations and examine them. We will look at literature from around the world and will also be in touch with ICMR. We don’t want to comment on whether this could be the first case of reinfection in India. We will be open to emerging scientific evidence,” she added.
Clinically +ve, but proof needed While doctors treating the Ahmedabad patient and those at SVP Hospital who are reviewing her files seem to be confident that this is a case of reinfection, they said proving this will be difficult. For one, a senior clinical investigator at SVP Hospital said, in the research paper published by Hong Kong University, genome sequencing was carried out during both bouts of infection.
“However, no genome sequencing was done when this patient was first diagnosed with Covid-19 back in April. This would have been a fantastic tool to prove reinfection if the strain [of Covid-19] was found to be different,” said Dr Janak Khambholja.
Primarily, this looks like a case of Covid-19 reinfection. The patient went four months without any problems, after which she tested positive again. She had earlier tested -ve twice
Dr Pragnesh Vora, who is treating the woman