The coronavirus outbreak that started in China has infected more than 20,000 people and killed more than 400. Cases have been recorded in 24 other countries.
Specifically, the coronavirus outbreak originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. China’s Health Commission reported that among those infected there, 475 people have made full recoveries and 361 have died. The rest are still being treated.
Zhan Qingyuan, director of pneumonia prevention and treatment at the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, said even people who have recovered may not be immune to the virus.
“For those patients who have been cured, there is a likelihood of a relapse,” he said in a briefing on Friday, March 13.
“The antibody will be generated; however, in certain individuals, the antibody cannot last that long.”
“With many infectious diseases; a person can develop immunity against a specific strain after exposure or infection,” Amira Roess, a professor of Global Health and Epidemiology at George Mason University, explained.
“Often, that person will not get sick again upon subsequent exposure to it. Regarding this specific strain of coronavirus, scientists are working to answer this question.”
Doctors and virologists don’t yet know enough about the Wuhan coronavirus to say; whether humans develop full immunity after they’ve contracted the illness.
According to Zhan, doctors aren’t sure that the antibodies patients develop are strong or long-lasting enough to keep them from contracting the disease again.
Viruses can also mutate quickly, so immunity to one strain doesn’t guarantee immunity to another.