A study reveals that many people who have had COVID-19 lose their antibodies within a few months. In China, according to news reports, about 5 – 10 percent of people tested positive again after recovery. Similarly, in South Korea, over 160 people tested positive for COVID-19 infection again after they had recovered.
The US-based Centre for Disease Control (CDC) reported in its own survey that at least 35 percent of those surveyed had not returned to their usual state of health.
In India too, recovery from COVID-19 is posing a new set of challenges to both patients and physicians alike. In late August and earlier September, news reports of COVID-19 reinfections surfaced from different parts of India. It is still unclear whether:
• These people got re-infected again
• The virus reactivated in their bodies after being quiet for some time, or
• The test results were flawed
COVID-19 impacts almost all the vital organs in the body. Apart from acute events like stroke and heart attack (myocardial infarction); chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes are part of the post-COVID syndrome. A number of sudden deaths in post-COVID patients have been reported and most of these are attributed to acute cardiac events.
In addition, some of the manifestations occur weeks and months after the treatment for the acute phase is completed. Apart from mid and long-term sequelae, symptoms of the acute phase persist for significantly longer periods of time.
Apollo ReCOVer Clinics:
To address these issues and ensure good health to patients who have recovered from COVID-19, Apollo Hospitals launches Apollo ReCOVer Clinics.
As COVID-19 has an impact on multiple organs, Apollo ReCOVer Clinics will offer comprehensive, multi-disciplinary evaluation and care for post-COVID patients. The Clinics will screen, assess and treat post-COVID patients to prevent acute complications of the post-COVID syndrome and effectively manage the chronic situations which form a part of the post-COVID syndrome.
Apollo ReCOVer Clinics Post-COVID Management Program include:
• Multi-disciplinary assessment (Department of Pulmonology, Neurology and Cardiology)
• Mental health assessment and counselling
• Physical assessment
• Nutritionist counselling
Who should visit Apollo ReCOVer Clinics?
There have been studies with a COVID-19 infection that protective antibodies may not last very long and may wane at just 3 months. In addition. there is significant evidence that a few patients with relatively mild symptoms, who were treated at home, may also experience prolonged sickness, even after beating the COVID-19 infection. Therefore, patients who:
a) suffered from COVID-19 and have recovered
b) have had COVID-19 infection and Antibody test done
c) visited Fever Clinic at Apollo Clinics earlier
should visit Apollo ReCOVer Clinics to ensure good health post COVID-19 .
What do you mean by coronavirus immunity and reinfection?
Since a majority of people who have COVID-19 infection have mild or probably no symptoms, antibody tests can be the best way to discover how far the new coronavirus has spread. These antibody blood tests can demonstrate who has been exposed to this virus and who has not. The hope is that those who have been exposed to the new coronavirus will have immunity to it. And, when you have immunity, your body can identify and fight off the virus that causes the COVID-19 infection.
However as per few reports, it is also possible that individuals who have had COVID-19 infection can get re-infected or sick again — and may perhaps infect others.
How Do We Become Immune?
Human body is capable of amazing things, particularly when faced with something like coronavirus and COVID-19 infection. Your immune system is capable of developing the antibodies to fight off germs.
Here is how the immune system works:
• Viruses and bacteria have proteins known as antigens on their surfaces. Each type of germ will have its own unique antigen.
• Your immune system has white blood cells that make proteins known as antibodies to fight the antigen. These antibodies attach itself to antigens the same way a key fits into a lock and destroy the invading germ
• Your body makes memory cells as soon as any virus attacks your body. If you are exposed again to the same virus, these cells recognize it and tell your immune system to make antibodies against it. Vaccines work in the same way.
If you have had COVID-19, are you Immune?
Health experts still do not know whether we really become immune to COVID-19 after infection. And if we do have immunity, we do not know how long it might last.
How Do We Test for Immunity?
Antibody tests, also known as serology tests, measure antibodies to coronavirus in the blood. If you have antibodies, it means you have been exposed to the virus and your immune system has produced antibodies to fight the virus. Antibody tests are not similar to the tests doctors may use to check for the virus itself.
Since COVID-19 is new, there has not been much time for scientists to check for the accuracy of antibody tests. They can have false-positive results. That is , a person tests positive for antibodies but has not really developed them. Testing for antibodies too soon after sickness can also result in false results. It takes 5 – 10 days after you get infected to develop antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 infection
The Bottom Line:
The post-COVID health problems COVID-19 patients face range from from respiratory, cardiac and neurological problems like headaches and mild memory loss, to psychiatric disorders and other issues like fatigue, body pains or weakness. In addition, there have been multiple reports of re-infection in many people who had apparently recovered from COVID-19, leaving doctors trying to understand the reason behind the same.
Apollo ReCOVer Clinics will analyse patients who are experiencing a re-emergence of COVID-19 symptoms after having recovered from the infection. The Clinics will also screen, assess and treat post-COVID patients to prevent acute and long term complications post COVID-19 recovery.