COVID-19 tests in recovered patients in S. Korea found false positives, not reinfections


Well-known member
Dec 11, 2018
South Korea’s infectious disease experts said Thursday that dead virus fragments were the likely cause of over 260 people here testing positive again for the novel coronavirus days and even weeks after marking full recoveries.

Oh Myoung-don, who leads the central clinical committee for emerging disease control, said the committee members found little reason to believe that those cases could be COVID-19 reinfections or reactivations, which would have made global efforts to contain the virus much more daunting.
The PCR tests cannot distinguish whether the virus is alive or dead, he added, and this can lead to false positives.

“PCR testing that amplifies genetics of the virus is used in Korea to test COVID-19, and relapse cases are due to technical limits of the PCR testing.”
The committee’s findings confirmed an earlier assessment from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that repeat patients appear to have little or no contagiousness. The KCDC cited results of virus culture tests that all failed to find live virus in recovered patients.
The committee ruled out reactivation of COVID-19 as a reason for relapses and said there was little to no possibility that reinfections would occur due to antibodies that patients develop.

“The process in which COVID-19 produces a new virus takes place only in host cells and does not infiltrate the nucleus. This means it does not cause chronic infection or recurrence,” Oh said.

That's very good to know. It means that it's possible people have immunity against COVID-19.

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