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Russian experts see possibility of coronavirus reinfection among recovered patients

"Even if a person had the disease, even if the titre of antibodies is high, it will not protect him forever," one doctor said

ST. PETERSBURG, May 27. /TASS/. Novel coronavirus reinfection is possible even in patients with immunity to the virus, St. Petersburg doctors who treated COVID-19 patients said on Tuesday.

"The data that we have today indicate this possibility. Today we have information about how long it takes to acquire immunity and how long it lasts, which is about 100-120 days. Theoretically, there is a possibility of becoming reinfected. Even if a person had the disease, even if the titre of antibodies is high, it will not protect him forever," the head of an inter-agency working group for countering the coronavirus spread in St. Petersburg, Yevgeny Shlyakhto, told journalists.

Yakov Nakatis, the chief doctor of the Sokolov Clinical Hospital №122, which treats coronavirus patients, said immunity to novel coronavirus might be similar to that of influenza, when vaccination is not always a guarantee against contracting the disease.

"The degree of immunity does not depend on how severe a patient's symptoms are," he said, adding that only pure luck can prevent a person from falling ill again.

A similar opinion was voiced by Sergei Petrov, chief doctor of the St. Elizabeth City Hospital in Saint Petersburg, which renders emergency aid.

"Cases of reinfection are, naturally, possible," he said, adding that the novel coronavirus, just like any other virus, can mutate easily to a point when acquired immunity no longer works against it.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 5,601,800 people have been infected worldwide and more than 348,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 2,381,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.

To date, a total of 362,342 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 131,129 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 3,807 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.