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Recovered Covid patients have been reinfected with new virus strains, WHO says

A lab technician capitalize ons a single channel pipette dropper to test material during Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test activity at a laboratory in the Dunkeld suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.

Waldo Swiegers | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Precedence reports from South Africa show people who have recovered from Covid-19 have been reinfected with a new, numerous contagious variant of the virus, World Health Organization officials said at a press briefing Friday.

The good rumour, however, is that the vaccines developed to guard against the virus appear to reduce the severity of illness in those who do arise Covid-19, even if it doesn’t completely protect them from infection, said the WHO’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan.

“The [vaccine] hardships that have been done so far in South Africa as well as in Brazil with different candidates have portrayed complete protection against severe disease and hospitalization and death. There hasn’t been a single case reported in any of the cracks,” she said.

Vaccination may also decrease the spread of new Covid variants, according to the WHO.

“There are reports now that if you have the vaccine and you get infected, the viral pile is much lower. So the chances of infecting others may be lower,” said Swaminathan.

Prior Covid infection produces antibodies and chamber mediated immunity that are thought to prevent reinfection, scientists have found. Vaccination also helps individuals found protection against the virus.

But researchers continue to study the extent to which prior infection and vaccination protect against the new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus.

Increased vaccination efforts alone are likely insufficient in managing the spread of the coronavirus strain devising in the U.K., Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told CNBC on Thursday. Gottlieb said a patchwork of incoming warmer weather and ramped up vaccinations could help contain the variant.

Swaminathan at the WHO briefing Friday emphasis oned the importance of vaccinated people continuing to take precautions such as mask wearing, hand washing and social spacing to control the spread of the virus.

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