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Coronavirus: What Happens After Recovery And Reinfection - WHO


World Health Organisation (WHO) has said people who test positive for coronavirus are not getting reinfected.

While WHO added that coronavirus patients who test positive after recovering are still expelling dead lung cells rather than getting a new infection.

In the same vein, an expert in virology told MailOnline that once the virus is inactivated by the immune system and forms a complex bond with an antibody, it stops being infectious but can still be detected by a swab test.

"We are aware that some patients test positive after they clinically recover."

"From what we currently know – and this is based on very recent data – it seems they these patients are expelling left over materials from their lungs, as part of the recovery phase."

For some viruses, such as the measles, those who contract it are immune for life, while for other coronaviruses such as SARS, immunity lasted from a few months to a couple of years.

‘We need systematic collection of samples from recovered patients to better understand how long they shed live virus,’ the WHO spokesperson said.

‘We also need to understand if this means they can pass the virus to other people – having live virus does not necessarily mean it can be passed to another person.’

WHO also said more research is needed on the recovered patients who originally tested negative and then tested positive weeks later.

In a recent interview with BBC, infectious disease epidemiologist Maria Van Kerhove, part of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, explained the ‘dead cell’ scenario.

‘As the lungs heal, there are parts of the lung that are dead cells that are coming up,’  she said, talking on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

‘These are fragments of the lungs that are actually testing positive.

The pandemic has now killed more than 257,000 people globally and officially infected nearly 3.7 million.


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