COVID-19 may be resurfacing in cured patients: Korean CDC Credit: Representational image

New Delhi: The novel coronavirus, which has so far claimed over 88,000 lives globally, maybe ‘reactivating’ in individuals who have been cured of the viral disease, Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Around 51 patients categorised as having been cured of the illness in South Korea again tested positive, Bloomberg reported citing a CDC briefing. As opposed to them being infected again, the virus may have been reactivated in these individuals, given how they are testing positive again post being discharged from quarantine, Jeong Eun-kyeong, the director-general of the Korean CDC was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

‘While we are putting more weight on reactivation as the possible cause, we are conducting a comprehensive study on this,” Jeong said.

There have been instances where a person, in the course of the treatment, will test negative one day and positive on a different day, he added.

An individual is considered to have recovered completely when two tests, conducted with an interval of 24 hours, come out as negative. The Korean CDC will conduct an epidemiological probe into the cases, Jeong said.

South Korea witnessed one of the worst early outbreaks of the virus, but appears to have reined it in thanks to its extensive “trace, test and treat” programme. The country has seen just 200 deaths and a decrease in the new case tally since it climaxed at 1,189 on February 29.

Concerns over re-infection in cured patients is also mounting in China, where the virus first surfaced in December last year, after reports stated that a few had tested positive and even passed away after purportedly recovering and being released from the hospital. There’s not much understanding about why the resurgence of the disease in such individuals was seen, but some believe that the issue rests in the discrepancies in test results.

As on Wednesday, South Korea had 10,384 virus cases, with 6,776 discharged from hospital, as per data collated by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News.

Epidemiologists are working round the clock to study in detail the novel coronavirus. The virus’s aggressive spread has further thrown light on another alarming phenomenon where patients despite getting infected, display atypical symptoms of the illness.

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