WHO says reports on Hong Kong man getting reinfected with COVID-19 are 'important' for vaccine research
A WHO spokesperson said that the unpublished study offers the first 'clear documentation' that reinfection is possible, but added that the number of such cases is likely very small
Berlin: The World Health Organization says reports that a Hong Kong man became infected twice with the coronavirus provide important information for scientists studying immunity and developing a vaccine.
A spokeswoman for the UN health agency said on Tuesday that the unpublished study from Hong Kong offers the first "clear documentation" that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is possible, but cautioned that the number of such cases is likely very small.
Margaret Harris noted that the case in Hong Kong was just one in 23 million lab-confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide so far.
"We will probably see other documented cases, but it seems to be not a regular event," she told reporters.
"We would have seen many more cases," Harris said the case would help researchers understand how the human body builds up immunity to the virus.
"It is not the same as the immune protection that a vaccine provides," she added, noting that part of the development of vaccines involves ensuring that they confer immunity.
"With the vaccine, you ideally want stronger immunity. That's one of the things you're looking for when you're studying what sort of immunity your candidate vaccine stimulates," Harris said.
The WHO chief also warned that if the world does not take the opportunity now, there is still a risk of more variants, deaths, disruption, and uncertainty
The “strong” recommendation replaces previous conditional recommendations for their use and is based on emerging evidence from laboratory studies that these drugs are not likely to work against currently circulating variants, such as Omicron
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