Can you get COVID twice Metropolis Healthcare

What the whole world is desperately waiting for in the current times is to get the COVID-19 vaccine. How will a vaccine against the coronavirus help us save from the pandemic? So, the entire game is about getting immunity to COVID-19. Immunity provides protection against catching the infection. One question that has gained everyone’s attention is could you be immune to COVID-19 if you had been infected once? This holds a lot of importance as people who have once recovered from COVID-19 will be able to return back to work or travel freely, considering that they are safe. However, if they are not, it can lead to COVID-19 reinfection, further spread, and pose risk to people’s lives.

Have common cold-like symptoms that you think could be COVID-19? Get tested for coronavirus at home and be assured.

Antibodies and immunity to COVID-19
As soon as any virus attacks you, yourbody’s defense system naturally responds immediately. This helps slow the progress of the virus and may even prevent it from causing symptoms. This first response is followed by a more advanced, specific response where your body makes protective molecules, called antibodies that bind to the virus and inactivate it. These antibodies are specific for a particular type of infection, which means, if you have antibodies against poliovirus, your body gets immune to that virus. Similarly, if you have antibodies to COVID-19, you can become immune to the coronavirus.

When a person gets infected with COVID-19, his or her body makes protective antibodies specifically to fight COVID-19, which help in clearing the virus from the body and allow recovery from the infection. Please note that the amounts of antibodies formed and the level of immunity that they confer might differ from person to person, depending on various factors such as the individual body response, age, and overall health status.

The WHO continues to review the evidence on antibody responses to coronavirus infection. Most of these studies have shown that people who have recovered from infection have antibodies to the virus. Hence, it is very clear that the immunity to COVID-19 is linked to the presence of antibodies against COVID-19.

Do antibodies provide immunity to COVID-19?
 As per the experts, antibodies can provide some level of temporary immunity to COVID-19.  However, no study has evaluated whether the presence of antibodies confers immunity to reinfection by this virus. The main catch here is that researchers aren’t sure about how long these antibodies stay in the body, so you can’t really be sure about how long this immunity lasts! The extent and duration of this antibody immunity to COVID-19 remain unknown as yet. The best thing is to continue taking precautions even if you have already had COVID-19 once.    

Can you get tested for immunity to COVID-19?
Actually, no! As yet, no test can confirm that you are immune to COVID-19. However, a COVID-19 antibody test can detect the COVID-19 antibodies if you had been infected previously and recovered from the disease. This test measures the presence of antibodies in your blood and can be quite useful to understand if your body has encountered the virus in the recent past. Many of the people with COVID-19 have been asymptomatic and do not show any symptoms. A COVID-19 antibody test can tell if you had contracted the virus and your body made antibodies to fight it. 

Does a positive COVID-19 antibody test mean you are immune to COVID-19?

A positive antibody test or the presence of antibodies only means that you’ve been exposed in the past. Having a positive antibody test does not mean that you’re immune to the virus. Researchers have explained that, for some infections, antibodies may provide protection against reinfection. For others, reinfection cannot be prevented, but symptoms may be milder. In yet other cases, antibodies can provide no protection at all. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is a new virus, and the scientists are still learning about it. There isn’t much clarity on how the antibodies to COVID-19 behave. 

Also, a negative COVID-19 antibody test doesn’t mean that you had never contracted the virus. There might be a possibility that your antibodies levels have been exhausted, and hence the past infection could not be detected by the test.

Could you get COVID-19 twice?
It seems possible, however, how often is not known. There have been multiple cases reported in different parts of the world that people can be infected a second time. Though antibodies may prevent progression to severe illness or re-infection by the same virus, experts don’t know how much protection, or how long it would last. It is also unclear if the reinfected people will be able to spread the infection to others.

What should you do to prevent COVID-19 infection/ reinfection?

The most effective ways to prevent catching coronavirus infection is to follow social distancing, wash hands often and use hand sanitizers, and wear a mask when in public. Even if you had contracted the virus in the past, do not take it as a COVID-19 immunity passport! That’s simply not advisable. Continue taking hygienic precautions against the virus to help protect yourself and your loved ones.     

Want to check if your body had encountered the virus in the past? Get tested for COVID-19 antibodies now within the comfort of your home.

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COVID-19 or Coronavirus disease is an infectious disease that causes severe respiratory illness. This new strain of coronavirus affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate symptoms and might not need hospitalization. 

Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Body ache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

COVID-19 has caused serious illness in older people and those with underlying chronic health problems like diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, liver or kidney disease, obesity, cancer, etc

Never let your health take a backseat. Get yourself regularly tested.

COVID-19 tests: Need of the Hour

Testing for COVID-19 can identify you as a positive or negative case of coronavirus disease. It is very important as you can only get the right treatment or self-isolate if you know that you have contracted the coronavirus.

Different types of COVID-19 tests available

India has stood relatively strong in her fight against COVID-19 with a strategy “Test, Track and Treat”. Different methods of testing have been launched to trace COVID-19 infection rapidly and efficiently.

Watch this video to know more about Different types of COVID-19 test in this video:

Some of the most commonly used tests used are:

1) Molecular (RT-PCR) tests

  • About the test- The Molecular test, commonly known as the RT-PCR test, is a method of testing that is used to directly detect the presence of the virus in the sample. The test detects the virus’s RNA, which is the genetic material of the virus. The first step in this test is to convert this RNA to DNA using an enzyme known as the reverse transcriptase. The PCR testing then detects this DNA. Hence the name RT-PCR. These are also known as the diagnostic test and nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT).
  • How the sample is taken- A nasal or throat swab sample is taken.
  • Time taken to get results- Results are given the same day or within 2-3 days.
  • Are they accurate– These tests are the most accurate. They have a high sensitivity and specificity.
  • What it shows- These tests help diagnose the active coronavirus infection. If the virus is present in the sample, the test is positive but a negative test doesn’t necessarily mean that you can not be infected, you might have taken the test in the early days.
  • What it cannot show- It fails to show if you ever had COVID-19 in the past.
  • Cost of RT-PCR test- Cost of the antibody test kit is somewhere between Rs 2000- Rs 3000.

In case you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19, you can approach your doctor who can further advise you for a test. 

Not every laboratory in the country can conduct a COVID-19 test as the virus is highly contagious. Only NABL(National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) accredited laboratories approved by ICMR are equipped to handle the COVID-19 samples. Book your COVID-19 lab test confidently with us.

What to do after an RT-PCR test?

If you test positive for the COVID-19 RT-PCR test:

The healthcare provider will guide you to follow protective steps if you feel sick.

If you test negative for COVID-19 RT-PCR test:

It means you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing or your sample might have been collected too early to detect an infection. If you develop symptoms after 3-4 days, you might need to take another lRT-PCR test to determine if you are infected.

2) COVID-19 Antigen Tests

  • About the test- A COVID-19 antigen refers to any foreign matter or viral proteins in the body that triggers an immune response. This test helps identify the antigens related to the COVID-19 virus. Antigen test, also known as rapid antigen test, is a rapid diagnostic test that gives results faster than molecular tests. But there is a drawback, antigen tests have a higher chance of missing an active infection. 
  • How the sample is taken- Usually,anasal or throat swab sample is taken.
  • Time taken to get results- Since it is a rapid test, results are delivered in 1 hour or less.
  • Is another test needed– Rapid tests are usually highly accurate if you test positive however a negative result might need to be confirmed using a molecular test.
  • What it shows- These tests help diagnose active coronavirus in the sample.
  • What it cannot show- The Antigen test might miss an active coronavirus infection in comparison to RT-PCR tests.
  • Cost of COVID-19 Antigen test- Cost of the COVID-19 antigen test kit is somewhere between Rs 400- Rs 500

3) COVID-19 Antibody Tests 

  • About the testCOVID-19 Antibody tests, also known as, Serology test, serological test, or Serology blood test, are screening tests for COVID-19 antibodies in your blood. It tells if you were previously infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. The antibody test does not look for the active virus but checks whether your immune system has responded to the infection.
  • How the sample is taken- It is tested by drawing your blood sample.
  • Time taken to get results- Results are delivered either the same day or in 1-3 days.
  • Is another test needed– Sometimes a second COVID-19 antibody test might be needed for more accurate results.
  • What it shows- This test helps to find out if you were infected with the virus causing COVID-19 in the past and now have antibodies against it. 
  • What it cannot show- A COVID-19 antibody test may not show if you have an active virus in your body causing COVID-19 infection.
  • Cost of Antibody test- The cost of COVID-19 antibody test kit is somewhere between Rs 500-Rs 600.

When to seek medical help for COVID-19?

In case you have minor symptoms like mild cough and fever, consult a doctor online and provide details thoroughly and follow home quarantine. There is no obvious need to visit a doctor in person. Self-isolate and monitor your symptoms for the next 14 days. Do not ignore if your fever increases or if you get any serious symptoms such as breathlessness, mental confusion, or blue lips. These signs may warrant to seek medical help immediately. 

Bottom line

The best way to get a COVID-19 test is to contact your nearest healthcare provider who can guide you best on testing. Meanwhile, follow social distancing, wash your hands regularly, and avoid touching your face.

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