“COVID-19 is a recent disease and at times it displays symptoms which no other viral infection does. While we are developing an understanding of the short and long-term impact on the body we now know that one may develop new symptoms six months to one year after recovering from COVID. The term given to this is long COVID,” said N.K. Arora, head, Operations Research Group which is part of the National Task Force set up by the Indian Council of Medical Research in response to COVID-19, speaking exclusively to The Hindu.
The studies have shown that the antibodies persist in the body for about three-nine months after being infected from Covid-19 thereby, preventing re-infections.
He said, “The current data from India and other countries indicate that re-infections are rare. However, in some cases, it may occur any time beyond three months after recovery from COVID-19. Vaccines provide protection against severe disease for a longer duration.”
Mubasheer Ali, senior internal medicine consultant, Apollo TeleHealth said that some patients may experience long-term effects of Covid. He said that long-term effects may include fatigue, respiratory symptoms, and neurological symptoms.
“This is long COVID and it refers to when people continue to experience symptoms of COVID-19 and do not fully recover for several weeks or months after the start of their symptoms. Although it is still unclear how many people have experienced long COVID, data from some COVID Symptom Study suggest that one in 10 people with the illness experience symptoms for three weeks or longer,” he said.
Sushant Chhabra, HOD, Emergency Medicine, Manipal Hospital, Delhi said that the virus strain B.1.617 is extremely infectious. He also shared that some patients who, who were infected with this strain were showing prolonged injuries to the lungs which were taking around four-five months for healthy recovery.
The doctor added, “There are many cases which we have observed in the last few days wherein patients have COVID-19 like symptoms but their RT-PCR tests are showing negative results. Irrespective, we are treating them as COVID-19 patients.”
According to him, the patients who recovered in October-November during the first wave of the pandemic are getting re-infected in the second wave.
He added, “The possibility of re-infection is always there in COVID-19 because their immunity is not a life-long thing. It generally stays for three-four months which is why patients end up getting re-infected.”