Last month, there was a rather worrying report out of South Korea that suggested that patients who recover from the COVID-19 virus could see the virus “reactivate” within the host’s body, effectively meaning that they haven’t exactly been cured. However, there is some good news on that front.
This is because after spending a few more weeks studying the issue, researchers are now claiming that these so-called reinfections could be nothing more than a false positive. The reason why these recovered patients continued to test positive is because while they have been cured, there are still bits of the virus lingering in their system, thus causing tests to return positive results.
The good news is that these lingering bits of virus are not infectious, meaning that these recovered patients will not be able to infect others around them, despite being tested positive. South Korea uses a RT-PCR test that looks for the COVID-19’s genetic material during the test. While considered to be one of the more accurate ways of testing for the virus, it isn’t perfect.
According to Seol Dai-wu, an expert in vaccine development at Seoul’s Chung-Ang University, “The RT-PCR machine itself cannot distinguish an infectious viral particle versus a non-infectious virus particle, as the test simply detects any viral component.” Before we start celebrating, this is only a theory for now and researchers are still gathering evidence to help support it.