Quick Questions: Can you get COVID-19 twice?

Much more research is needed before reaching any scientific conclusions regarding immunity for COVID-19. It appears that it is unlikely that someone could become reinfected with the virus in a short period of time (e.g., 3 months after their initial infection). However, there are several accounts of reinfection that occured 3 months or more after patients had fully recovered from their first viral infection. 

  • One possible reason for that reinfection might occur is viral mutation. Viruses, like ones that cause the common cold or the flu, can mutate. Coronaviruses, like the ones that cause COVID-19 mutate more slowly than the virus that causes flu. Most of the mutations of the virus so far appear to be small changes. There is one mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that seems to have made it more transmissible but not cause more serious disease. There is the possibility that the virus could mutate into different strains that people’s immune systems have not been exposed to during their first infection. However, at this point, more research is necessary in order to understand how viral mutations affect individuals’ susceptibility to reinfection of COVID-19.

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