Health Desk- 08 May 2020: Coronavirus patients declared recovered who later test positive for the disease are still expelling dead lung cells rather than getting a new infection, the World Health Organization (WHO) told AFP on Wednesday.
South Korean health officials reported more than 100 such cases in April, raising concerns that patients who had recovered could become reinfected. But after weeks of research, they now say that such test results appear to be "false positives" caused by lingering - but likely not infectious - bits of the virus. South Korea had reported more than 350 such cases as of Wednesday, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
"We are aware that some patients test positive after they clinically recover," a WHO spokesperson told AFP, without making specific reference to the South Korean cases.
"From what we currently know -- and this is based on very recent data -- it seems they these patients are expelling leftover materials from their lungs, as part of the recovery phase."
The research shows that people infected with the new coronavirus build up antibodies starting a week or so after infection or the onset of symptoms.