It is not a foregone conclusion that all young, healthy people will survive coronavirus disease.
So prof. Adrian Puren, division head of the Center for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (Nios), warned on Friday during a live broadcast on Facebook.
He was in talks with Sinenhlanhla Jimoh, Nios’ senior communications officer, among other things about the possibility of picking up Covid-19 more than once.
Asked if people with underlying illnesses take longer to recover, Puren said it is not a foregone conclusion that an older person with underlying illnesses will die, although such a person’s risk is high. And the risk remains high, whether you have one, two or three underlying conditions, he stressed.
However, the opposite is also true: “Although you are healthy, you can die. There is that risk. That does not mean you are going to walk out of the intensive care unit if you are healthy. We are still not sure what all the factors are that ensure that a healthy individual survives. ”
A genetic condition can play a critical role, he explained.
“You may think you are healthy, but a critical genetic condition (such as an inability to fight infections properly) can lead to your death. We have also seen that there is some connection with blood groups; we are not sure how significant it is, ”he said.
How do you define ‘recovery’ and how long does it take to recover from Covid-19?
Your body will show an immune response, Puren says. “Specific cells will target the body. It’s the beginning of your immune response. ”
According to the available research, your body will have eliminated this virus within five to seven days and by day ten it is safe to say you have recovered.
“Fever is a good indicator of recovery. If you have not had a fever within 24 hours (on day ten) or had to take medicine for fever, we can say that you have ‘recovered’. You then do not have to be tested again, ”says Puren.
What if you still show symptoms after ten days? Is it safe to go back to work?
Puren says it is not uncommon for you to have the flu or an infection to show more symptoms afterwards.
He mentions that a person who has recovered from Covid-19 may cough for a while and will not immediately regain his ability to taste or smell.
This is because the virus has infected the cells (in your mouth, nose and throat) and those cells need to regrow. However, you will not be able to infect more people, he explains.
Can people who had Covid-19 get it again?
Puren says from common colds that can occur several times a year, it is clear that one’s resistance to those viruses is declining.
But there is still no clarity about the new coronavirus.
“We do know that most people have built up antibodies – neutralizing antibodies – because it is the antibodies that get rid of the virus,” says Puren.
They also know there are T-cell responses.
“These cells are also important because they also attack the virus.”
According to Puren, there is evidence that resistance to the coronavirus can be long-lasting. This can take up to 90 days.
However, there is also evidence of individuals whose resistance lasted only 30 days.
“There is still no definite evidence that people can be re-infected. If they detect ribonucleic acid (RNA) (in a person), do they detect the culturable virus? If so, you have built up a certain resistance, ”he says.
According to him, however, the presence of RNA is unlikely to indicate a viable virus that could make you sick.
It is also not yet clear whether a person with RNA can spread the virus.
Puren advises such a person to first rule out all other causes of symptoms before reconsidering infection.
“It is therefore important to adhere to those non-pharmaceutical agents (masks, healthy distance, hand cleaners), even if you have recovered. . . That’s all we have now. ”