Patients were put in quarantine in Daegu after being diagnosed with coronavirus
Tested positive again days after being released, according to Korean officials
Health chiefs in South Korea believe the virus may lay dormant in cells in body
But British experts say it’s more likely initial
By CONNOR BOYD HEALTH REPORTER
6 April 2020
Fifty-one patients who recovered from coronavirus in South Korea have tested positive again, raising fears the virus can be reactivated.
The patients – from the country’s worst-hit city, Daegu – were put in quarantine after being diagnosed with the virus, then tested positive again days being released.
Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said the virus was likely ‘reactivated’, rather than patients becoming re-infected.
Scientists at the Government-run health body believe the virus may lay dormant at undetectable levels in human cells.
They say that for unknown reasons the viral particles can then be reactivated – but it is unclear if patients become infectious again.
Experts say there is no evidence to prove that the virus acts in this way and studies in monkeys have actually shown the opposite.
And they say in cases where patients produce a positive result twice, it is normally because of a test giving the wrong result, which happens one in five times.
Paul Hunter, an infectious diseases professor at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline: ‘I agree that these will not be reinfections but I do not think these will be reactivations.
‘Personally I think the most likely explanation is that the clearance samples were false negative.’