Nearly 300 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 a second time after initially recovering from the virus are possibly non-contagious, according to South Korean health officials.
A study by the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) released preliminary findings Tuesday. According to the study, the epidemiological and contact investigations have been completed for 285 (63.8%) of the total 447 “re-positive” cases in South Korea as of May 15.
The findings of the study confirmed that no one who came into contact with any of the 285 reinfected patients contracted coronavirus. (RELATED: South Korea Has ‘Passed The Peak’ Of Its Coronavirus Outbreak And The Mortality Rate Is Low, Health Official Reports)
“From the 285 re-positive cases, a total of 790 contacts were identified (351=family; 439=others). From the monitoring of contacts, as of now, no case has been found that was newly confirmed from exposure during re-positive period alone,” the study reads, “59.6% were tested as a screening measure, and 37.5% were tested because of symptom onset. Of the 284 cases for which symptoms were investigated, 126 (44.7%) were symptomatic.”
Additionally, 96% of the 23 coronavirus relapse cases from which the first and second serum samples were obtained were found to be positive for neutralizing antibodies. This suggests that the majority of re-positive patients have antibodies which bind to infectious pathogens and disable them, according to Science Direct.
Even though the study is only preliminary, the KCDC deemed it safe for COVID-19 patients who tested re-positive to be discharged from hospitals as there is no proof that they can spread the disease. (RELATED: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Negotiates Deal With South Korea For 50,000 COVID-19 Test Kits)
“There have been no secondary infections from people who came in contact with the relapsed patients so far,” Yoon Tae-ho, a South Korean senior health ministry official, said in a Monday briefing.
“We have not found evidence that those cases are contagious,” he claimed in comments obtained by KXLF