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COVID-19: Can you catch it twice?

Oman Wednesday 14/October/2020 19:25 PM
By: Times News Service
COVID-19: Can you catch it twice?
There is a possibility that one could get COVID-19 again with a strain of the virus whose genetic makeup differs from that to which the infected person was previously exposed.

Muscat: Patients who’ve recovered from COVID-19 can still be infected by a different strain of the virus, an infectious diseases specialist at the Ministry of Health has said.

Asking people to be cautious against contracting the disease, Dr Abdullah Al Qayoodhi, a consultant on infectious diseases and head of the Infection Prevention and Control Section at the Ministry, said, “There is a possibility that one could get COVID-19 again with a strain of the virus whose genetic makeup differs from that to which the infected person was previously exposed.”

“Everyone should understand this, as some believe that if they are infected with COVID-19 virus once, they will not be infected again,” added Al Qayoodhi, who is also involved with the Directorate General of Disease Surveillance and Control.

“The people who believe this are also normally those who are indifferent to the dangers of the virus, and do not adhere to the precautionary measures by not wearing a mask, adhering to physical distancing, a refusal to avoid gatherings, or sterilising their hands.”

The strains of the virus in Oman evolved from the original B strain, and include subcategories such as O, V, L, S, G, RG, and HG. Other variants present in the country are G, GH and GR, the last of which is responsible for community transmission.

According to data from the Ministry of Health, as of October 14, Oman recorded a total of 107,213 cases of COVID-19, and 93,557 recoveries, reflecting a recovery rate of 87.2 per cent. 1,053 people in the country have died from the disease.

The doctor confirmed that there is more than one genetic strain of the virus in the country. The dominant variant causing COVID-19 in Oman is the one that came from China and passed through Iran.

“We know that one of the complications from COVID-19 is that it causes infections that could also occur in the brain, or strokes due to blood clotting. There are other complications such as diabetes, blood pressure, kidney failure and others,” he added.

“There have been cases of some people who were infected with the coronavirus, but then did suffer from other diseases such as diabetes, pressure, kidney failure, and stroke after recovering from the disease. One of the reasons is that their genes are vulnerable to these diseases, so when they have infections or triggers for these genes, they develop the corresponding disease,” he confirmed.