New Dehli: A student from Kerala’s Thrissur enrolled at a medical college in China, who was the first Indian to test positive for Covid-19 in January 2020 after returning to India following the outbreak of the pandemic, has been infected again, a health official said on Tuesday. She is, however, asymptomatic, the official added.
“She has been tested positive and under quarantine at her home. None of the family members have tested positive so far,” said Thrissur district medical officer K J Reena. She said re-infection is nothing new, and some of the health workers have been infected twice.
The student was found to have been reinfected after she was retested as she planned to travel to Delhi. Her family said she is showing no visible symptoms and that she has also been administered the first Covid-19 vaccine dose.
The student, who has been unable to return to China as Beijing is yet to allow Indian students back into the country because of the pandemic, spent almost a month in hospital while undergoing treatment for Covid-19 in 2020. Two of her friends, who travelled with her from Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic in China, were also later tested positive.
The student last year told she never thought she will be infected but once she was diagnosed with the infection, her main concern was her family members and others who she met after returning home. She spent 24 days at an isolation ward from January 27 to February 20, wearing personal protective equipment. She said her medical background helped her overcome the trauma.
An Indian Council of Medical Research study from January to October last year estimated 4.5% re-infection cases. Researchers at New Delhi’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) found over 10% of the people were likely exposed to the virus again during the April wave of infections in Delhi. The findings were based on the sequential analysis of samples from 1,000 people across 10 locations. The study found that the antibodies in them were mostly declining before they shot up again. It found that 80% of the participants with antibodies against Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, in June, after the fourth wave of infections (and the second nationwide) in Delhi.