UK scientists warn reinfections with COVID-19 “to be expected”

The British government’s science advisers have warned that reinfections with COVID-19 are “to be expected” as the virus continues to spread in the country, local media reported Saturday.

The conclusion by researchers on the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium is based on what is known about people’s immunity to other coronaviruses that cause the common cold, according to a report by The Guardian newspaper on Saturday.

It was unclear how soon people who had recovered from COVID-19 could become vulnerable to reinfection, but emerging reports showed the timeframe was “relatively short”, said the report.

Currently, there are seven types of coronavirus that infect humans. Among them, Sars, Mers and Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 are considered the deadliest. The four others cause common colds and can reinfect people six months after they have recovered from the same virus, according to the report.

Nearly two dozen cases of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 reinfections emerged across the globe, but the real number is thought to be far higher, since most reinfections are not recorded, said the report.

Another 16,171 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 705,428, according to official figures released Saturday.

The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 150 to 43,579, the data showed.

Britain’s coronavirus reproduction number, also known as the R number, has edged up slightly, the latest government figures showed Friday.

The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said the R number is now between 1.3 and 1.5, up from last week which was between 1.2 and 1.5. If the R number is above one, it means the number of cases will increase exponentially.

To bring life back to normal, countries, such as Britain, China, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.