Panama confirms first reinfection by COVID-19

Photos: Courtesy MINSA.
Editorial Dept. Voz de la Diaspora

Panamanian authorities confirmed on Saturday the first reinfection of COVID-19 in the country, after detection of infection in a patient six months after contracting the coronavirus.

“Panama becomes one of the first countries in the world to confirm a case of reinfection of COVID-19 in the same person 6 months after being infected ", stated the director of the Gorgas Commemorative Institute for Health Studies (Icges), Juan Pascale.

Around the world, fewer than 50 reinfection cases, said the scientist.

Virologist, Sandra López explained that since the middle of 2020 doctors reported possible cases of reinfection, after having a second wave of clinical symptoms of COVID-19, without achieving scientific confirmation.

Photos: Courtesy MINSA.

But nevertheless, to confirm a reinfection it is necessary to have old and current samples of the virus to carry out scientific studies including comparison and sequencing of the same.

López said that in the case in question they managed to sequence the first and second viruses, determining that even though they are of the same lineage, have 20 distinct mutations.

The second virus has 10 changes in proteins, "This indicates that there is reinfection because coronaviruses are genetically different", added the scientist.

Photos: Courtesy MINSA.

To confirm a case of reinfection, patients must meet some special criteria that allow ruling out that it is not a “persistence” of the first virus, since it is possible for a person to remain with the same until 6 months, although "they are exceptional cases", explained Dr. Alexander Martínez.

Panama is the Central American nation with the incidence of coronavirus infections confirmed with 336,037 accumulated cases up to 20 February, of which 5,727 passed away, according to the Ministry of Health.

Photos: Courtesy MINSA.