Why Experts Think Some People are Retesting Positive for Coronavirus

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Posted: Apr 13, 2020 5:15 PM
Why Experts Think Some People are Retesting Positive for Coronavirus

Source: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Ninety-one people in South Korea believed to have been cured of COVID-19 have tested positive again, according to Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts are trying to figure how this could have happened, and a few theories seem to be sticking.

Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, medical director of CityMD and a Fox News contributor, chalks many of those potential reinfections up to human error. It's possible, she explained on Monday's "Outnumbered," that the medical workers who administered the original tests did not take enough specimens in their swabs, potentially resulting in false negatives. David Kelvin, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Dalhousie University, has also suggested that faulty tests kits could be to blame.

That's the best case scenario. Another potential explanation for the repeat positives is that the virus could be reactivating, having never exited the body in the first place. Or, worse yet, it could be another strain that is emerging. Dr. Nesheiwat "hopes and prays" that the coronavirus will prove to be a one-time illness like chickenpox and mono.

For those who have tested positive for a second time, she explained, they are treated just like any other patient and have to restart their 14-day quarantine.

Nesheiwat has stressed the importance of antibody testing and its increased accuracy in diagnosing COVID-19. She recently tried out a newly developed test herself.

"We have to make sure we treat the patient and not the test," Dr. Nesheiwat reasoned.

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