The World Health Organization (WHO) have confirmed there are “clearly” two types of coronavirus, after a man was reinfected after testing positive four months after his first infection.
Out of 23m confirmed cases globally of coronavirus this is the first known case. Dr Margaret Harris told the BBC that the WHO do expect reinfection can happen.
Dr Harris said that this case in Hong Kong brings a warning of how long there can be immunity from the virus before a person can be reinfected.
She said, “So this is the first time that we have seen it is very clearly two different versions of the same coronavirus.
“What is important here is that this is one case out of more than 23m.
“So, while we did expect that it could happen, it is not clear that this is something that is likely to happen to many people.
“We would expect given the quality of surveillance and the study in Hong Kong just shows what a high level of quality surveillance they are doing there.”
Dr Harris added, “So, given the quality of surveillance you would have expected it see many more cases if this was happening a lot.
“But what it also tells us is what we long expected, we do not know enough about how long immunity lasts or whether it lasts a long time in many people or most people.
“So those questions remain open.”
Professor Hung from the University of Hong Kong told the BBC’s Today Programme: “Even though you have an infection before, it doesn’t mean you are immunised for life.
“You are still at risk of having a second, or even a third infection.
“As a result, vaccination is very important and also the infection control measures, including masking and also social distancing still remains really important.”