- Numerous people across the world have wondered if it is possible to contract the coronavirus more than once
- With just a single encounter with the virus already daunting, the concept of enduring it a second time has instilled fear in many citizens
- Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has shed some light on how the virus acts and if it is possible to contract it twice
In order to understand how your body interacts with the coronavirus, Dr Zweli Mkhize highlighted what 'immunology' means, explaining that:
"A pathogen is an agent that causes infection or ill health in the body. When a pathogen enters the body, the body creates antibodies which are specific to that pathogen in order to destroy it. This is the immunity the body builds against an infection."
The human body creates antibodies that specifically target any virus or bacteria causing infections. This allows the body to recover but importantly gives the body the ability to destroy the same pathogen if it re-enters the body.
Mkhize explained that scientists developing a vaccine would use features similar to the pathogen, allowing the body to be capable of destroying the live pathogens of the virus if it enters the body.
This concept is important when it comes to understanding the risk of becoming reinfected with Covid-19, with Mkhize elaborating:
"Those who get the Covid-19 virus will develop immunity once they have shed the virus from their body. The problem is that since Covid-19 is a new virus, this infection may have very severe effects on many people, and in many instances, may result in death."
Put simply, those who have already encountered and survived the virus have managed to build up immunity:
"Until you get the infection, you can't have immunity. The only ones who have immunity in this country are those who survived the infection. So everyone, the sooner you get the infection and dispose of it, the safer you are from future infection."
Briefly.co.za reported that, as the situation stands in SA, Mkhize had announced there are 3 465 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 58 fatalities.
Enjoyed reading our story? Download BRIEFLY's news app on Google Play now and stay up-to-date with major South African news!