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What's My Risk of COVID-19 Reinfection if I Have Antibodies?

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Published on August 25, 2020

What Precautions Do I Need to Take If I've Already Had Coronavirus?

It is likely that a positive COVID-19 antibody test does indicate immunity, but this is not known for certain. Dr. Anthony Mato from Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NYC, joins Patient Power Co-founder, Andrew Schorr to discuss the risk of reinfection in a CLL patient that has already had COVID-19 and what precautions should still be taken even if you have been previously diagnosed with COVID-19.

This is a Patient Power program. We thank AbbVie Inc. and Genentech, Inc. for their support. These organizations have no editorial control, and Patient Power is solely responsible for program content.

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Transcript | What's My Risk of COVID-19 Reinfection if I Have Antibodies?

COVID-19 Reinfection Risk for CLL Patients

Dr. Mato:

One thing I will emphasize about the antibody tests, particularly some of the commercial tests that are out there, is just because you have a positive antibody, doesn't mean that that's a neutralizing antibody where you can't get an infection. So antibody does not automatically confer immunity because of the fact that it just hasn't been studied, we don't know whether making antibodies allows a person to not be reinfected. We suspect that, but it's not a guarantee that that's the case.

And so there they give guidance for prior exposure, they suggest maybe likely some level of immunity, but that's about all you can get out of an antibody test at the particular moment.

Andrew Schorr:

Have you seen it where somebody had COVID earlier and then developed it again? There's been a debate about whether you never really got over it and it rears its head, or is it a second case?

Dr. Mato:

I've never seen a case yet where I'm convinced is a second case. I've had a few patients who've had lingering COVID where it's gotten a little better and then come back, and I'm guessing that that's what happened. I've never seen truly any case myself where I have firm proof that there's been reinfection.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.


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