In a curious case of the Chinese virus, 26-year-old woman, Dr Shrushti Halari from Mumbai’s Mulund has tested positive for the virus thrice since June 2020, twice after she got vaccinated this year.
Dr Shrushti Halari who did her MBBS from Ningxia Medical University, China, in an interview to The Times of India said, “The reinfections are confusing.”
Her swab samples have been collected for genome sequencing as a part of a citywide study on infections occurring post vaccination. Dr Halari’s entire family- her mother, father and her 21-year-old brother who have co-morbidities also tested positive for the Chinese virus for the first time this month.
Probable reasons for reinfection
As per doctors, there is no definitive cause as to how and why Dr Halari was infected thrice. However, some probable reasons include a new SARS2 variant, her immunity levels or an incorrect diagnostic report.
Mehul Thakkar treating Dr Halari suspected it to be a case of a faulty report. “It could be a case of an incorrect RT-PCR report or that the second infection in May got reactivated in July,” Thakkar informed.
Dr Nerges Mistry from the Foundation for Medical Research (FMR) said that the reinfection could be due to autoimmune conditions as well. “One other reason could be emergence of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus,” she added.
Dr Halari’s Covid-19 case history
The doctor was on Covid duty at the Veer Savarkar Hospital in Mulund when she first contracted the virus on June 17 last year. It was a mild infection the first time.
Dr Halari along with her family took her the first dose of vaccination on March 8 this year and the second dose on April 29.
However, exactly a month later she tested positive for the virus again on May 29 this year. This time too the symptoms were mild allowing her to recover well at home.
The virus struck again, this time affecting her entire family leading to hospitalization. “This third time I suffered more…my family and I were hospitalised, needed Remdesivir. My brother and mother have diabetes and my father has hypertension and cholesterol problems. My brother had difficulty breathing, so he was kept on oxygen for two days,” Dr Halari said.
Reinfections, especially amongst doctors serving the Covid-19 ward have been reported from across the world.
“I have seen patients who became Covid positive after both doses…patients of all ages can have breakthrough infections…but vaccines reduce the effect and help the patient recover quickly,” said Dr Behram Pardiwala, chief of Internal Medicine at Mumbai’s Wockhardt Hospital.