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If I’ve already had the coronavirus, can I get it again?

U.S. & World

This electron microscope image made available and color-enhanced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Md., shows Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, orange, isolated from a patient. University of Hong Kong scientists claim to have the first evidence of someone being reinfected with the virus that causes COVID-19. They said Monday, Aug. 24, 2020 that genetic tests show a 33-year-old man returning to Hong Kong from a trip to Spain in mid-August had a different strain of the coronavirus than the one he’d previously been infected with in March. (NIAID/National Institutes of Health via AP)

If I’ve already had the coronavirus, can I get it again?

It’s possible, but such cases seem to be rare.

It’s not unusual to develop some immunity to a virus after an infection, since our bodies are generally better at recognizing and fighting off bugs they’ve encountered before. And that seems to be the case with the coronavirus as well, though scientists are still trying to figure out how long any protection might last.

Some reinfections have been confirmed, but two new studies suggest that’s very unusual.

In one, only two out of 1,265 health workers in the United Kingdom who were previously infected ended up testing positive again for the coronavirus in the following six months. In another study of people in the U.S., only 0.3% of people who had been infected tested positive for the virus over the next several months – around the same rate of positivity as the U.K study.

The findings bode well for the COVID-19 vaccines that are being rolled out, which trigger the kind of immune responses that the studies found protective.

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The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org.

Read previous Viral Questions:

Can employers make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory?

Will children be able to get COVID-19 vaccines?

Which winter sports are safest to play during the pandemic?

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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