Philippine Interior Secretary, Eduardo Ano, has tested positive for the coronavirus again, five months after an initial diagnosis
The minister was first diagnosed with COVID-19 in March but did not show any signs of the disease at the time.
Over the weekend, he said he returned a positive test after experiencing flu-like symptoms last week.
Health experts are currently analysing Ano’s symptoms, his previous positive test, and laboratory results to see if this is a second infection.
“Let’s not call it a re-infection. The scientific community has not yet accepted that a re-infection occurs,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire cautioned.
Research has shown that people infected with coronavirus build up antibodies starting about a week after infection or the onset of symptoms. But scientists are still unsure whether the body systematically builds up enough immunity to ward off a new attack by the virus or, if it does, how long such immunity lasts.
Some studies have shown that patients who recover from coronavirus may lose their immunity within months or even weeks.
Philippine’s coronavirus caseload has surged above 160,000 — the highest in Southeast Asia — with more than 2,600 deaths. More than a quarter of the infections remain active.