Threat Assessment Brief: Reinfection with SARS-CoV-2: considerations for public health response

Risk assessment

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Reinfection with SARS-CoV: considerations for public health response: ECDC; 2020

Cases with suspected or possible reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 have been recently reported in different countries. In many of these cases, it is uncertain if the individual’s Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test remained positive for a long period of time following the first episode of infection or whether it represents a true reinfection.

The aim of this Threat Assessment Brief is to elucidate the characteristics and frequency of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 reinfection in the literature, to summarise the findings about SARS-CoV-2 infection and antibody development, and to consider the following questions:
• How can a SARS-CoV-2 reinfection be identified?
• How common are SARS-CoV-2 reinfections?
• What is known about the role of reinfection in onward transmission?
• What do these observations mean for acquired immunity?

Finally, options for public health response are proposed.