Reinfection risk of novel coronavirus (COVID-19): A systematic ‎review of current evidence

World J Virol. 2020 Dec 15;9(5):79-90. doi: 10.5501/wjv.v9.i5.79.


Background: There is recently a concern regarding the reinfection and reactivation of previously reCoVered coronavirus disease 2019 (CoVID-19) patients.

Aim: To summarize the recent findings and reports of CoVID-19 reinfection in patients previously reCoVered from the disease.

Methods: This study was a systematic review of current evidence conducted in August 2020. The authors studied the probable reinfection risk of novel coronavirus (CoVID-19). We performed a systematic search using the keywords in online databases. The investigation adheres to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) checklist to ensure the reliability and validity of this study and results.

Results: We reviewed 31 studies. Eight studies described reCoVered patients with reinfection. Only one study reported reinfected patients who died. In 26 studies, there was no information about the status of the patients. Several studies indicated that reinfection is not probable and that post-infection immunity is at least temporary and short.

Conclusion: Based on our review, we concluded that a positive polymerase chain reaction retest could be due to several reasons and should not always be considered as reinfection or reactivation of the disease. Most relevant studies in positive retest patients have shown relative and probably temporary immunity after the reCoVery of the disease.

Keywords: CoVID-19; Coronavirus; Postinfection; Reactivation; Reinfection; SARS-CoV-2.