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The possibility of 2nd wave COVID-19 pandemic could be more destructive, S. Korean expert warns

A second wave of the novel coronavirus in the United States could be even more destructive because it will likely collide with the beginning of flu season.

"When I commented yesterday that there was a possibility of the fall, winter, next fall and winter could be more difficult, more complicated, when we had two respiratory illnesses circulating at the same time, influenza and the coronavirus 19."

Health authorities in South Korea has also warned of a second wave of pandemic hitting the nation in the fall and winter and asked citizens to get their flu shots and receive vaccination on recommended immunization schedule.

A second wave pandemic of the coronavirus and the discovery of neutralizing antibodies in recovered patients. The topic of our News In-Depth with Dr. Lee Hoon-sang, Professor of Global Health Security at Yonsei University Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Lee, it's great to have you back.

South Korean health officials are examining recent research that indicates about half of recovered coronavirus patients retain traces of COVID-19 in their systems after developing immunity, although the risk of transmission to other people remains low.

"The KCDC conducted an analysis of 25 COVID-19 patients to find out if COVID-19 virus can be detected even after a patient has recovered and produced antibodies. In all 25 patients, neutralizing antibodies were found. Among them, respiratory samples from 12 patients tested positive for COVID-19 from PCR testing although they had formed neutralizing antibodies.
Based on this finding, our presumption at this point is that in some patients, the viruses are not completely removed and remain in the body even after neutralizing antibodies have been produced."

Let's first delve into all these terminologies. Virus neutralizing antibodies. What exactly are those? Why is this finding significant?

Antibodies against the coronavirus. The KCDC said all 25 of the 25 patients tested had formed neutralizing antibodies. How can we interpret this?

Does that mean once you've contacted and recovered from COVID-19, it's less likely that you'll be infected with this virus again?

We've been seeing recovered patients test positive again for COVID-19. To what can this be attributed?

The United States has seen the first rollout of blood tests for coronavirus antibodies, widely heralded as crucial tools to assess the reach of the pandemic, restart the economy and reintegrate society.
Reports show a very small percentage had formed antibodies despite its massive number of COVID-19 patients in the population. Does that mean the idea of creating herd immunity just doesn't work?

Then, there is that warning from health authorities for a possible second wave of the coronavirus sometime this fall and winter. Some say when it hits the second time around, it'll be a lot more serious.
What are your thoughts?

The entire world is waiting for treatments and vaccines as scientists scramble for discovery.
One disappointing news on that front has been anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.
Tell us about that.

It appears the situation in South Korea is more or less under control with the country reporting roughly ten or fewer new daily cases in the last few days. But, there is always that concern that a cluster infection could break out especially with a number of public holidays coming up.
What are some precautionary measures that you recommend for the average people in South Korea?

Dr. Lee Hoon-sang, Professor of Global Health Security at Yonsei University Graduate School of Public Health, many thanks as always for your insights this evening. We appreciate it.

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