Reinfection or Reactivation of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2: A Systematic Review

Xiujuan Tang, Salihu S. Musa, Shi Zhao, Daihai He

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


As the pandemic continues, individuals with re-detectable positive (RP) SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA among recovered COVID-19 patients have raised public health concerns. It is imperative to investigate whether the cases with re-detectable positive (RP) SARS-CoV-2 might cause severe infection to the vulnerable population. In this work, we conducted a systematic review of recent literature to investigate reactivation and reinfection among the discharged COVID-19 patients that are found positive again. Our study, consisting more than a total of 113,715 patients, indicates that the RP-SARS-CoV-2 scenario occurs plausibly due to reactivation, reinfection, viral shedding, or testing errors. Nonetheless, we observe that previously infected individuals have significantly lower risk of being infected for the second time, indicating that reactivation or reinfection of SARS-CoV-2 likely have relatively less impact in the general population than the primary infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number663045
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2021


  • COVID-19
  • pandemic
  • re-detectable positive
  • reactivation
  • reinfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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