A 26-year-old doctor has tested positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease thrice in the past 13 months — twice after receiving both doses of a vaccine against the virus. Swab samples of Dr Shrusthi Halari, who worked at the Mulund Covid Centre in the city, have been collected for genome sequencing as part of a study into occurrence of the infection after being completely inoculated.
According to reports, the doctor’s family members, including her father, mother and brother, all of whom have comorbidities, have also contracted the virus. All of them got infected for the first time this month, after receiving both doses of the vaccine.
“The reinfections are confusing,” Dr Halari, adding that ahead of being infected for the third time she was mostly at home preparing for post-graduation with very little chances of being exposed to the virus.
The doctor was on Covid duty at the Veer Savarkar Hospital in Mumbai when she tested positive for the first time on June 17 last year with a mild infection. Her entire family received the first dose of Covishield vaccine on March 8 this year and the second one on April 29.
A month later – on May 29 – Dr Halari tested positive for the second time, again with mild symptoms and she got treated at home.
On July 11, the doctor contracted the disease again and this time, it was the entire family. All of them have been hospitalised and being treated with Remdesivir.
“I suffered more the third time. My brother and mother have diabetes and my father has hypertension and cholesterol problems. My brother had difficulty breathing, so he was kept on oxygen for two days,” Dr Halari was quoted as saying by NDTV. A test for Covid antibodies in the blood has also returned positive results.
While it is yet to be ascertained why and how the doctor got infected thrice, doctors said the reasons could range from variants of the virus, low immunity levels to an incorrect diagnosis, a report in Times of India said.
Speaking about the efficacy of the vaccines against the virus, doctors said the doses do not translate to immunity. Their benefit is that breakthrough infections (caused after inoculation) are milder, rarely require hospitalisation and very unlikely to be fatal.
Two studies — one byBrihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and another by a private hospital — are being conducted to look into the causes of the reinfections.