Q. Does positive PCR after initial COVID-19 confirm reinfection?

Answered by
Dr. Nagaraj
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 03, 2021

Hello doctor,

Please tell me if this is my second infection with COVID-19, whether or not I have been contagious for the past five days. If this COVID could be indicative of a larger health problem. What bloodwork or tests you think might prove useful to understanding my health? I was very sick for two weeks, and I tested positive for COVID antibodies.

First positive rapid antigen means that I was recently exposed to the virus and that my immune system was responding to that exposure. The negative rapid molecular shows that there was no COVID RNA actively reproducing in my system. I was not actively infected.

We have the positive PCR because I had been recently re-exposed, the antibodies from the old infection started fighting the virus. Those antibodies carry enough of the genetic material of COVID so that they can produce a positive result when combined with the antigens from my recent exposure.

And finally, the last PCR, according to the doctors I have spoken with today, many things could cause a false positive on this test, but these are the most likely. Because the infection would have been so recent, it means that those antibodies are still working to fight off the new antigens. Or that I was infected sometime last weekend, and this is my second case of the virus.

When I was 14, I was diagnosed with aquagenic urticaria. I am prone to infections (eye, gums, UTI, and yeast infections since childhood) and am frequently sick. I suspect I have an autoimmune disease. Please help me.



Welcome to

I can understand your concern. First thing, second COVID infection cannot be ruled out. Earlier infection with COVID does not completely protect against the second infection. Still, the severity definitely will be reduced as you already have some antibodies in your body due to earlier infection. You will remain contagious if you are infected with COVID, as the spread is through aerosols. Although you may be protected to an extent (due to earlier infection), you still can transmit the infection to others.

COVID infection or rather repeat infection do not reflect a major health problem in you. We all are victims of the ongoing pandemic, and no one is immune to it. Anyone comes in contact or exposed to a virus he/she will be infected.

I am not sure if you are diagnosed with aquagenic urticaria or you are suspecting it. It is one of the causes of the rare condition that is unknown, but few hypotheses are proposed. It is a kind of hypersensitivity reaction.

Considering your age, if you are feeling repeatedly sick, there is the possibility that your immune system is weak. There are various reasons, including the one that runs in the family and deficiency of certain immune components that help fight against infections. An immunologist is a right person who can help you.

I hope this helps.

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