Sunday, Jan 17 2021
All Cities
Choose Your City
'What happens in Sibera stays in Siberia...unless it is covered by The Siberian Times'

Virology professor hits back at Russian chief doctor’s claim of no Covid-19 reinfection cases

By The Siberian Times reporter
30 November 2020

Dr Alexander Chepurnov confirms he twice contracted the virus and fears wave of repeat victims.

Dr Chepurnov said that while he seriously wished people not to get infected more than once with Covid-19, a more attentive approach to the matter of reinfection was urgently needed. Picture: The Siberian Times

A senior Russian scientist who risked his life by deliberately exposing himself to Covid-19 patients in order to test the strength of his virus antibodies has rebuked Russia’s chief sanitary doctor Anna Popova for closing her eyes to the issue of reinfections in the country. 

A former researcher at the Vector Centre of Virology and Biotechnology, and current senior researcher at the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Professor Chepurnov, 69, insists he suffered coronavirus twice - in February and September 2020. 

The second infection was deliberate, as Chepurnov used himself as a guinea pig to check how long the body’s immune response lasted after his first bout of Covid-19 contracted during a French skiing holiday.

He worked with coronavirus patients without a mask, and together with colleagues recorded the ‘behaviour’ of his antibodies. 

Three months after he recovered from his initial infection, the antibodies started to decline.

Six months after the recovery, at the end of September, he was sick with Covid-19 again.

Virology professor hits back at Russian chief doctor’s claim of ‘no’ Covid-19 reinfection cases 


Virology professor hits back at Russian chief doctor’s claim of ‘no’ Covid-19 reinfection cases 
Doctor Alexander Chepurnov. Pictures: The Siberian Times


The virology professor’s claim of having been through Covid-19 twice in half a year was dismissed by Popova, who said that in Russia there was not a single confirmed case of coronavirus reinfection. 

‘Alexander Chepurnov is an elderly man, and I can only pass him my wishes for good health,’ she said. 

‘To expose himself to patients while not wearing a mask is anyway nonsense for a doctor, regardless of whether he was sick in the past or not. 

‘We have investigated this situation and were unable to find evidence that this was actually a re-infection. 

'Overall in the world there were only 24 cases when people were catching the virus for the second time. 

'There was not a single case of this in Russia', the top medical official said. 

Dr Chepurnov said that while he seriously wished people not to get infected more than once with Covid-19, a more attentive approach to the matter of reinfection was urgently needed. 

‘I am afraid that Anna Popova is mistaken’, he told The Siberian Times. 

‘There were no PCR diagnostics when I got sick the first time, only those who got Covid-19 in Italy were tested for it, and I was returning from France. This is why my first case wasn’t confirmed by PCR test - but I personally made enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, ELISA, which is why I know that I did have Covid-19 antibodies. 

‘I am a virologist. And I am absolutely certain that my first illness was Covid-19.’

Virology professor hits back at Russian chief doctor’s claim of ‘no’ Covid-19 reinfection cases 


Virology professor hits back at Russian chief doctor’s claim of ‘no’ Covid-19 reinfection cases 


Virology professor hits back at Russian chief doctor’s claim of ‘no’ Covid-19 reinfection cases 
Chief sanitary doctor Anna Popova pictured during a meeting with president Putin. Pictures: Kremlin.ru


Alexander Chepurnov also said that he heard about other cases elsewhere in Russia from colleagues, including among some regional governors. 

'This is an incredibly important issue, and we must investigate it. I might be completely wrong, and these were indeed just individual cases. Or possibly I am right, and we are about to face a wave of mass reinfections.’ 

The outspoken professor has also criticised Russia’s second vaccine developed by Vector Centre of Virology and Biotechnology, registered in October and currently at post-registration trials. 

‘I know that I have irritated them badly by being very critical about the quality of the Vector vaccine. I am absolutely certain that a peptide vaccine is not effective and cannot be effective’, Chepurnov said.

On Friday Russian Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko confirmed there were cases of Covid-19 reinfections in Russia. 

Add your comment

We welcome a healthy debate, but do not accept offensive or abusive comments. Please also read 'Siberian Times' Privacy Policy

Name

Town/Country

Add your comments

The views expressed in the comments above are those of our readers. 'Siberian Times' reserves the right to pre-moderate some comments.

Control code*

Type the code

* obligatory


News

Business

The Bank of Russia official exchange rates of foreign currencies
EUR89.25USD73.55GBP100.36Other...