6 June 2024

Virologists have been trying to identify why 20% of the Thai population have not been infected with COVID-19, despite being in close contact with the infected or at high risk of becoming infected, according to Dr. Yong Poovorawan, head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine of Chulalongkorn University.

Blood tests and background checks (excluding on those under two) show that about 20% have not been infected. These people, known collectively as “Novid”, were in close contact with family members or fellow office workers who were infected, but they remained free from the virus, he said.

Some of this group might have taken serious precautionary measures, which saved them from becoming infected, but there were others who were exposed to many infected people, yet they were not infected, said Dr. Yong, and we need to find out why.

Dr. Yong said that virologists are focusing their studies on the genetic makeup of “Novid” people, citing cases of the people who have a particular genetic makeup which makes them immune to HIV.

“We don’t know yet whether there are genes that resist COVID-19 and their mechanism or the immunity was caused by vaccination,” said the virologist, adding that it is possible that members of the “Novid” group who were infected did not develop any symptoms or their infection could not be detected by current testing methods.