- US man gets infected by COVID-19 twice
- The 25 year old get infected with 2 different genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus
- It was found that the 2nd bout of infection could be far more severe
The first study which investigates the case of a man from the United States of America who had contracted the novel Coronavirus twice found that the re-infected can occur swiftly and also the 2nd round of infection could be much more severe.
The research which was published in the Lancet Medical Journal examined the case of a 25-year-old man living in Nevada, US, who contracted two different genetic variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in under two months. He tested negative twice in between, which means that he is unlikely to have suffered a single prolonged infection.
The findings come as the President of the U.S. Donald Trump said he is immune to the virus after a single encounter. Any new findings on the resistance can also have implications for a vaccine as drugmakers from all around the globe are racing toward the finish line.
One of the biggest mystery of this global pandemic is the degree of protective immunity a person gets after a Covid-19 infection.
As of now, 5 cases of reinfections have been recorded since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic which was towards the end of 2019. One other patient in Ecuador also had the 2nd round of illness worse than the initial contraction of COVID-19.
What is frightening is that researchers and scientists cannot dismiss the possibility of people with no symptoms being infected multiple times without knowing it.
The 25 year old man from Nevada had first tested positive for the virus mid-April after experiencing a headache, coughing, nausea and diarrhoea. He had no underlying conditions which could’ve worsened his illness. He isolated himself and saw improvement in health by the end of the month.
However, at the end of May, though, the man consulted at an urgent care centre with fever and dizziness in addition to the symptoms he had experienced the prior month. Five days later he was hospitalized with shortness of breath and given oxygen before testing positive for Covid-19 once more.
The scientists sequenced the genomes of the patient’s virus samples and found significant differences, suggesting that the man was infected by two distinct versions of the coronavirus.
The researchers said that they could not conclude as to why the 2nd round of infection was worse. It is possible that the patient was exposed to a higher dose of virus the second time, that the version he encountered was more virulent or even that the presence of antibodies from the first infection was to blame in a twist observed with another coronavirus.
It’s even possible, however remains unlikely, that there was a continuous infection with some sort of deactivation-reactivation dynamic, the researchers wrote.
Mark Pandori, Director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory who is also the lead author of this study said, “There are still many unknowns,”.
He added, “Our findings signal that a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection may not necessarily protect against future infection. The possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for our understanding of Covid-19 immunity, especially in the absence of an effective vaccine.”