- A new study found that a month after recovering from the first bout, a Nevada man was infected with COVID-19 for the second time.
- The case has a “significant” effect on how we perceive immunity, one of the authors told the BBC.
- The study noted that the 25-year-old man – who had no underlying condition – suffered worse symptoms for a second time.
- It was the first confirmed such in the US and only a handful worldwide. Other reinforcement cases have occurred in Belgium, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Ecuador.
- For more stories visit the Business Insider homepage.
A Nevada man who had already undergone a battle of COVID-19 was infected with worse symptoms a second time, doctors say.
They believe that this is the first documented case of revision in the US, a rare phenomenon that non-suggests that COVID-19 does not confer autoimmunity.
The 25-year-old case was reported in the peer-reviewed magazine The Lancet Infectious Disease, which described how the Washoe County man first found his symptoms on March 25.
Suffering from a sore throat, a cough, a headache, nausea and diarrhea, he joined a community testing program on 18 April and was found positive for coronavirus. He had no underlying condition or immune weaknesses. After remaining self-immolated for nine days, his symptoms recurred and he recovered.
He conducted two tests in May, both of which came negative. But two days after his second negative test, he began to feel unwell again, and a test on 5 June found him positive – this time with symptoms that sent him to the hospital. The man has since recovered.
Symptoms were worse around 2 times
According to the study, differences in genetic sequencing of the virus indicated that the new infection was not just the original, passive infection.
The report states that the probability of the same strain mutation in a single person is “remote”. It also ruled out the possibility that the man had become infected with both strains, but the man had been lethargic until later.
The Lancet Infectious Disease Report confirms the initial, non-peer-reviewed findings published in an August online print.
During the second infection, the man was found to be short of breath and hypoxic – meaning his blood was oxygen deficient. He said that he was sent to the emergency room for oxygen.
It is still unclear why the second infection was worse than the first, but the report’s authors suggested three possibilities:
- He could have taken a higher dose of the virus on another infection.
- The second virus may be a stronger version.
- The immune response from the first infection may have made the second infection worse, the BBC reported.
Despite Trump’s tweet – there’s still a lot to know about coronovirus immunity
Doctors at Business Donald Trump had announced that the discussion of immunity following infection was of more intense interest than usual, declaring that he had recovered from the virus, as reported by John Haltiwanger of Business Insider.
The president has claimed several times that he is now “immune” – a claim Twitter characterized as “misleading”. As stated by Business Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnson, the science behind it is decisive.
An Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of Nevada, quoting the BBC, Dr. Mark Pandori said the “significant” implications of the Lancet infectious diseases study findings are important for understanding immunity.
“Our findings indicate that past infections may not necessarily protect against future infections,” he said.
Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told the BBC that these findings were “very concerning.”
But he said that if such cases were common then we would have heard by now.
Only a few cases of relapse with the virus have been confirmed – a person from Hong Kong was declared as one such case in August, followed by two more such cases in Belgium and the Netherlands. An Ecuadorian reinvestment has also been confirmed, according to the study.
“It is too early to say for sure what the implications of these findings are for any vaccination program,” Hunter told the BBC. “But these findings confirm that we still do not know enough about the immune response to this infection.”