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Man in US contracts COVID-19 for the second time with worse symptoms

Published on 13/10/20 at 01:26pm
Photo by Javed Anees

An American man has caught coronavirus for the second time, with the second infection being far more dangerous than the first. 

The 25-year-old first experienced symptoms beginning on 25 March, which included a sore throat, a headache, cough, nausea and diarrhoea, and tested positive for the virus for the first time on 18 April, becoming symptom free by 27 April. He tested negative for the virus twice on 9 May and 26 May.

On 28 May, he developed COVID-19 symptoms for a second time, which were the same as his previous infection with an added fever and dizziness. He tested positive for the second time on 5 June and experienced low blood oxygen with a shortness of breath, and he required hospital treatment. 

The man has now recovered, but he was not known to have any underlying health problems that would have made him vulnerable to COVID-19. 

This case study was published as part of a Lancet study into COVID-19 reinfections. The study concluded: “Genetic discordance of the two SARS-CoV-2 specimens was greater than could be accounted for by short-term in vivo evolution. These findings suggest that the patient was infected by SARS-CoV-2 on two separate occasions by a genetically distinct virus. Thus, previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 might not guarantee total immunity in all cases. All individuals, whether previously diagnosed with COVID-19 or not, should take identical precautions to avoid infection with SARS-CoV-2.”

Dr Mark Pandoori, one of the study’s authors, told the press: “Our findings signal that a previous infection may not necessarily protect against future infection. The possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for our understanding of COVID-19 immunity.”

Conor Kavanagh

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