This electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, orange, isolated from a patient.(AP/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Md)
This electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, orange, isolated from a patient.(AP/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Md)

Covid-19 reinfection: Nevada man experienced severe symptoms during second bout of illness

Researchers studied the case of a 25-year-old man from Nevada’s Washoe county who has suffered from Covid-19 twice this year.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Shankhyaneel Sarkar | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 14, 2020 08:45 AM IST

Concerns regarding if a person can get reinfected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) caused by Sars-Cov-2 virus rose as a group of doctors and researchers from the University of Nevada found that the first infection may not be able to protect people from reinfection.

Researchers studied the case of a 25-year-old man from Nevada’s Washoe county who has suffered from Covid-19 twice this year. The man was first diagnosed with SARS-Cov-2 at a community testing event in mid-April and had developed symptoms on March 25. After testing positive for coronavirus on April 18, the man saw his symptoms subside by April 25.

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But on May 28, the man was admitted again to a hospital in Nevada after developing symptoms like fever, headache, diarrhoea, nausea and coughing. He tested positive for Covid-19 on June 5 and was diagnosed with low blood oxygen or hypoxia.

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The hypoxia was severe which led the researchers to point out that the symptoms were more severe than the first infection. The man upon recovery was released from the hospital but researchers based on the different ‘genomic analysis’ and severity of symptoms said the second infection affected the man more compared to the first.

The researchers highlighted that they had possibly found out a case which is a “a case of continuous infection entailing deactivation and reactivation” but they said that the mutational rate of SARS-Cov-2 which is necessary for this to happen is not recorded.

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Researchers believe that in this case the man was infected with two distinct types of Sars-Cov-2. Dr. Mark Pandori, one of the researchers while speaking to JournalPioneer said, “We don’t necessarily have a system that’s well designed to find reinfection cases. It very well might be very rare. But it very well might not be as rare as we think. We just need a better surveillance system for it.”

Pandori also highlighted that people who have suffered from Covid-19 once should continue to follow all precautionary measures as they earlier did in order to prevent an infection.

“People who have had Covid-19 should behave and be treated as if they had not had the virus because now we know it’s at least possible to be re-infected and for the infection to lead to significant illness,” he further added.

Several cases of reinfection have been reported across the world. Cases of reinfection have been reported from Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Reinfections were also reported from Hong Kong, Ecuador, Netherlands and Belgium. Researchers said that the Ecuadorian case has shown some similarities with Nevada man’s case.

Reinfection remains an important issue which governments will have to address as nations in European Union, some of who have handled the coronavirus first wave better than the others, see a surge in infection.

India awaits a festive season which health experts fear will lead to a spike in cases.

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