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COVID-19 Patients Might Experience More Severe Symptoms On Reinfection: Study

While more research is needed, the scientists said the possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for understanding COVID-19 immunity, especially in the absence of an effective vaccine

COVID-19 Patients Might Experience More Severe Symptoms On Reinfection: Study
Highlights
  • More than 4 reinfection cases have been confirmed globally: Scientists
  • COVID-19 infection does not guarantee protection against reinfection: Study
  • The study was published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases

Houston: COVID-19 patients infected with the novel coronavirus for a second time might experience more severe symptoms, according to a study which is the first to confirm a case of reinfection with the virus in the US. The study, published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, found evidence that an individual with no known immune disorders or underlying conditions was infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in two separate occurrences. According to the scientists, including those from the University of Nevada in the US, the patient, a 25-year old male, was infected with two distinct SARS-CoV-2 variants within a 48-day time frame, while testing negative in between infections.

The study noted that the patient’s second infection was more severe, resulting in hospitalisation with oxygen support, indicating previous exposure to COVID-19 may not translate to guaranteed total immunity. The patient tested negative for the virus after testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 in April 2020, the researchers said.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explainer: What Is COVAX Initiative?

Then in June 2020, after experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, headache, dizziness, cough, nausea, and diarrhea, the patient was hospitalised and tested positive for a second time. The patient has since been discharged from the hospital and has recovered from the second infection, the study noted. While further research into reinfections is required, the scientists believe all individuals – whether previously diagnosed or not — should take identical precautions to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2.

There are still many unknowns about SARS-CoV-2 infections and the immune system’s response, but our findings signal that a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection may not necessarily protect against future infection,” said Mark Pandori, lead author of the study from the University of Nevada. It is important to note this is a singular finding and does not provide generalisability of this phenomenon, Mr Pandori said.

While more research is needed, the scientists said the possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for understanding COVID-19 immunity, especially in the absence of an effective vaccine.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explained: What Are The Phases In The Clinical Trials Of The COVID-19 Vaccine?

It also strongly suggests that individuals who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 should continue to take serious precautions when it comes to the virus, including social distancing, wearing face masks, and handwashing, Mr Pandori explained.

According to the scientists, at least four other reinfection cases have been confirmed globally in Belgium, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Ecuador with the latter being the only other instance in which the second infection displayed worse disease outcomes than the first.

We need more research to understand how long immunity may last for people exposed to SARS-CoV-2, and why some of these second infections, while rare, are presenting as more severe, Mr Pandori said. So far, we’ve only seen a handful of reinfection cases, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more, especially as many cases of COVID-19 are asymptomatic. Right now, we can only speculate about the cause of reinfection, he added.

The study noted several hypotheses that may explain the severity of the second infection, including the possibility the patient subsequently encountered a very high dose of the virus which caused a more acute reaction the second time.

Also Read: One Of The Puzzles Of COVID-19 Is The Large Proportion Of People Who Are Asymptomatic: Dr Vincent Rajkumar Of Blood Cancer Journal

According to the researchers, the patient may also have come in contact with a more virulent variant of the virus. They said another plausible explanation could be the mechanism of antibody dependent enhancement in which some protective proteins produced by the immune system during the first encounter with the virus could make a subsequent infection worse.

This mechanism, the researchers noted, was seen previously with the 2002-03 SARS pandemic virus, as well as other diseases, such as dengue fever. Citing the limitation of the study, the researchers said they were unable to undertake any evaluation of the immune response to the first episode of infection.

Since the confirmed reinfection cases occurred among patients who displayed COVID-19 symptoms, the scientists believe there is a possibility that many similar cases among individuals may be asymptomatic, and therefore likely to remain undetected under current testing and monitoring practices.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.) 

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.  

World

26,58,63,058Cases
22,65,37,591Active
3,40,69,608Recovered
52,55,859Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,58,63,058 and 52,55,859 have died; 22,65,37,591 are active cases and 3,40,69,608 have recovered as on December 6, 2021 at 5:12 am.

India

3,46,41,561 8,306Cases
98,416739Active
3,40,69,608 8,834Recovered
4,73,537 211Deaths
In India, there are 3,46,41,561 confirmed cases including 4,73,537 deaths. The number of active cases is 98,416 and 3,40,69,608 have recovered as on December 6, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,38,778 707

10,826 23

64,86,782 677

1,41,170 7

Kerala

51,65,921 4,450

44,110 317

50,80,211 4,606

41,600 161

Karnataka

29,98,099 456

7,161 120

29,52,708 330

38,230 6

Tamil Nadu

27,30,516 724

8,041 29

26,85,946 743

36,529 10

Andhra Pradesh

20,73,730 154

2,122 27

20,57,156 177

14,452 4

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,475 24

134 18

16,87,430 6

22,911

West Bengal

16,19,257 620

7,639 17

15,92,074 627

19,544 10

Delhi

14,41,358 63

370 48

14,15,890 15

25,098

Odisha

10,50,249 189

2,154 25

10,39,673 212

8,422 2

Chhattisgarh

10,06,967 25

330 4

9,93,044 21

13,593

Rajasthan

9,54,891 17

221 8

9,45,715 9

8,955

Gujarat

8,27,707 48

349 23

8,17,263 24

10,095 1

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,241 9

133 9

7,82,580 18

10,528

Haryana

7,71,819 22

185 5

7,61,580 17

10,054

Bihar

7,26,237 6

26 4

7,14,121 2

12,090

Telangana

6,76,943 156

3,787 8

6,69,157 147

3,999 1

Assam

6,17,576 101

2,490 61

6,08,966 158

6,120 4

Punjab

6,03,488 37

361 14

5,86,519 23

16,608

Jharkhand

3,49,342 25

127 12

3,44,074 13

5,141

Uttarakhand

3,44,353 8

174 1

3,36,768 7

7,411

Jammu And Kashmir

3,37,807 161

1,706 25

3,31,620 184

4,481 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,27,518 35

755 45

2,22,911 80

3,852

Goa

1,79,174 49

412 18

1,75,375 31

3,387

Mizoram

1,36,454 92

3,101 454

1,32,846 544

507 2

Puducherry

1,29,085 29

280 14

1,26,930 43

1,875

Manipur

1,25,360 32

353 9

1,23,025 40

1,982 1

Tripura

84,858 5

90 1

83,943 6

825

Meghalaya

84,583 9

244 2

82,864 11

1,475

Chandigarh

65,488 7

58 2

64,610 9

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,293 5

36 4

54,977 1

280

Sikkim

32,369 10

215 2

31,749 8

405

Nagaland

32,136

117 9

31,320 9

699

Ladakh

21,714 31

295 3

21,204 34

215

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,683

0 0

10,679

4

Lakshadweep

10,404

10 0

10,343

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,688

4 2

7,555 2

129

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