Genetic study suggests US man was infected twice with coronavirus

Genetic study suggests US man was infected twice with coronavirus, by Suzi Ring.

The first study to investigate the case of a person in the US who contracted COVID-19 twice found reinfection can occur swiftly and the second bout of illness can be more severe.

The research, published in the Lancet medical journal, examined the case of a 25-year-old man living in Nevada who became infected with two different genetic variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in less than two months. He tested negative twice in between, meaning he’s unlikely to have suffered a single prolonged infection. …

The degree of protective immunity after a COVID-19 infection is one of the pandemic’s great unknowns. …

So far five cases of reinfection have been recorded since the start of the outbreak late last year. Only one other patient in Ecuador also suffered a worse bout of illness the second time around. It’s also possible people with no symptoms could be infected multiple times without knowing it.

The Nevada man first tested positive for the virus mid-April after experiencing a headache, coughing, nausea and diarrhea. He had no underlying conditions that could have worsened his illness. He isolated and got better by the end of the month.

At the end of May, though, the man consulted at an urgent care center with fever and dizziness in addition to the symptoms he’d experienced the prior month. Five days later he was hospitalised with shortness of breath and given oxygen before testing positive for COVID-19 once more.

Scientists sequenced the genomes of the patient’s virus samples and found significant differences, suggesting the man was infected by two distinct variations of the coronavirus.

Herd immunity and vaccines don’t stop us from catching the flu.