US confirms its first case of COVID-19 reinfection: Healthy Nevada man, 25, contracted coronavirus twice in 48 days and had to be put on oxygen after getting SICKER during his second bout with the virus
- Man, 25, from the US, suffered fifth confirmed Covid-19 re-infection in the world
- He tested positive again 48 days after his first negative test for the virus
- Second infection was severe and left him requiring hospitalisation and oxygen
- Genetic sequencing reveals he was infected by two different strains of Covid-19
A 25-year-old man has become the first person in the US to suffer a second coronavirus infection.
He first tested positive in mid-April after showing mild symptoms of a sore throat, cough, headache, nausea and diarrhea.
But, after recovering and receiving two negative tests, he began experiencing similar warning signs in May.
He tested positive – 48 days after the first negative test – and suffered a more severe infection. He was hospitalized, required oxygen, and endured coughs, muscle aches and shortness of breath. An X-ray also revealed gaps in his lungs suggestive of viral pneumonia.
This is the fifth known Covid-19 re-infection in the world. Genetic sequencing reveals the patient, from Washoe County in Nevada, was infected by two different strains of coronavirus.
Experts are convinced the disease will be milder the second time round because the body will have already built up natural immunity against it – but this is not certain.
It comes after Donald Trump controversially claimed he is immune to the virus and has a ‘protective glow’ that means he ‘can’t get it and can’t give it’.
Researchers in the US have confirmed the country’s first case of coronavirus reinfection in a 25-year-old man from Washoe County, Nevada. Pictured: Nurses care for a COVID-19 patient in the ICU at Regional Medical Center in San Jose, California, May 21
He tested positive for coronavirus on April 18 after developing mild symptoms and then tested negative twice in May. However, he developed more severe symptoms on May 28 and tested positive again on June 5 (above)
The American man is un-named and had no underlying health conditions.
The case was revealed in a pre-print study released by The Lancet Infectious Diseases yesterday.
Although this doesn’t prove contracting the virus will not result in herd immunity, the scientists said everyone should observe protective measures including wearing a face mask, social distancing and hand washing.
Dr Mark Pandori, from the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory and who led the study, told DailyMail.com the patient may have received a ‘very high dose’ of the virus to become re-infected. This would have ‘overwhelmed’ the immune system, he said, leading to a more serious infection.
He added: ‘I think (the study) shows that whether you tested positive or not, we’re all in the same public health boat together.
‘Be considerate that you might be able to get infected again because we cannot prove invulnerability.
‘Mask wearing and social distancing apply just as much to those who have had the virus as those who have not.’
Genetic testing showed that the strains of virus from each bout were different (above), which indicates a true reinfection
The Nevada man is the fifth person worldwide to be reinfected and other cases have been reported in Hong Kong, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ecuador. Pictured: Genetic testing of the Nevada patient’s two virus strains
CAN YOU CATCH COVID-19 TWICE?
Early on in the pandemic, scientists were baffled as to whether or not you could catch Covid-19 twice. Now the evidence is more convincing, following a string of reports of re-infections all over the world.
With some illnesses such as chickenpox, the immune system can remember exactly how to destroy it and becomes able to fend it off if it ever tries to enter the body again.
Tests have shown that many people who recover from Covid-19 have antibodies – which can produce future immunity – but it is not known whether there are enough of them.
However, antibodies are only one type of substance that can produce immunity. The immune system is a huge web of proteins that have different functions to protect the body against infection.
Others, including white blood cells called T cells and B cells, can also help the body to fight off disease but are more difficult to discover using currently available tests.
Evidence is beginning to suggest that antibodies disappear in as little as eight weeks after infection with the coronavirus, scientifically called SARS-Cov-2.
On the other hand, T cells – which target and destroy cells already infected with the virus – are ‘durable’.
A promising study done on monkeys found that they were unable to catch Covid-19 a second time after recovering from it, which led scientists to believe the same may apply to humans.
The rhesus monkeys were deliberately reinfected by scientists in China to test how their bodies reacted.
Because the coronavirus has only been known to scientists for nine months there has not been enough time to study whether people develop long-term immunity.
After the patient tested positive for the virus at Washoe County Health District on April 18, he was isolated for treatment. Doctors waited for the symptoms to subside, and completed two negative tests, before giving him the all-clear to go back into the community.
But he started suffering the same warning signs on May 28, including dizziness.
He was rushed to urgent care but discharged after a chest X-ray returned no results.
After the symptoms persisted for five days he went to a primary care physician who diagnosed hypoxia, which occurs when the tissues do not have enough oxygen to sustain bodily functions.
The patient was sent to an emergency room and swabbed – where he tested positive for Covid-19.
This is the fifth confirmed cases of coronavirus reinfection worldwide with four other cases confirmed in Hong Kong, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ecuador.
However, only the Ecuador patient had a more severe case during the second bout than during the first bout.
Pandori said it is possible that reinfections are occurring elsewhere but that they are asymptomatic and, subsequently, are going undetected.
‘If [that] is happening, we would have no way of knowing it. People wouldn’t feel inclined to get tested again,’ he said.
‘It’s also hard to confirm a reinfection case. Some labs are barely keeping hold of testing, let alone rest testing
‘The amount of effort that goes into surveilling for those reinfections is tremendous so there might be more of these out there, but we don’t know because our surveillance is part of the problem.’