The case of a Nevada man who became the first confirmed American to be infected twice with coronavirus raises questions about how long people can be protected after being infected and how effective a vaccine could be, according to a new study published in the journal The Lancet.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, said this is a clear “yellow caution light.”
So far there have been at least 22 documented cases of reinfection worldwide since the pandemic broke out.
Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University and a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, said that with so many millions of people infected, it is difficult to know for sure if this case may be a rarity or if it is the beginning of a greater concern.
“It is possible that the vast majority of people are completely protected from reinfection, but we are not measuring them because they are not going to the hospital,” he said.
The man, considered an essential worker, began to feel ill in late March, with symptoms such as a sore throat, cough, headaches, nausea and diarrhea. She went to get tested on April 18 and her infection with coronavirus was confirmed.
A month later, he felt bad again, so on May 31 he went to an emergency center, again with fever, headache, dizziness, cough, nausea and diarrhea. On June 5, he went to see a doctor who found his oxygen levels drastically low and hospitalized him. The man tested positive again, even though he still had antibodies in his bloodstream.
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NEW—Study confirms first case of #COVID19 reinfection in the USA, indicating exposure to the virus may not translate to total immunity: finding from a case study from the University of Nevada @TheLancetInfDis https://t.co/sx5Qzg5N72 pic.twitter.com/1KTFSXqP7N
— The Lancet (@TheLancet) October 12, 2020
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