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COVID-19 Reinfection May Lead To Severe Symptoms, No Guarantee Of Total Immunity: Study

A new study on COVID-19 highlights how people who are infected with coronavirus for the second time may experience more severe symptoms than the first time.


A recent case study titled as ‘Genomic evidence for reinfection with SARS-CoV-2’, highlights how people who have been infected with the novel coronavirus twice may experience more severe symptoms than the people who have been infected just once. Published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal charts, the study says that the degree of protective immunity granted by the virus is currently unknown. As a part of the study, the same person with two instances of SARS-CoV-2 infection has been investigated. 

New revelation

The subject, a 25-year-old man who was a resident of Washoe County in the US state of Nevada was presented in front of the health authorities twice. For the first time, it was during a community testing event in the month of April and for the second time, it was at a primary care at the end of May and beginning of June. Both the times the person was experiencing symptoms of viral infection. It was concluded that nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from the patient during each presentation and twice during follow-up. The study said, “We did next-generation sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 extracted from nasopharyngeal swabs. Sequence data were assessed by two different bioinformatic methodologies. A short tandem repeat marker was used for fragment analysis to confirm that samples from both infections came from the same individual”. 

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(Timeline of symptom onset, molecular diagnosis, and sequencing of specimens. Image Credits: The Lancet)

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Through the Genomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 it was concluded that “genetically significant differences between each variant associated with each instance of infection”. The subject had tested positive for the novel coronavirus twice. Once on April 18, 2020, and then on June 5, 2020. The study highlighted that the second analysis was more severe in terms of symptoms than the first. The study says, “findings suggest that the patient was infected by SARS-CoV-2 on two separate occasions by a genetically distinct virus. Thus, previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 might not guarantee total immunity in all cases. All individuals, whether previously diagnosed with COVID-19 or not, should take identical precautions to avoid infection with SARS-CoV-2”. The study is a collaboration and has been funded by Nevada IDEA Network of Biomedical Research and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

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(Image Credits: Representative Image)

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