A 25-years-old American man tested positive for the novel coronavirus for the second time, becoming the fifth known case of COVID-19 reinfection in the world.
The man, 25, from Washoe County, Nevada, contacted the virus for the first time in April and later tested negative on two separate occasions, according to reports.
In June, the man started to experience COVID-19 symptoms like headache, nausea, vomiting, cough, diarrhea and the second bout of the infection was confirmed.
What turned out was his second infection was more severe than the first and he had to be hospitalized needing oxygen support. Researchers are highlighting the need to continue to take precautions for people who have recovered COVID-19.
The case has been published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases. The genetic sequence of the virus showed the man was infected by two different strains of the virus.
While the authors said further research was needed they added the findings make a strong case for the fact that one exposure to the virus may not offer a lasting immunity, and social distancing and healthcare protocols must be followed.
“It is important to note this is a singular finding and does not provide generalisability of this phenomenon,” Lead author Mark Pandori, of the Nevada state public health laboratory said.
“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.”
Researchers are still understanding the novel virus that is thought to have originated in Wuhan, China, last year in November.
While there are other coronaviruses known to medicine, the COVID-19 disease was caused by an entirely unknown virus of the same species.
Just recently, the CDC updated its website acknowledging the possibility of airborne spread of the virus which was previously a foggy part of the nature of the virus.
In the case of the second reinfection of COVID-19 — which is very rare — researchers are having multiple explanations.
One is that the starting of the virus that causes the second infection was more virulent. Another interpretation says the patient might have inhaled a much higher dose of the virus causing the more severe infection.
“All individuals, whether previously diagnosed with COVID-19 or not, should take identical precautions to avoid infection with SARS-CoV-2. The implications of reinfections could be relevant for vaccine development and application,” authors wrote in the journal.
This is the fifth confirmed case of reinfection in the world. The first case came from Hong Kong when a man in his early thirties tested positive for the virus for the second time four and a half months after the first infection.
Other cases of COVID-19 reinfection came from Ecuador, the Netherlands, and Belgium.