The United States confirmed its first coronavirus re-infection case since the outbreak started.
The patient was a 25-year-old man from Nevada who already contracted the virus twice, on two separate occasions. The Nevada man is reported to be the 5th case of COVID-19 re-infection globally.
According to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal, the patient has become seriously ill after contracting the infection for the second time. It was also noted that the man had no prior history of any immune disorders or underlying conditions.
The man, a resident of Washoe County in Nevada, was admitted to the hospital after his diagnosis for COVID-19 the second time around.
At present, the patient has already recovered. However, his condition has raised many questions on the development of protective immunity against the coronavirus disease.
Recent data based on John Hopkins University stated that around 37.8 million people had caught the disease worldwide, and more than 1.08 million have succumbed to the disease.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated earlier this month that it has already estimated that around 1 out of 10 people worldwide have already been infected with COVID-19. The estimate is significantly higher than the statistics on the confirmed number of cases.
How It Happened
According to CNBC, a medical journal stated that on March 25, the man experienced several symptoms that are consistent with a viral infection. He suffered from a sore throat, headache, cough, nausea, and diarrhea.
The man first found out that he was positive with the disease after he went to a community testing event hosted by the health district of Washoe County on April 18.
He was then placed under isolation by April 27. Some of the symptoms have already subsided, and he continued to feel better after that. On May 9, he tested negative for the virus, which was followed by another negative result by May 26.
Two days after his last negative test result, the man again experienced flu-like symptoms. By June 5, just a little more than a month and a half after the first time he tested positive, the man once again contracted the virus.
His second infection became more concerning as it was more severe than his first infection in terms of symptoms.
According to scientists who studied his case, the man caught the virus on two separate occasions and not a relapse of his initial infection after being dormant. It was also noted that the genetic codes of the two infections revealed significant differences.
In previous studies, it was assumed that the second time a patient catches COVID-19, it would be a milder case than the first. However, the Nevada patient's case proved that this is not always what happens, although it is still unclear why his second infection was worse.
According to Cellular Microbiology Associate Professor, Dr. Simon Clarke from the University of Reading, the case of the patient from Nevada proves that it is possible to get reinfected with COVID-19.
However, he emphasized that the case is not definitive proof that protective immunity against the disease impossible. But he also stated that the study's findings could make it more difficult to generate immunity against the virus.