A man in the U.S. has caught the coronavirus twice, and the second bout was much more severe than the first. Scientists have confirmed that a 25-year-old man in Nevada caught the virus just six weeks apart earlier this year. Confirmed reinfections of the virus are not common, but seemingly possible.
A study on the Nevada man's reinfection has been published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases, which poses questions as to how immunity against the virus can be built up.
Catching the coronavirus twice
The scientists who conducted the study stated that the man caught the virus twice, rather than it becoming dormant after the first infection and reappearing again later on. This may be a game-changer in the fight against the virus.
"Our findings signal that a previous infection may not necessarily protect against future infection," said Dr Mark Pandori to the BBC, from the University of Nevada. "The possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for our understanding of Covid-19 immunity."
The study presses people to continue to social distance, wear masks, and maintain good hand-washing hygiene, even after they've recovered from COVID-19.
Up until now, it was believed that if someone caught the coronavirus a second time, their infection would be milder thanks to antibodies they would have most likely amassed. So it remains a mystery how the Nevada man's second round was more severe than the first, per NPR.
Initially, the man tested positive for the virus in April and suffered a cough and nausea, from which he recovered and tested negative in May. Six weeks later, however, he had to go to the hospital as his lungs were struggling to provide enough oxygen to the rest of his body, and he suffered from a fever, cough, and dizziness. He tested positive once again, per the BBC.
Luckily, the patient survived his second fight with COVID-19.
Speculations are rising amongst scientists as to how and why the second bout of COVID-19 could infect people, and how is it sometimes more severe than the first. A second wave of the virus is moving across many parts of the world as we speak, so perhaps this round may help solve the mystery around reinfections.