A 25-year-old man, resident of the city of Reno, Nevada (USA) is the first proven case of reinfection with the new coronavirus in the USA.
Researchers at the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory (NSPHL) analyzed the case of the patient who contracted the disease in April, developing the mild form of covid-19. However, in May, he tested positive for the disease again – this time, however, he presented a much more serious picture.
Published on a prepress (that is, not peer-reviewed) article server in The Lancet, the study was based on sequencing the genomes of the patient’s virus samples collected in April and June, “showing significant genetic discrepancy between both cases, which implies that the patient has been reinfected ”.
Different strains, same patient
According to the NSPHL director, pathologist Mark Pandori, “this is just a discovery, but it shows that a person can be infected with SARS-CoV-2 a second time.”
Pandori says that cases of reinfection are a warning sign for the severity of the disease’s evolution when it develops again, with results still unpredictable. The case is being analyzed with caution. “It is important to note that this is a unique finding, that is, it does not give us clues or shows that it may be a generalized phenomenon.”
Coronavirus reinfection already documented
The first confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection was documented by researchers at the University of Hong Kong. The patient, a healthy 33-year-old man, was diagnosed in late March. In mid-April, he was discharged, after testing twice negative for the virus; in July, asymptomatic, he tested positive for the disease after returning from a trip to Europe.
According to work published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, “the genome sequence of the virus strain in the first episode of covid-19 infection is clearly different from that found in the second episode of infection.”