The US had confirmed the fifth case of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection to date globally, suggesting that exposure to SARS-CoV-2 may not translate into guaranteed total immunity.
This US case was a 25-year-old male who was infected with two distinct SARS-CoV-2 variants within a 48-day timeframe. After testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 in April 2020, he tested negative on two subsequent occasions. In June 2020, the patient was hospitalised with severe symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, headache, dizziness, cough, nausea, and diarrhoea. He tested positive for a second time. The patient has since been discharged from hospital and has recovered from the second infection.
His second infection was more severe, resulting in hospitalisation with oxygen support, indicating previous exposure to COVID-19 may not translate to guaranteed total immunity.
The authors say that all individuals- - whether previously diagnosed or not - should take identical precautions to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2.
At least four other cases of reinfection have been confirmed globally, in Belgium, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Ecuador. However, only the Ecuador reinfection case displayed worse disease outcomes than the first infection.
The US case report is published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.