COVID-19 repeat infection risker than first time: study


The threat of loss of life, hospitalization and critical well being points from COVID-19 jumps considerably with reinfection in contrast with a first bout with the virus, no matter vaccination standing, a study revealed on Thursday suggests.

“Reinfection with COVID-19 will increase the danger of each acute outcomes and lengthy COVID,” mentioned Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “This was evident in unvaccinated, vaccinated and boosted individuals.”

The findings have been drawn from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) information collected from March 1, 2020 via April 6, 2022 on 443,588 sufferers with one SARS-CoV-2 infection, 40,947 with two or extra infections, and 5.3 million noninfected people. Most of the study topics have been male.

Reinfected sufferers had a extra than doubled threat of loss of life and a extra than tripled threat of hospitalization in contrast with those that have been contaminated with COVID simply as soon as. They additionally had elevated dangers for issues with lungs, coronary heart, blood, kidneys, diabetes, psychological well being, bones and muscle mass, and neurological problems, based on a report revealed in Nature Medicine.

“Even if one had prior infection and was vaccinated – that means they’d double immunity from prior infection plus vaccines – they’re nonetheless prone to opposed outcomes upon reinfection,” Al-Aly, the study chief, mentioned.

People within the study with repeat infections have been extra than thrice extra more likely to develop lung issues, thrice extra more likely to undergo coronary heart circumstances and 60% extra more likely to expertise neurological problems than sufferers who had been contaminated solely as soon as. The greater dangers have been most pronounced within the first month after reinfection however have been nonetheless evident six months later, researchers discovered.

Experts not concerned with the study mentioned the VA inhabitants doesn’t mirror the final inhabitants.

Patients at VA well being amenities are typically older, sicker individuals and sometimes males, a bunch that might sometimes have extra than regular well being problems, mentioned John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.

The researchers mentioned cumulative dangers and burdens of repeat infection elevated with the variety of infections, even after accounting for variations in COVID-19 variants akin to Delta, Omicron and BA.5.

However, Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious illness epidemiologist and an editor-at-large at Kaiser Health News, mentioned there gave the impression to be a “plateauing impact with a number of infections,” with much less of a leap in threat after the second infection.

“The excellent news there may be that the higher individuals are protected with immunity, probably the danger of creating a number of the problems will likely be decrease over time,” she added.

Still, Al-Aly cautioned that individuals shouldn’t let their guard down.

“We had began seeing plenty of sufferers coming to the clinic with an air of invincibility,” he informed Reuters. “They questioned, ‘Does getting a reinfection actually matter?’ The reply is sure, it completely does.”

Ahead of the quick approaching vacation season with journey and indoor gatherings, “individuals needs to be conscious that reinfection is consequential and may take precautions,” he added.

Reporting by Nancy Lapid, further reporting by Raghav Mahobe in Bengaluru; Editing by Bill Berkrot


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