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Health

First Case of COVID-19 Reinfection Confirmed

— Viral sequence disparity indicates Hong Kong case not simply prolonged infection

by Molly Walker, Associate Editor, MedPage Today August 24, 2020

A 33-year-old man in Hong Kong may represent the first confirmed case of reinfection, researchers in Hong Kong said.

The man was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26, hospitalized, then recovered. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 again on August 15, and whole genome sequencing of viral isolates from the two episodes indicated they were from different clades, reported Kwok-Yung Yuen, MD, of the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues in a manuscript they said had been accepted for publication in Clinical Infectious Diseases, but not yet published.

That is almost unassailable evidence that the man was infected a second time, and another indication, albeit far from definitive, that immunity to SARS-CoV-2 may not last very long.

Interestingly, the patient was asymptomatic during his second infection, the authors said.

Reinfection was suspected in a few previous cases of COVID-19, but never documented. Many experts believed what appeared to be reinfection was simply prolonged infection. But these researchers could not be more clear:

“We report the first case of reinfection of COVID-19,” they wrote. “Epidemiological, clinical, serological and genomic analyses confirmed that the patient had reinfection instead of persistent viral shedding from first infection.”

Indeed, whole genome sequencing found the first viral genome was most closely related to SARS-CoV-2 strains from the U.S. or England collected in March/April strain and the second viral genome was most closely related to strains from Switzerland and England in July/August. There were 24 nucleotide differences suggesting different strains.

Read the rest of this story where it originally appeared:https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/88234?xid=NL_breakingnewsalert_2020-08-24&eun=g672959d0r&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CVreinfectAlert_082420&utm_term=NL_Daily_Breaking_News_Active

Other News

Step into a New York City ICU, as the New Yorker explores the ethics of “traching” COVID-19 patients.

The virus also has taken its toll on rural hospitals. (Kaiser Health News via NPR)

Elsewhere around the world, Israeli scientists explore a promising new pooled testing strategy. (New York Times)

South Korea’s capital, Seoul, issued a new mask mandate as cases there show a resurgence. (Reuters)

The COVID-19 death toll surpassed 800,000 worldwide, as World Health Organization (WHO) officials said they hope “to finish this pandemic” in less than two years. (NBC News)

In other news:

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