Netherlands witnesses first COVID-19 reinfection death in world; check details

Grant Boone
October 15, 2020

She was discharged five days later and her symptoms "subsided entirely".

Researchers claimed that her cancer was not life-threatening, and therefore her natural immune system was sufficiently strong to fight against coronavirus. The case is believed to be the first North American case of reinfection with COVID-19.

Her condition worsened in the following days, leading to her death two weeks later. He also tested negative for HIV by antibody and RNA testing, and had no obvious cell count abnormalities.

Researchers then sequenced RNA from both of the man's virus samples and concluded that he had been infected with two different strains of the virus. However there have been some reported cases of reinfection worldwide, most recently a 25-year-old resident of Washoe County in Nevada in the United States.

"Similar to observations with the reinfection case in Ecuador, our patient showed increased symptom severity in their second infection, whereas the cases from Belgium and the Netherlands and Hong Kong did not show a difference in severity of symptoms", they explained.

The man is the first in the US documented to have been re-infected.

However, 59 days from the start of her first Covid-19 episode and two days after beginning chemotherapy, the patient developed a fever, cough and shortness of breath, and again tested positive for coronavirus.

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"The second infection was symptomatically more severe than the first", said the journal.

He has now recovered from the second infection.

That means a previous infection may not necessarily protect against future infection, said Dr. Mark Pandori from the University of Nevada, a co-author of the study. "The implications of reinfections could be relevant for vaccine development and application", they added. From a public health perspective, all individuals-whether previously diagnosed or not-must take identical precautions to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2. "Further work is needed to assess immune reactions in vitro after reinfection".

Prior to the Dutch case, however, a 25-year-old man in Nevada caught the virus twice with the second case being more severe than the first.

What's more, Silverstein pointed out, the new research will not alter how doctors treat Covid-19 patients.

He became re-infected 4.5 months after contracting the virus initially, and showing showed no symptoms the second time round.

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