Researchers have for the first time identified a US coronavirus reinfection, according to a yet to be peer-reviewed study.
Scientists at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory are studying the case of a 25-year-old Reno, Nevada man who had a second coronavirus infection 48 days after a first case that he was cleared of after testing negative twice.
He first tested positive in April, but was infected again in May with more severe COVID-19 symptoms, according to a statement the health bodies released Thursday.
Additional evidence for his second infection comes from the fact that the genomes from each infection are genetically distinct, the researchers said.
“We examined the genomic material of the viruses and samples to investigate this,” said Mark Pandori, the director of the Reno School of Medicine. “It is just one finding, but it shows that a person can possibly become infected with SARS-CoV-2 a second time.”
Pandori emphasized that the short timeline between the man’s infections may pose implications for the development of a much-sought after vaccine, as well as plans to institute herd immunity strategies to combat the disease.
“It is important to note, that this is a singular finding. It does not provide any information to us with regard to the generalizability of this phenomenon,” he cautioned.
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