Researchers in Nevada reported what may be the first documented case of coronavirus reinfection in the United States, following similar reports earlier this week from Hong Kong and Europe.
A 25-year-old Reno man with mild COVID-19 symptoms initially was found to have the virus in April, recovered and tested negative twice, and then tested positive again in June. He was much sicker the second time, with pneumonia that required hospitalisation and oxygen treatment.
The findings have not yet been published or reviewed by other scientists, but were posted on a research site.
Scientists at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory said they were able to show through sophisticated genetic testing that the virus associated with each instance of the Reno man’s infection represented genetically different strains.
The case “should cement in our minds that there’s no such thing … as invulnerability” to the virus, even if you’ve already had it, said Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory.
“One can get sick again and that illness can be quite severe.”