Repeat COVID infection more dangerous than first: Study

Reinfection with COVID-19 is a greater threat than the first infection, according to a new study.

Researchers found that the risk of death, hospitalization and serious health problems is higher when a person is reinfected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“Re-infection with COVID-19 increases the risk of both acute and long-term consequences of COVID,” said Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said, according to VOA.

In his new study with his colleagues, Al-Aly looked for whether re-infection increases the risk created after the first infection. They found that while the risk was most pronounced in the acute phase, it persisted into the post-acute phase.

Relative to the number of infections, the cumulative risk and burden of re-infection increased, suggesting that the risk of death, hospitalization and serious health problems was higher in re-infections.

Al-Aly pointed out that the risk is evident in “unvaccinated, vaccinated and stimulated people”. Thus, regardless of vaccination, everyone is at greater risk when reinfected.

For the study, lead researcher Al-Aly and his colleagues looked at US Department of Veterans Affairs data from March 1, 2020, to April 6, 2022.

Data were collected from 443,588 patients with one COVID-19-reported infection and 40,947 patients with two or more reinfections. Data from 5.3 million uninfected individuals were also used in the study.

“Even if one had a previous infection and was vaccinated – meaning they had double immunity to the previous infection plus vaccines – they are still vulnerable to the adverse effects of re-infection,” explained Al-Aly.

As a result of their findings published in Nature Medicine, the team urged the medical community to come up with strategies to prevent reinfection to reduce the overall burden of death and serious illness from the virus.

Ahead of the holiday season, when many people would be traveling and attending indoor gatherings, Al-Aly said everyone should be aware of the serious consequences of re-infection to avoid repeated transmissions.

The precautions are still the same as when the outbreak started. Al-Aly just wanted to remind everyone that it is best to cover up when traveling and stay indoors with other people.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *