Updated: Nov 25, 2022
A recent study shows that repeat SARS-CoV-2 infections significantly increase the likelihood of unfavorable health outcomes in a number of organ systems, according to the findings. These effects can include hospitalization, illnesses of the lungs, heart, brain, blood, musculoskeletal, and gastrointestinal systems of the body, as well as death. The outcomes of diabetes, kidney disease, and mental health problems are also impacted by reinfection.
Scientists have discovered that an initial infection can result in short- and long-term health hazards affecting almost every organ system in the body since the COVID-19 epidemic started over three years ago. Additionally, they found that even after developing natural antibodies following the initial infection and obtaining vaccine and booster doses, patients can still contract COVID-19.
The effects of reinfection on health are demonstrated by a recent study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care system. Repeat SARS-CoV-2 infections significantly increase the likelihood of unfavorable health outcomes in a number of organ systems, according to the study's findings.
During the study, patients ranged widely in terms of their ages, races, and sexes. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs maintains a database with around 5.8 million de-identified medical records, from which the researchers evaluated for this study.
From March 1, 2020, through April 6, 2022, the researchers collected a controlled data set of 5.3 million individuals who did not test positive for COVID-19 infection. The researchers also created two control groups using the same time period: one group included roughly 41,000 patients who had two or more reported infections and another group included more than 443,000 people who had tested positive for one COVID-19 infection. The majority of those in the latter group had two or three infections, a few had four infections, and no one had five or more illnesses.
The health risks of recurring COVID-19 infections within the first 30 days of infection and up to six months later were investigated using statistical modeling. The study took COVID-19 variations like delta, omicron, and BA5 into account. Both those who were unvaccinated and those who had gotten shots prior to the reinfection experienced negative results.
The researchers discovered that those with COVID-19 reinfections were twice as likely to die and triple the likelihood of being admitted to the hospital compared to individuals without reinfections.
Additionally, individuals with recurring infections were over 1.5 times more likely to experience brain abnormalities, three times more likely to experience heart conditions, and over 3 times more likely to experience lung issues.
Benjamin Bowe, Yan Xie, Ziyad Al-Aly. Acute and postacute sequelae associated with SARS-CoV-2 reinfection. Nature Medicine, 2022; DOI: 10.1038/s41591-022-02051-3
Washington University in St. Louis. "Repeat COVID-19 infections increase risk of organ failure, death: Researchers recommend masks, vaccines, vigilance to prevent reinfection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2022.
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