Covid can recover even in people who don’t take Paxlovid: Study

This July 31, 2022 photo shows a medical worker taking a swab sample from a woman to be tested for the Covid-19 virus at a swab collection site in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. , southern China. About a third of people with Covid will experience a relapse of symptoms, regardless of whether they have been treated with the antiviral drug Paxlovid, according to a study posted online Tuesday.

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About a third of people with Covid will experience a relapse of their symptoms, regardless of whether they have been treated with the antiviral drug Paxlovid, according to a new study. research third online posting.

The pre-print study – which means it has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal – found that 27% of people with Covid saw their symptoms recover after they had initially improved.

“It happens all the time,” said study co-author Dr Davey Smith, head of the department of infectious diseases and global public health at the University of California, San Diego. of Medicine. However, Smith noted that 27% of the findings were higher than he expected based on anecdotal evidence.

The study also found that 12% of people with Covid had a “rebound viral flare,” meaning they tested positive again a few days after testing negative. This has been noted among people who have taken Paxlovid and is known as Paxlovid recoveredbut research shows a resurgence of the virus regardless of whether a person is taking antiretroviral drugs.

Anyone who’s had Covid, says Smith, can see symptoms return after they initially go away, and those symptoms may be worse or not as bad as the first bout. “It’s just a change in the natural course of the infection.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged the possibility of symptom recurrence in untreated Covid patients. When the agency in May released a health warning Informing doctors of Paxlovid’s relapses, it also said that “short return symptoms may be part of the natural history of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19 infection). -19) in some people, independent of Paxlovid treatment and regardless of immunization status.”

Hair removal and debilitating symptoms are not unique to Covid.

“In some ways, it’s the natural history of all respiratory infections,” said Dr Paul Sax, clinical director of the infectious diseases division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. . “There are good days and bad days, and then they will eventually get better.”

Paxlovid’s bounces in particular have received a lot of attention in recent weeks, with both President Joe Biden and his chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, tested positive a few days after taking the antiviral medication.

In Pfizer’s clinical trial of the drug, 1% to 2% of Paxlovid users tested positive for coronavirus after testing negative. In one paxlovid prescribing physician fact sheetThe drug manufacturer noted that this also occurred at a similar rate in the placebo group.

But even if a person has taken Paxlovid, it is still difficult to say whether their recovery was unequivocally caused by the drug.

“Maybe what would have happened without Paxlovid is that they would still have tested positive in these last days, but they wouldn’t have had an interference negative test… This could be just a fluke. small mix in the natural history of Sax said.

Smith agrees: “Symptoms fluctuate, and viral antigens in the nose fluctuate, and they fluctuate with and without Paxlovid.”

Dr. Albert Ko, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health, says that regardless of the flare-up of symptoms, the message is clear: Paxlovid is working.

“Paxlovid is doing what it’s supposed to do: prevent us from having a life-threatening Covid,” Ko said. “Although these rallies are ongoing, it prevents serious results.”

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