Some Covid Patients Are Relapsing After Taking Paxlovid

Researchers aren’t sure why but said the phenomenon is rare. Some doctors are now wondering whether the treatment, made by Pfizer, should be given for longer to assure that the virus is cleared.

The Washington Post: Another Rare Virus Puzzle: They Got Sick, Got Treated, Got Covid Again

Shortly after he served on a jury in March, Gregg Crumley developed a sore throat and congestion. The retired molecular biologist took a rapid test on a Saturday and saw a dark, thick line materialize — “wildly positive” for the coronavirus. Crumley, 71, contacted his doctor two days later. By the afternoon, friends had dropped off a course of Paxlovid, a five-day regimen of antiviral pills that aims to keep people from becoming seriously ill. (Johnson, 4/27)

CNN: Covid-19 Cases That Return After Paxlovid Antiviral Treatment Puzzle Doctors

The pink line on Erin Blakeney’s first positive Covid-19 test was so light that she almost didn’t believe it. But there was no denying the fever and sore throat that developed overnight, just a few days after she and her husband attended a large memorial service in late March. The couple wore KN95 masks , but many others in attendance had not, even as the service stretched past 90 minutes. Blakeney, a 43-year-old researcher at the University of Washington’s School of Nursing, is a breast cancer survivor. The Seattle resident says she doesn’t meet any strict definition of being immunocompromised, which can raise someone’s Covid-19 risk. Both Blakeney and her husband are fully vaccinated and boosted. But she didn’t want to take chances, because she’s taking medications to prevent a cancer recurrence and she lost a family member to Covid-19 in November 2020. (Goodman, 4/27)

NBC News: Covid Symptoms May Return After Taking Paxlovid Antiviral Pills, In Rare Cases

With mostly just anecdotal reports coming out, questions remain as to whether people whose Covid symptoms return shortly after they take Paxlovid are contagious and should keep isolating to avoid passing the virus to others. For those who do experience a second round of symptoms, the sudden shift can also leave them anxious about whether they should seek further treatment. (Ryan, 4/27)

Also —

The Wall Street Journal: You Can Get Covid Twice, But What Are The Odds?

There’s a good chance you’ll get Covid more than once. Covid-19 reinfections are more common and can happen within a shorter window of time than doctors previously thought possible, recent research suggests. … Data from the UK government found that reinfections were 10 times higher during the recent Omicron outbreak compared with the earlier Delta outbreak between May and December last year. People who were unvaccinated, younger and lived in areas the study described as more deprived were more likely to be reinfected between July 2020 and March 2022. (Reddy, 4/27)

CBS News: “I Really Felt A Difference”: How Increasing Access To Paxlovid Could Help America Get Out Of The COVID Pandemic

Ashley Ballou Bonnema tested positive for COVID-19 on Easter weekend. As someone with cystic fibrosis, she knew it could be bad. Her medical team prescribed her Pfizer’s Paxlovid antiviral pills, which can reduce the risk of becoming severely ill. She took two pills a day for five days and said she noticed a change right away. “Within the first 24 hours, I really felt a difference,” she told CBS News’ Nancy Cordes. (4/26)

Stat: How Paxlovid Came To Be: From Idea To A Vital Tool Against Covid

Charlotte Allerton, Pfizer’s head of medicine design, was making dinner — omelets — with her teenage children when she got a call from the one of company’s top development officers. He was calling with interim results from the study of an experimental antiviral for Covid-19. She pushed the food to one side and went upstairs. “It’s like any piece of news that you’re expecting,” she said. “You can kind of tell just from the way the person speaks.” She went directly to work. (Herper, 4/28)

In other covid research news —

Los Angeles Times: More Kids Hit By Upper Airway Infections During Omicron Surge

During the winter Omicron surge, hospitalized coronavirus-positive children were more likely to be hit with COVID-related upper airway infections than at other times of the pandemic, putting them at greater risk of severe disease, new data suggest. One study found that the rate of upper airway infections — such as a type of bronchitis known as crup — among hospitalized coronavirus-infected children nearly tripled during the Omicron era. (Lin II and Money, 4/27)

CIDRAP: European Studies Shed Light On Long COVID Risk And Recovery

Researchers from the Luxembourg Institute of Health surveyed 289 people about whether they had any of 64 common long COVID symptoms 1 year after they tested positive. Patients were also asked about their sleep quality and the effect of respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath on quality of life. Average patient age was 40.2 years, and 50.2% were women. The researchers found that 6 in 10 patients (59.5%) had at least one COVID-19 symptom, and that symptoms that don’t resolve by 15 weeks are likely to persist for at least a year. One in seven participants (14.2%) indicated that they couldn’t fathom coping with their symptoms long term. The most common symptoms were fatigue, shortness of breath, and irritability. (Van Beusekom, 4/27)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: COVID-19 Research Facility In Brookhaven Aims To Develop Better Tests

Georgia researchers are looking to put COVID-19 tests to the test. Several metro Atlanta healthcare institutions partnered to open a research center in Brookhaven on Wednesday with the goal of improving rapid COVID tests — both for at-home use and by local physicians. The doctors in charge of the program hope false test results — either from user error or outdated technology — will become a thing of the past. The facility sees Atlanta leading the charge to improve existing tests, detect new variants and make them easier to use for non-medical professionals. (Hansen, 4/28)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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