Why every corona infection carries another risk
Fear of coronavirus infection has decreased in the population. But research from the US shows that we should continue to take the virus seriously.
There is almost nowhere where face masks are still mandatory, individual federal states cancel the obligation of isolation in case of corona infection – these relaxed rules, however, do not mean that the virus should be considered completely harmless. It’s not just a cold, as virologist Sandra Ciesek recently pointed out on Twitter. The results of the American study also show that multiple infections with the coronavirus are associated with significant health risks.
Scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis examined anonymized medical records of American veterans. The researchers evaluated data from approximately 41,000 people who had two or more coronavirus infections between March 1, 2020, and April 6, 2022. As controls, 443,000 people who had Covid-19 only once and 5.3 million people, who have not yet been infected with the coronavirus.
Another coronavirus infection increases the risk of health problems
Their result: Reinfected corona patients had more than twice the risk of death and more than three times the risk of hospitalization compared to patients who were infected with Covid-19 only once. The researchers also found an increased risk of problems with the heart, lungs, kidneys, mental health, bones, muscles and neurological disorders.
Different corona variants were considered in the study: delta, omicron and omicron subline BA.5. Results are independent of vaccination status.
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“Our research clearly showed that a second, third or fourth infection contributes to additional health risks in the acute phase, i.e. the first 30 days after infection, and in the following months, i.e. the long phase of Covid.”, study leader Ziyad Al-Aly he said in a statement about the study. In recent months, vaccinations and infections have made some people feel invincible, but the study results paint a different picture. The risk of health problems seems to increase with each infection. For the researcher, it is clear: “It is better to avoid a third coronavirus infection, even if you have already had two Covid 19 infections. And if you have had three infections, it is best to avoid a fourth.”
However, the study has a limiting element: The population from the veterans database does not correspond to the general population, experts say “Reuters”. Because: Patients at US Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities tend to be older, sicker people, and often male. A group that has more health complications than usual, said John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.
However, the study concluded that reinfection itself is no less dangerous than the first infection with Covid 19. However, in people with a healthy immune system, repeated infection with Covid-19 is usually milder. However, this depends on the variant and the time of reinfection, said Martina Prelog, an immunologist from the University Hospital in Würzburg, in an interview for FN Motol. stern.
Sources: Natural Medicine Study, Study Announcement, Reuters, Twitter