UVA Health looks at “COVID rebound” in patients who took Paxlovid


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – COVID-19 case numbers are rising and for some of those infected, it’s not their first time.

Some people are getting COVID-19 again, just days after they thought they were in the clear. Doctors say this is mainly happening to patients who completed the drug Paxlovid. It is Pfizer’s treatment recommended for patients who are at a higher health risk, which can be either underlying conditions or age.

“It would certainly suggest that the virus is now replicating again,” Dr. Costi Sifri with UVA Health said. “The frequency that occurs and why it occurs are the paramount questions right now that we’re all investigating and certainly what the CDC and you know, in Pfizer are taking a look at right now.”

Doctors are calling this, “COVID rebound.”

“Maybe like somewhere between like, day seven to day 12 everything gets worse again. So you get like those cold and flu symptoms,” Dr. Bill Petri with UVA Health said.

Although Dr. Petri says the studies are ongoing about the cause of this sort of rebound, they do have some speculations now.

“Is it that there’s sort of a reservoir of a small amount of virus that’s able to sort of come back out after a treatment course? It’s maybe not enough to lead to a positive antigen test, it’s maybe enough that you’re, you’re not transmissible, but it serves as a reservoir, and then and then comes back,” Dr. Sifri said.

He says the drug is still about 90% effective in preventing hospitalization for high risk patients, when they have COVID-19.

“I’m carrying around in my back pocket that thought that it’s occurring probably in one to 10 to one in 20 people who complete a course of Paxlovid,” Dr. Sifri said.

He says Paxlovid is still a useful tool and it is saving lives. He says since the patients have some immunity in them, they are not likely to be hospitalized. Although, patients should still isolate if they get COVID rebound to help protect others.

Doctors remind everyone to get vaccinated, stay up to date with those boosters, and isolate if you’re sick so we can limit the more severe cases.

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