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‘Likely’ cause of coronavirus reinfections

September 1, 2020

Researchers at the University of Nevada in Reno reported what they say is a likely case of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection in a 25-year-old man who tested positive for the virus on April 18 and again on June 6. The findings were published as a preprint study in The Lancet on Aug. 27. (A preprint is the preliminary publication of research that has not yet been peer-reviewed but has become a common way to disseminate medical findings during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.) Scientists have also reported one-off instances of reinfection in individuals outside the U.S. in recent weeks, notably in Hong Kong. Media outlets have also reported that Belgium and The Netherlands have had cases of reinfection. The patient in Nevada had tested negative twice between the positive tests. He was hospitalized when he tested positive the second time. When the researchers in Nevada sequenced the virus samples, they said there were “two genetically distinct SARS-CoV-2 viruses,” which they say “strongly supports that reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 can occur.”

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