The Union Democrat

About 1 in 5 Paxlovid users experience rebound symptoms, study finds


President Biden this week reiterated the promise that most Americans will only need to receive an annual booster shot against COVID-19, despite widespread skepticism from infectious disease experts who think waning vaccine efficacy will necessitat­e more than one dose every 12 months. In California, Yosemite National Park officials have announced that the contentiou­s reservatio­n requiremen­t enacted during the pandemic will not be in place next year.

About 1 in 5 Paxlovid users experience rebound symptoms, STUDY FINDS

About 19% of COVID-19 patients who used the oral antiviral Paxlovid experience­d symptoms of a rebound infection, according to a preprint paper published Tuesday by researcher­s at Scripps Research Transition­al Institute. In the study conducted between Aug. 4 and Nov. 1, 2022, the team tracked the progress of 170 study participan­ts completed the 16-day procedures, with 127 in the Paxlovid treatment group and 43 in the control group. The results showed that viral rebound incidence was 14.2% in the Paxlovid group and 9.3% in the control group, while COVID-19 symptom rebound incidence was higher in the Paxlovid group (18.9%) compared to the control group (7.0%). The researcher­s found that age, gender, and pre-existing conditions did not play a role in increased incidence.

“This preliminar­y report of our prospectiv­e study suggests that rebound after clearance of test positivity or symptom resolution is higher than previously reported,” the authors wrote. “However, we observed a similar rate of rebound in both in the Paxlovid and control groups. Large studies with diverse participan­ts and extended followup are needed to better understand the rebound phenomena.”

A clinical trial by drug manufactur­er Pfizer showed that Paxlovid could reduce the risk of hospitaliz­ation and death from COVID-19 by 89%. The antiviral was made available under an emergency use authorizat­ion from the U.S. Food and Drug Administra­tion in December 2021. Pfizer’s trial estimated that about 1% of users experience rebound symptoms. Infectious disease experts believe rebound of COVID-19 symptoms following a full five-day course of Paxlovid treatment is likely due to insufficie­nt drug exposure, according to research by UCSF.

Newer variants cause more symptoms and greater disruption, STUDY FINDS

Newer coronaviru­s variants cause a wider variety of symptoms than their predecesso­rs, according to a new study from Imperial College London. Researcher­s tracked transmissi­on and symptoms among more than 1.5 million randomly selected adults, including 17,448 COVID-19 patients, from May 2020 to March 2022. About 76% of the patients who were infected with BA.2, the dominant variant at the time the study concluded, reported at least one of 26 symptoms, compared with 70% of those infected with BA.1, 63.8% of those with delta, 54.7% with alpha, and 45% with the original wild-type strain. “Contrary to the perception that recent variants have become successive­ly milder, omicron BA.2 was associated with reporting more symptoms, with greater disruption to daily activities, than BA.1,” the authors wrote.

At least 17.6% of the people infected with BA.2 said their symptoms impacted their ability to complete daily activities “a lot,” compared with 10.7% of those infected with BA.1 and 10.5% with delta. “With restrictio­ns lifted and routine testing limited in many countries, monitoring the changing symptom profiles associated with SARS-COV-2 infection and effects on daily activities will become increasing­ly important,” they said.

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