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Solving COVID

Researchers confirm 1st case of coronavirus reinfection in the U.S.

Contracting the coronavirus isn't just a one-time threat.

After it seemed some people who'd recovered from COVID-19 could contract the virus a second time, researchers in Hong Kong confirmed a reinfection for the first time earlier this week. Researchers in Nevada reported Friday that they'd also confirmed a reinfection in the U.S., and that the patient still experienced severe symptoms when contracting the virus again.

A 25-year-old Reno, Nevada, man tested positive for COVID-19 back in April after showing mild symptoms of the virus. He then tested positive for the virus again in May and developed more severe symptoms as a result of a second, separate infection, according to a study released Friday that has yet to be peer reviewed. The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory confirmed it wasn't just the first infection reemerging in this case because the second virus had a different genetic strain than the first.

The reinfection will have big implications for coronavirus vaccine developers worldwide, especially given how severe this case was compared to the one in Hong Kong. Promising vaccines have so far produced COVID-19 antibodies in human trials, but these cases of reinfection suggest the antibodies gained from catching COVID-19 don't necessarily guarantee immunity or even lessen the virus' symptoms the second time around.