For those who once tested positive for covid-19, in these times of omicron subvariants spreading like dust in the wind, it may be necessary to review that story that it’s all the better if you happen to catch the virus again. After all — some might think —, the organism would already be immunized or, who knows, a possible new infection would have few symptoms, like the other time.
However, a study published last week in the scientific journal nature warns: if I were you, I wouldn’t put so much faith in it and I’d take better care of myself. Because an encore of Sars-Cov-2 can be worse than the first contact he had with this virus, causing more damage from head to toe, as if they were able to accumulate somehow.
The authors, who are from the University of Washington and Veterans Research and Education Foundation, in the United States, state that if you compare those who only had covid-19 once with those who were reinfected with the coronavirus, the risk of heart and lung problems, diabetes, kidney disease, neurological dysfunctions and other troubles — the list made for them, unfortunately, it is big – it becomes much bigger in the group that tested positive more than once. And, mind you, this was noticed even when the scientists put people who took the vaccine side by side.
The threat of ending up in the hospital and dying from covid-19 or from one of these complications up to six — six! — months later it also seems to increase in those who are reinfected.
Is it possible to believe this and be afraid without reservations? No of course not. The work has several aspects that make us question whether what he thought would actually happen to anyone in the same way. But it’s also not one to shrug off. Its results are a plea for everyone to be more cautious.
How was the study
The researchers pored over the data of more than 5 million people assisted by the network that takes care of the health of American veterans. Of them, 443 thousand were diagnosed with covid-19 once. Another 40,900 caught Sars-CoV-2 two or more times.
“The work has a powerful statistical force due to the size of the studied population”, notes André Báfica, who is an associate professor of immunology at UFSC (Federal University of Santa Catarina), where his laboratory investigates the mechanisms of our defense system in the face of infections.
For him, the question raised by American colleagues is extremely important. This is because, to date, despite the fact that more than half a billion people have officially contracted the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, and that number should be even higher, the impact of reinfections on the body is barely known.
“The alarming information they present is the following: the number of infections by Sars-CoV-2 in an individual is associated with an increased risk of pathologies in various organs in the long term. That is, this danger increases with the number of reinfections” , comments the immunologist, one of the most respected in the country in the search for solutions to covid-19.
“That means”, he continues, “that there would be a cumulative effect. Therefore, having a second infection is more serious for your health than just having one and, even worse than catching covid-19 twice, the disease three times or more.”
Even after the vaccine
The people analyzed in the study were divided into three large groups. One of them was that of those who managed to get through the pandemic unscathed and had not been diagnosed with covid-19 until that moment. The second was those who caught the disease only once and, finally, there was the group who got reinfected later. In the latter, the researchers even differentiated who had the infection two, three or — wow! — four times or more.
So, they cross-checked the records of the problems that all these people experienced over the course of six months from the moment they tested positive in the health service for the first time or in the reinfection, but always using as a control group, or parameter, those lucky ones who never knew what it was like to be with a Sars-CoV-2.
The comparison was always made after they pointed out how many out of every thousand individuals in each of these groups were caught with diabetes, clotting problems and other hematological issues, heart disease and much more.
The work’s graphs make it clear that the risk for any of the listed ailments, not to mention the threat of dying, always increases among those who contracted the coronavirus in relation to those who escaped covid-19. And it grows as the number of reinfections rises.
With vaccinated people, this pattern was no different. Does this then mean that the vaccine would not work? I can already imagine the cloud of this question passing over your heads and I answer: none of that!
This means that, if you compare those who were vaccinated with those who were not vaccinated, the risk of serious conditions is invariably much lower in the first group. However, despite this, if you compare vaccinated people with each other, you will see that the danger of having a problem is always greater among those who, often due to overconfidence, were somehow careless and contracted the virus multiple times. How, if you doubt it, we are seeing it now, with people without masks in closed places and leaving gel alcohol for their hands forgotten in some corner.