Catching Covid-19 multiple times increases the risk of serious complications

We know today that it is possible to catch Covid-19 several times. On the other hand, little is known about the consequences of repeated infections. Does it increase the risk of death, hospitalizations or complications for patients?

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is an extremely studied virus around the world. Since its discovery, a very large number of scientific articles have been published about it. If the virus is better and better known, it has not finished revealing all its mysteries. It has been perfectly demonstrated that a first contamination increases the risk of death and sequelae in many organs compared to a person who has never been infected. Contrary to what we believed at the beginning, it is quite possible to be infected several times by the virus or by one of its variants. It has never been demonstrated whether new infections in the same person further increase the risk of death or complications. It is to this question that the authors of a study published recently in the prestigious journal Nature tried to answer.

A cohort was formed, made up of 443,588 individuals who had been infected only once with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, 40,947 individuals who had been infected several times (two or more) and 5,334,729 people who have never been infected with the virus. The endpoints were assessed at six months and were as follows: death, hospitalizations and sequelae in various organs.

Being infected more than once increases the risk of death and complications

Compared to people infected only once, people who were infected with the virus multiple times had an increased risk of death, hospitalizations and complications. Complications were of pulmonary, cardiovascular, haematological, gastrointestinal, hormonal (diabetes), renal, psychiatric, musculoskeletal and neurological origin. The risk was even more marked in the acute phase, even if it persists in the subacute phase (six months after infection or reinfection). The risk was dependent on the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections: the more the number of contaminations increases, the greater the risk of death, hospitalizations and complications.

What about people’s vaccination status?

People’s vaccination status did not protect them against the increased risk associated with a new infection. To reduce the impact of Covid-19 on the health of populations, these new data suggest that significant efforts must be made to ensure that individuals do not contaminate themselves and do not re-contaminate themselves. These are of course barrier gestures: wearing a mask in very busy closed places and public transport – as recommended by the Academy of Medicine – but also frequent washing of hands or, failing that, use of hydro-alcoholic gel, and social distancing.

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