CDC director tests positive for COVID-19 again in case of Paxlovid rebound

CDC director tests positive for COVID-19 again in case of Paxlovid rebound

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has again tested positive for COVID-19 after completing a series of Paxlovid coronavirus antiviral treatments.

Walensky tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, self-isolating and taking “appropriate measures” for her health.

On Monday, the CDC said Walensky experienced “mild symptoms” during her infection and ultimately tested negative for the virus after completing a round of Paxlovid.

“On Sunday, Dr Walensky began to develop mild symptoms and tested positive again. In accordance with CDC guidelines, she is self-isolating at home and will participate in her scheduled meetings virtually,” the agency said.

This apparent case of Paxlovid’s rebound is not surprising. White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci and President Biden have both tested positive for COVID-19 again after a round of Paxlovid.

A similar phenomenon has been observed in the coronavirus antiviral molnupiravir from Merck and Ridgeback. COVID-19 rebound can also occur when antivirals are not administered.

When a rebound of COVID-19 symptoms after antiviral treatments was first observed, it was speculated that it was due to insufficient exposure to the drug. This assumption has led some stakeholders to propose courses of antivirals lasting longer than the five days currently allowed by the CDC.

However, a small study recently conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that COVID-19 rebound may instead be caused by a “robust” immune response to “residual viral RNA” in the airways.

“The results do not support the hypothesis that the five-day course of Paxlovid is too short for the body to mount a strong immune response to SARS-CoV-2,” the NIH said.

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