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COVID-19 is Recurring in Patients Who Took Pfizer's Antiviral & Doctors Don't Know Why
The FDA approved Paxlovid as a valid treatment for COVID-19 in December 2021, following a clinical trial run by Pfizer which showed that unvaccinated patients treated with Paxlovid were 89% less likely to see their coronavirus infection develop into the serious stages that could lead to death. However, some patients who completed their course of Paxlovid are experiencing a return of COVID-19 symptoms and testing positive once more.
When 31-year-old Michael Henry got his COVID symptoms back, every line of communication — including his doctor, his local COVID information line, and a health insurance nurse — provided him with different answers. This highlights how important it is for the CDC and/or the FDA to set up official guidelines in case these rebound cases continue to come up.
Dr. Michael Charness, the chief of staff at the VA Boston Healthcare System, also noted that a fully vaccinated and boosted 71-year-old man’s symptoms disappeared two days after taking Paxlovid, but once the course ended, the man got sick for four days. The man didn't develop a resistance to Paxlovid, and he was not re-infected — it was the same infection re-emerging.
While Dr. Charness speculates that Paxlovid suppresses the symptoms of the coronavirus, compromising the system's immune response, Dr. Timothy Brewer from the University of California says that remnants of the coronavirus may be found in parts of the body inaccessible to Paxlovid — such as the blood-brain barrier — making patients sick before going away.
Although Brewer suggests that some patients just don't receive enough of the drug in order to be rid of the virus, doctors are unable to prescribe more at their own discretion, as it's not yet fully FDA-approved. If nothing else, patients who experience a COVID relapse can use the CDC’s quarantine calculator to help determine how much longer they need to isolate themselves.