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According to the study, re-infection with COVID-19 poses a greater risk compared to the initial infection.

The likelihood of death, hospitalization, and severe health complications due to COVID-19 significantly rises in cases of reinfection compared to the initial encounter with the virus, irrespective of vaccination status, as highlighted in a study released on Thursday (Nov 10). Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis stated that “Reinfection with COVID-19 amplifies the risk of both immediate and prolonged consequences, known as long COVID, which was observed in individuals who were unvaccinated, vaccinated, and received booster shots.”

The study findings were based on data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, which was collected between March 1, 2020, and April 6, 2022. The data included 443,588 patients with one instance of SARS-CoV-2 infection, 40,947 patients with two or more infections, and 5.3 million individuals who were not infected. The majority of the participants in the study were male.

The results revealed that individuals who experienced reinfection had a more than doubled risk of death and a more than tripled risk of hospitalization compared to those who were infected with COVID-19 only once. Furthermore, the reinfected patients exhibited increased risks for various health issues, including lung problems, heart conditions, blood disorders, kidney complications, diabetes, mental health disorders, bone and muscle disorders, and neurological disorders. These findings were published in a report in Nature Medicine.

Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, the leader of the study, emphasized that even individuals who had prior infection and were vaccinated, meaning they had the advantage of double immunity from previous infection and vaccines, were still susceptible to adverse outcomes upon reinfection.