WHO: No Evidence COVID-19 Survivors Cannot Be Reinfected
Meanwhile, active ingredient in heartburn medication, famotidine, is being tested as a COVID-19 treatment
MONDAY, April 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- There is "no evidence" that people who have recovered from COVID-19 cannot be reinfected with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, according to the World Health Organization.
The agency said that even though survivors have antibodies to COVID-19, they may not provide adequate protection against a second infection, CBS News reported. The WHO issued the warning as the United States and a number of other countries consider issuing people who have recovered from COVID-19 with "immunity passports" or "risk-free certificates" that would allow them to return to work and other activities, based on the assumption that they are immune to COVID-19. But the WHO said issuing such documentation could increase the spread of COVID-19, CBS News reported, stating that: "There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection."
Meanwhile, COVID-19 patients at some New York hospitals are receiving a heartburn medicine as part of a clinical trial. The patients are being given famotidine, the active ingredient in Pepcid, and early results from the trial could be available in the next few weeks, according to Kevin Tracey, M.D., president of Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health, which has 23 hospitals in the New York City area, CNN reported. The clinical trial has 187 patients so far, with the goal of enrolling 1,200, Tracey said.
Tracey and his colleagues decided to assess the use of famotidine in COVID-19 patients after observations in China that some patients taking the drug had better outcomes than those not taking the drug, CNN reported. "We don't know if it has any benefit. We really don't," Tracey said. "People are hoping for anything. But we need to do this clinical trial." He noted that the patients in the clinical trial are in the hospital receiving mega-doses of famotidine intravenously -- doses about nine times greater than a person would normally take for heartburn, CNN reported.
Six new symptoms of COVID-19 have been added to a list from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new symptoms include: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. Previously listed symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Also on the list: emergency warning signs that a case of COVID-19 requires immediate medical attention. These warning signs include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, any new confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face, the CDC said.