A Seattle area nursing home resident is the third known patient in the world to be reinfected with COVID-19, researchers said.
The unidentified patient, who is in their 60s, has contracted a slightly different strain more than four months after initially being hospitalized with the virus, news station KIRO reported.
But this time around, the patient only suffered from very mild symptoms and has since made a full recovery.
“Most of the cases are more mild the second time around,” said Dr. Jason Goldman, head of the COVID Research Team at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.
“So even if the immune system has even failed to prevent a second infection, it does seem to be limiting the severity the second time around.”
The only other conformed cases of reinfection were a 35-year-old man in Hong Kong, and a 25-year-old man in Reno, Nevada.
“Most cases had four or more months from the first infection to the second, so that may be an inflection point, where immunity might start to wane” Goldman told KIRO.
Goldman said researchers are still trying to understand how long coronavirus antibodies last, but this new case could help provide some more insight.
“We still have a lot to learn about this virus and the [amount of] immunity we need to protect ourselves from it,” he said.