How can patients have ‘rebound’ COVID symptoms following Paxlovid?

DENVER (KDVR) — President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID again after treatment with the anti-viral drug Paxlovid, health experts are calling it a “rebound” case. Local health professionals said this has happened with patients in Colorado too.

“That is fairly uncommon, but it is documented and has happened to a few people,” Dr. Carrie Horn, chief medical officer at National Jewish Health said.

Horn said less than 10% of people have a rebound case after taking Paxlovid. She said the treatment doesn’t kill the virus but prevents it from making more copies of itself.

“The two different pills, one of them interferes with the virus’s ability to make more copies of itself and the other is a booster drug so it allows it to be more affective and last longer,” Horn said.

She said she has had patients express mild symptoms following the treatment but they didn’t go and get tested again.

“I have seen people have rebound symptoms, but a lot of people don’t bother testing. The president is in a different situation where he is being tested regularly and that isn’t the norm for others,” Horn said.

Horn said the symptoms are mostly mild. She said it’s often a mental thought of people thinking they were getting better, taking the treatment, then getting sick again.

She said now with the new COVID BA.5 variant, health officials suggest testing sooner if you start to feel sick again. The new timeline is 30 days compared to waiting 90 days to re-test with previous variants.

“If you have symptoms and you get better, then on day 31 that changes and you get new symptoms, it would be worth testing again,” Horn said.

Right now, the CDC recommends people who’ve tested positive for COVID to isolate for five days. Horn said if you feel good after the five days, you can go back around people but should wear a mask until you hit the 10-day mark because you can still spread the virus.

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