When top U.S. immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, 81, contracted COVID earlier this month, he decided to take Paxlovid, Pfizer’s antiviral for people who are at greater risk of complications.
He had minimal symptoms at first, but took the drug when he began to feel worse. After the five-day course of the drug, he said he felt “really quite well” for a while, aside from some fatigue and a bit of congestion.
“However, after testing negative for three consecutive days, Fauci said he decided to take one more test out of precaution and subsequently found himself positive again on the fourth day,” ABC News reported.
“It was sort of what people are referring to as a Paxlovid rebound,” Fauci said during a remote interview with the Foreign Policy Global Health Forum on Tuesday, ABC reported. “Over the course of the next day, he began to feel ‘really poorly,’ and ‘much worse than in the first go around,’ he added.”
The news site noted that Paxlovid “is authorized in the U.S. for people with mild-to-moderate symptoms of COVID-19, who are at significant risk of progressing to severe illness.”
But Fauci has come out since to dispel doubts about Paxlovid.
“Paxlovid did what it was supposed to do,” Fauci, told The New York Times, adding that the treatment “kept him out of the hospital when he first tested positive for the virus on June 15.” He added that he thought the drug also reduced the severity of his initial symptoms. Fauci reportedly received a second course of Paxlovid after his rebound.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted “the potential for recurrence of Covid-19 or ‘Covid-19 rebound,'” with Paxlovid. “It issued an emergency health advisory that described the phenomenon as “a recurrence of symptoms or a new positive viral test after having tested negative” when the initial diagnosis was in the past two weeks,” the Times reported.
Fauci’s comments came shortly after a panel of independent advisers that works with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended producing new COVID vaccines to target the Omicron variant.
By a 19-2 vote, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) approved a plan to have new vaccines ready by early October. The panel said the newly formulated vaccines are needed because new subvariants of the Omicron strain appear to be able to bypass antibodies delivered via previous vaccines.
That would mean Americans could be urged to take a fourth shot, with fifth shots for the immunocompromised and people over 50 years old.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.