Biden tests positive for Covid again in ‘rebound’ case

President Biden tested positive for the coronavirus again on Saturday morning, a rebound attributed to the Paxlovid treatment he was taking, but he has not experienced a recurrence of symptoms, the White House doctor said.

Mr. Biden “continues to feel quite well,” said the doctor, Dr. Kevin C. O’Connor, said in a note published by the White House. “This being the case, there is no reason to resume treatment at this stage, but we will obviously continue close observation,” he added.

The positive test, however, means that Mr Biden will resume “strict isolation procedures”, as Dr O’Connor put it, in line with medical advice. The White House said he would no longer make a scheduled trip home to Wilmington, Del., on Sunday or a work trip to Michigan on Tuesday.

Mr Biden first positive test for the virus on July 21. After five days of isolation, he tested negative Tuesday night and returned to the Oval Office on Wednesday, saying his relatively mild case demonstrated progress in battling the virus. But doctors were watching for signs of Paxlovid rebounding and testing him daily ever since. He tested negative on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before Saturday morning’s positive result.

Paxlovid’s rebound has become a source of debate among the scientific community and Covid patients. Initial clinical studies suggested that only about 1-2% of people treated with Paxlovid experience symptoms again. A June study which has not been peer reviewed found that out of 13,644 adults, about 5% tested positive again within 30 days and 6% experienced symptoms again.

But Paxlovid’s anecdotal accounts are bouncing around – including a case involving Dr. Anthony S. Faucithe president’s chief medical adviser – echoed widely, leading many to question whether the reported data was still accurate.

“I think it was to be expected,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, an eminent cardiologist and professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University Hospital. wrote on Twitter on Saturday after the disclosure of the president’s positive test. “Prior data suggesting Paxlovid ‘rebound’ positivity in the low single digits is outdated and with BA.5 is likely 20-40% or even higher.”

In a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published last month which examined the drug’s success in protecting people from severe cases of Covid-19, the researchers wrote that the symptoms of a rebound tended to be milder than those a patient experienced during the first infection and were unlikely to lead to hospitalization.

The CDC has released a emergency health notice in May who said people experiencing a rebound “should restart isolation and self-isolate again” for at least five days, reflecting the agency’s general isolation recommendations for people infected with the virus.

The notice also said the rebound did not represent reinfection with the virus or the development of resistance to Paxlovid.

Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, told reporters when Mr. Biden first tested positive that looking at Twitter, “it feels like everyone world has bounced back, but it turns out there’s actually clinical data out there.”

Large health systems, he said, have shown bouncebacks to be rare, with the percentage of Paxlovid recipients experiencing them “in single digits.”

“When people have bounced back, they don’t end up in the hospital,” Dr Jha said. “They don’t end up particularly sick.” He added: “Paxlovid works very well to prevent serious disease, rebound or no rebound, and that’s why he was offered it. And that’s why the president took it.

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