President Biden on Saturday announced that he tested positive for COVID again. He had been negative. Like many people, he apparently now has the Paxlovid rebound. Paxlovid is a medication that eligible patients can take in the early days of a COVID infection to lessen the severity of the disease. Why it causes a rebound in some patients is still a mystery. Now some doctors are leery of prescribing it.
Rebound may occur in 6-8% of people who take an antiviral, according to estimates from large databases, says Kalpana Gupta, chief of infectious diseases and associated chief of staff at VA Boston Healthcare systems.
She explains that antivirals do suppress the virus so people feel better, and tests become negative when people take the drugs. Five days of Paxlovid also prevents hospitalization and death from COVID. Days later, if rebound happens, some symptoms return or the test becomes positive.
“The question is: Is it that their immune response just didn't have enough time to completely suppress that virus and take care of the infection? That's the leading theory at this point.”
Ultimately, she says, “The rebound is a nuisance. The hospitalization or death from COVID-19 is something that we all very much need to avoid and obviously mitigate with these new agents.”