Biden's 'rebound' COVID not common but not serious, White House says
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden continued to test positive for COVID-19 Monday as he deals with a rebound infection days after finishing his treatment of the at-home antiviral therapy Paxlovid.
Biden’s COVID-19 coordinator has stressed that rebounds are usually not serious, or common, though it’s not clear how often they occur.
Biden first tested positive for COVID-19 Saturday, three days after he had twice tested negative. He also tested positive Sunday and Monday.
Biden, 79, had received a five-day treatment of Paxlovid, given to those at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Some people who have received Paxlovid have gotten rebound COVID-19 infections, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser.
What we know about rebound infections
Rebound COVID-19 infections can happen as soon as a few days after testing negative.
While “in Twitter world,” it seems like most people treated with Paxlovid had rebound infections, the actual rate is probably around 5%, according to Dr. Ashish Jha, Biden’s COVID response coordinator.
Most people aren’t tested as often as the president, Jha said in a series of tweets Monday. Biden’s symptoms hadn’t returned but he continued to be tested “to be extra careful,” according to Jha.
It's not clear whether a rebound after taking the antiviral Paxlovid is any different than a rebound without the drug. In the trial that led to Paxlovid's authorization, 2% of those who took the medication and nearly the same percentage of those who didn't experienced rebounds.
Catching a rebound infection is important in part because Biden could potentially be contagious. He has returned to isolation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that people who test positive for COVID-19 again after taking the drug Paxlovid should isolate for another five days.
But Biden should still be protected from developing a serious illness, according to Jha.
What they are saying
“Worth remembering: rebound largely doesn't lead to serious illness,” Jha tweeted Monday. “So rebound is not Paxlovid failure.”
“The president continues to feel well as he starts his week,” Dr. Kevin O’Connor, the president’s physician, said in a statement Monday.
"Reminder that rebound is something that can happen but isn’t a reason to avoid a treatment that achieved its desired outcome—to avoid severe disease," Dr. Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University, tweeted.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden's rebound COVID not common but not serious, White House says