Dr. Fauci Takes Second Course of Paxlovid After Experiencing COVID-19 Rebound

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, 81, says his "interesting course" with COVID-19 is becoming "more and more typical."

Fauci, who regularly gets tested for COVID, continued to swab after completing his five-day course of the Pfizer antiviral, Paxlovid, earlier this month. He tested negative for three consecutive days. On the fourth day, he "reverted back to positive," he told Foreign Policy's Global Health Forum.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says when he tested positive again, he progressively started to feel "much worse than the first go around," referring to his mild symptoms when he contracted COVID-19 two weeks ago. Due to the worsening of symptoms, Fauci started another pack of Paxlovid.

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On Tuesday, Fauci confirmed that he was on his fourth day of his "second course of Paxlovid." He added that he is "not complete[ly] without symptoms" but does not "feel acutely ill."

"It was sort of what people are referring to as a 'Paxlovid rebound,'" Fauci said.

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In May, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory to update healthcare providers on Paxlovid rebound cases. In the advisory, the CDC stated that "Paxlovid treatment helps prevent hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. COVID-19 rebound has been reported to occur between 2 and 8 days after initial recovery and is characterized by a recurrence of COVID-19 symptoms or a new positive viral test after having tested negative."

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The CDC recommends that "people with COVID-19 rebound should follow CDC recommendations regarding isolation of infected patients regardless of treatment with an antiviral agent and/or previous isolation after the initial infection."

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On Wednesday, Fauci, who is fully vaccinated and doubly boosted, clarified to The New York Times that, "Paxlovid did what it was supposed to do," by reducing the severity of symptoms which ultimately kept him out of the hospital.

According to the CDC, "Paxlovid continues to be recommended for early-stage treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 among persons at high risk for progression to severe diseases."