CDC warns of COVID-19 “rebound” after taking Paxlovid antiviral, but says medicine is still beneficial

As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, Paxlovid is prescribed to try to keep high-risk patients out of the hospital. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns of potential “COVID-19 rebound” after a five-day course of treatment.

“If you take Paxlovid, you may experience recurrent symptoms,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CBS News. “We have not yet seen anyone return with symptoms who had to go to the hospital. So, overall, a milder course.”

After a patient recovers, rebound is reported to occur two to eight days later. Still, the CDC says the benefits of taking Paxlovid far outweigh the risks. Among non-vaccinated people at high risk for serious illness, it reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by nearly 90%, according to the CDC.

Possible causes are being investigated, but a small study suggested that the symptoms come from the same virus and not from a new infection. There is currently no evidence that additional treatment is needed, according to the CDC, and Pfizer, the maker of Paxlovid, does not change its dosing guidelines.

Pfizer said it currently sees a rebound rate of about 2%, but continues to monitor patients

Expert Infectious Diseases David Ho tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a conference on the virus. He took Paxlovid and his symptoms went away, but his symptoms returned days later and he tested positive again.

“I was completely shocked. I did not expect that. And that’s because I had negative tests for six consecutive days, including two PCRs,” Ho, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University, told CBS News.

So far, it seems that the risk is not so great that patients may become very ill again, but that they may unknowingly infect someone else. When COVID-19 returns, Walensky has this advice: “They need to test. They need to put their mask back on. And if their test is positive, start the isolation protocol again.”





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