Fast Five Quiz: Risk Factors for SARS-CoV-2 Reinfection

Enrico Brunetti, MD


April 14, 2023

Higher levels of immunity contribute to the lesser COVID severity observed with infection caused by emerging Omicron subvariants. Reinfections with SARS-CoV-2 are typically less severe than initial infections, although severe illness can still occur. Meta-analyses have shown that primary infections provide protection against reinfection and reduce the risk for symptomatic infection and severe illness for some period of time. In addition, reinfection did not contribute to an increased risk for hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, or death. Hybrid immunity in those with a history of infection as well as vaccination appears to provide the best protection against the risk for severe illness.

Although SARS-CoV-2 infection provides protection through acquired immunity, it also carries the risk for severe illness. In addition, vaccination with mRNA vaccines provide over 70% protection against hospitalization and death in breakthrough confirmed Omicron infections.

Learn more about COVID-19 severity.


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