Since Paxlovid got its emergency use authorization in December 2021 for anyone ages 12 and older with a high risk for severe COVID; it might have saved several lives with its approximately 89% reduction in the risk of hospitalization and death. As with several other COVID discoveries during the pandemic, the evaluation of data on its use so far has prompted CDC to issue a Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory to update healthcare providers, public health departments, and the public on the potential for recurrence of COVID-19 or “COVID-19 rebound”.
Although Paxlovid treatment has been proven to 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 test after having tested negative. Although not yet understood, a small study suggested the symptoms are coming from the same virus and not a new infection. The good news is that the rebound cases are very mild albeit they might unknowingly transmit the infection. Despite these observations, the CDC continues to recommend Paxlovid for early-stage treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 among persons with a high risk for severe COVID.