After testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed Wednesday he’s experiencing a “rebound” of coronavirus symptoms after taking Pfizer’s antiviral drug Paxlovid.
Fauci, 81, contracted COVID-19 about two weeks ago and initially experienced mild symptoms from the disease. He is fully vaccinated and has been boosted twice. But when his symptoms worsened because of his advanced age, doctors prescribed a five-day regimen of Paxlovid to treat him.
Paxlovid is a COVID-19 pill manufactured by Pfizer that has received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat people at high risk of severe disease. The drug showed an 89% reduction in risk of hospitalization and death among COVID-19 patients in clinical trials and has been described as a “game changer” for the pandemic.
Following his Paxlovid treatment, Fauci reported that he felt “really quite well” and had tested negative for COVID, according to ABC News.
However, Fauci revealed Tuesday that he has tested positive for COVID again after testing negative for three consecutive days.
“It was sort of what people are referring to as a Paxlovid rebound,” Fauci said while speaking via teleconference to the Foreign Policy Global Health Forum.
Fauci said he began to feel “really poorly” and “much worse than in the first go-around.”
He has begun a second course of Paxlovid to treat his symptoms.
Several coronavirus patients have reported a similar “rebound” of symptoms after taking Paxlovid, which has prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a health advisory on the matter.
“Paxlovid continues to be recommended for early-stage treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 among persons at high risk for progression to severe disease,” the CDC said on May 24.
“A brief return of symptoms may be part of the natural history of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection in some persons, independent of treatment with Paxlovid and regardless of vaccination status,” the agency advised.
The CDC said those reporting a “Paxlovid rebound” had mild symptoms and that there were no reports of severe disease after taking the drug.
“There is currently no evidence that additional treatment is needed with Paxlovid or other anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapies in cases where COVID-19 rebound is suspected,” the CDC said.
Fauci, who has served as the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases for more than three decades, is one of many people who have tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated.