“Virological breakthrough”: Biden’s disease amazed and frightened scientists

US President Joe Biden.

US President Joe Biden.

A photo: REUTERS

In the scientific and medical environment, the event of the last days of July is being discussed: on the 30th, US President Joe Biden received positive test for the coronavirus. It would seem: what is this? The whole world was covered by a wave of another variety of “omicron”. But here’s the catch. A known patient fell ill on 21 July. Has passed or has taken place treatment. July 27 received a negative test and was declared recovered. Three days later, hello again, coronavirus!

Has the covid pandemic created a monster capable of re-infecting those who have just had the disease?! Experts reassure: no. Apparently, the point is in the peculiarities of Biden’s treatment, explained in her telegram channel Russian-American scientist, Doctor of Biology, Professor of the School of Systems Biology at George Mason University (USA) Ancha Baranova.

The President of the United States was given the antiviral drug Paxlovid. This is the development of the Pfizer company, which today is considered most effective medicine to fight coronavirus. The drug has undergone clinical trials in different countries of the world and has proven its ability to actively destroy the COVID-19 pathogen. Due to this, the volunteers recovered faster and in most cases avoided severe complications of the “corona”.

According to the treatment protocol, Paxlovid should be taken on the first days of illness, the course lasts 5 days. Apparently, older people whose body is weakened require a longer period of taking pills, Ancha Baranova believes. For example, 7 days. Otherwise, a virological breakthrough occurs. Simply put, by the 5th day there is little virus in the body, but it is not completely destroyed. At a low concentration of viral particles, the test gives a negative result, the patient is considered healthy. Medicine is no longer given. And the hidden “remnants” begin to multiply again.

The President of the United States was given the antiviral drug Paxlovid.  This is a Pfizer development.

The President of the United States was given the antiviral drug Paxlovid. This is a Pfizer development.

A photo: REUTERS

Such a turn is fraught with at least three dangers.

– Firstly, if a person who has been ill is not tested every day, like Biden, then, having become contagious again, he can transmit the virus to others (how actively, we do not yet know – the viral load in people with a breakthrough infection has not been measured).

– Secondly, if the covid has raised its head again, and the person is sure that he has recovered, then he will continue to carry the infection on his legs (attributing the symptoms to fatigue, stress, etc.). So you can earn dangerous complications on the heart and other organs.

– Thirdly, some scientists have already asked themselves the question: does the virus go through the “survival school” if after treatment it starts to multiply again? In other words, maybe it adapts, acquires resistance and the remaining viral particles will become even better at infecting and even more successfully evading immunity and drugs? There is no answer to this question yet.

However, in any case, therapy for people with poor health, including older patients, obviously should be approached more carefully, experts say. It is possible to change the standard intake regimen, to extend it.


Paxlovid is not registered in Russia. But we have approved two of its analogues – skyvira and mirobivir. The instructions for both drugs say that they need to be taken under the supervision of a doctor for 5 days. Pills have a lot of contraindications and side effects.

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