A person who tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK has all tested positive for more than 16 months. Doctors say this is the longest recorded case of Covid.
The patient, who also had other medical conditions and was not named, died in the hospital where he was treated in 2021.
Doctors in London say persistent infections like this are still rare.
It is known that many people recover from the virus naturally. However, the patient in question had a severely weakened immune system.
Experts say that chronic infections, like this patient, need to be studied to improve our knowledge of COVID and to understand the risks it may pose.
INFECTED IN EARLY 2020
The patient first contracted COVID in early 2020. After his symptoms, the test was also positive.
During the next 72 weeks, the patient was hospitalized multiple times for routine checkups and care.
The patient, who was tested each time, turned out to be positive in about 50 tests over the course of 505 days.
Doctors at King’s College London and London’s Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital say detailed laboratory analysis has revealed the patient has persistent infection.
The patient could not get rid of the infection even after being given antiviral drugs.
DIFFERENT FROM LONG COVID
This is different from what’s known as “long Covid,” where symptoms persist for a long time despite the body getting rid of the virus.
Describing the findings at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Luke Blagdon Snell told the BBC:
“Each of the throat swab tests came back positive every time. The patient never tested negative. We can say it’s a persistent infection.”
Researchers say long-term infections are rare but important because they can lead to new strains of COVID-19. However, that did not happen in this case.
Stating that long-term infections can cause new mutations, Dr. “Some of these patients we studied have mutations in certain variants that are worrisome,” Snell said.
Adding that people with chronic infections may not transmit the virus to others, Dr. Snell stressed that none of the nine patients they checked produced a new dangerous variant.