The man was ill with COVID for more than 400 days: scientists explained why this happened

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Man had been ill with COVID for more than 400 days: scientists explained why this happened

The virus was first detected in a 59-year-old man in February 2021, and the test showed a negative result only 411 days later.

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The coronavirus pandemic has been raging on Earth for several years – during this time, scientists managed to learn a lot about virus and its strains, but it still never ceases to amaze researchers, writes Science Alert.

A team led by infectious disease physician and the Guy and St. Thomas Foundation Trust Guy and St. Thomas Luke Blagdon Snell is investigating persistent infections in immunocompromised people. Through research, they try to figure out which mutations occur and whether new ones appear over time.

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In their new report, Snell and colleagues described six of the most notable cases. The most curious of them was the story of a 59-year-old man who had been ill with covid for more than 400 days.

The virus was first detected in a man in February 2021. His immune system was weakened after a kidney transplant, and therefore the patient's body could not completely clear the virus.

Scientists note that he experienced mild and intermittent symptoms, and therefore was not suitable for the treatment used in the treatment severe cases of COVID-19. In January 2022, the researchers conducted another test and it again showed a positive result for covid. Each time, the same variant of the virus was found in the man – B.1.177.18

Studies have shown that over time, the virus formed a set of mutations at a rate that is quite expected for SARS-CoV-2. Scientists did not find anything unusual – it only emphasized the tendency of the virus to change shape.

Medics puzzled for a long time until they discovered that the 59-year-old patient had a chronic infection. After that, he was prescribed a combined treatment with monoclonal antibodies, which is very effective against early strains. As a result, after 411 days, the patient finally managed to completely cleanse the body of covid.

Snell and colleagues note that cases of chronic infection are quite rare, and therefore they are difficult to treat. The fact is that the constant identification of new variants makes neutralizing antibody therapy ineffective.

Scientists note that some people with weakened immune systems are still at risk of serious illness and permanent infection. Researchers continue to work to understand how best to protect and treat these patients.