Home Health News Asymptomatic coronavirus patient shed virus for 70 days: study

Asymptomatic coronavirus patient shed virus for 70 days: study

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  • A 71-year-old hospital patient with leukemia examined constructive for the novel coronavirus in March.
  • She was thought to have remained infectious for at the very least 70 days, in keeping with the lead creator of a latest case study concerning the lady.
  • The case study signifies that immunosuppressed individuals who get the coronavirus may stay contagious for longer than beforehand thought.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

On March 2, a 71-year-old hospital patient with leukemia examined constructive for the novel coronavirus.

On common, COVID-19 sufferers shed infectious virus particles for about eight days. But 70 days after her analysis, the patient was nonetheless shedding infectious particles. By mid-June, greater than 100 days later, the lady was nonetheless testing constructive — which means her body nonetheless contained traces of the virus’ genetic materials.

“We think that at least up to day 70, this patient would have been able to spread the virus to others,” Vincent Munster, a virologist at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, informed Business Insider. Munster is the lead creator of a latest case study concerning the lady.

Because the patient was rapidly remoted in a room, she did not unfold the virus to anybody else.

coronavirus hospital

A nurse placing on protecting gear earlier than tending to a COVID-19 patient on October 21 in Essen, Germany.

Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images


According to Munster’s study, published in the journal Cell earlier this week, the patient’s 70-day interval of infectiousness is the longest such span ever seen in an asymptomatic coronavirus patient. For comparability, the longest-known span of infectious shedding for a symptomatic person is 61 days, in keeping with an October study.

Researchers consider the situation arose as a result of the lady’s weakened immune system was unable to mount a considerable protection in opposition to the virus. Her blood assessments by no means confirmed substantial quantities of antibodies, which in most sufferers assist struggle off infections. But she additionally never developed signs.

Immunocompromised folks battle to struggle the coronavirus

The case study aligns with a rising body of analysis suggesting that immunocompromised folks could shed the brand new coronavirus, whose medical identify is SARS-CoV-2, longer than folks with healthy immune techniques. A June study of 10 immunosuppressed sufferers with the coronavirus discovered that they shed viral particles for a median of 28.4 days. People with often functioning immune techniques, in contrast, shed it for 12.2 days.

Read extra: Here’s how 9 leading drugmakers are racing to develop a new kind of coronavirus treatment despite an early setback

One motive for that is that folks with extra extreme circumstances of COVID-19 tend to shed the virus for longer than different sufferers. Immunocompromised folks face a far larger danger of extreme sickness as a result of they can not struggle off infections in addition to these with healthy immune techniques.

An estimated 3 million folks within the US are immunocompromised not directly, together with folks with HIV and most cancers sufferers receiving chemotherapy.

A recovered coronavirus (COVID-19) patient donates blood samples for plasma extraction to help critically ill patients at the National Blood Transfusion Center.

A recovered coronavirus patient donating blood for plasma extraction to assist critically unwell sufferers on the National Blood Transfusion Center on June 22.

Ameer Al Mohammedaw/Getty


The patient within the new case study, nevertheless, had a distinctively weak immune system, Munster mentioned. That means a 70-day infectiousness interval like hers might be uncommon. The lady had a 10-year historical past of power leukemia, which is a sort of most cancers that infects white blood cells, an integral a part of the immune system. She’d been hospitalized for anemia, a situation typically associated to leukemia as a result of it depletes pink blood cells.

She additionally had a situation wherein the immune system cannot make substantial antibodies, often known as hypogammaglobulinemia.

Read extra: We’re set to find out this month whether a coronavirus vaccine works. Here’s everything we know about the timeline and when you might be able to get a shot.

“We think that this is a relatively rare occurrence tied to the very specific immune status of this patient,” Munster mentioned.

Still, it may imply that long-term shedding of the virus — outlined as being infectious for at the very least 20 days — might be extra widespread than beforehand thought in some immunocompromised folks.

“Although it is difficult to extrapolate from a single patient, our data suggest that long-term shedding of infectious virus may be a concern in certain immunocompromised patients,” the researchers wrote.

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