If there is one thing we know about SARS-CoV-2, it is that its effects on people vary. very. As the epidemic rolls, this coronavirus continues to bring new surprises.
A team of researchers and doctors have now reported a case of one A woman suffering from leukemia with no symptoms of COVID-19 but still shed infectious SARS-CoV-2 particles 70 days after her first positive test.
This result is much longer than previous reports of hospitalized adults who were able to shed the infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus up to 20 days after their COVID-19 diagnosis, along with 63 of their symptoms. By the day the virus shed genetic material. Have you seen.
The new report requires doctors and public health experts to be alert to the fact that people with no symptoms and weak immune systems, such as cancer patients, may actually shed the SARS-CoV-2 virus for a long time. In this case, even months.
The research team described the case in their letter, writing, “Although extrapolation from a single patient is difficult, our data suggest that prolonged use of the infectious virus may be a concern in some immunocompromised patients. “
An estimated 3 million people in the US have some type of condition that compromises or weakens their immune system, making them vulnerable to infection. Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and transplants who take immunosuppressant drugs are some examples.
“As the virus continues to spread, more people with a range of immunosuppressing disorders will become infected, and it is important to understand how SARS-CoV-2 behaves in these populations,” virologists and co- from the US National Institute Writer Vincent Munster said. Of allergic and infectious diseases.
Virologists such as Munster were on the lookout for this long-standing viral shed of SARS-CoV-2. It has been well established that immunocompromised people can shed common seasonal coronaviruses for weeks after infection.
Studies of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have shown that people who have the disease for up to a month after infection, shed the virus.
But the proportion of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases is still unclear. The danger is that these carriers of the virus can easily go about days unaware of their ability to spread the virus.
In this case, doctors detected, isolated, and tracked a woman’s SARS-COV-2 infection using diagnostic PCR tests and throat inflammation. A decade ago, a 71-year-old woman was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CCL), a cancer of the white blood cells that usually affects older adults and progresses slowly.
He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 for the first time on 2 March 2020, after being hospitalized for severe cancer-related anemia. He then tested positive for COVID-19 13 times and still showed no symptoms of the disease.
Twice she received plasma from people recovering from COVID-19, and eventually cleared the virus from her system in mid-June.
Doctors don’t know exactly when she acquired coronovirus, but most likely it was at a rehabilitation facility with a large COVID-19 outbreak in February, where the woman stayed the day before.
After a sore throat during her 15-week infection, researchers showed that the woman had been shedding infectious SARS-CoV-2 particles for 70 days. Some of its genetic material was also detected for 105 days when it tested positive for the first time.
We have to be careful here to distinguish between infectious viral particles and the results of a clinical trial that detects viral RNA shears. Crucially, the researchers in this study actually isolated SARS-CoV-2 from some swab samples – day 70 included – to test whether the virus collected was able to replicate cells developed in the laboratory , Which it was.
“This indicates that, most likely, the infectious virus transmitted by the patient will still be able to establish a productive infection in contacts upon transmission,” the researchers wrote.
Additionally, once doctors were informed of the woman’s case, they also quickly identified it as an opportunity to study how SARS-CoV-2 might have developed during such a long transition.
Researchers sequenced the virus’s genetic material from various samples to see how it specifically changed when the SARS-CoV-2 virus roamed the woman’s body. Different viral variants became more effective at certain times, but turnover was higher and no one was stuck.
Experiments with isolated viruses in laboratory-developed cells also revealed that these genetic changes did not affect how fast the virus repeats.
Although these are some valuable insights, more research needs to be done.
The authors of the study wrote that understanding the mechanisms of the continuation and eventual clearance of SARS-CoV-2 viruses would be necessary to provide appropriate treatment and prevent infection, as infectious infections and long-lasting SARS-CoV-2 Occur frequently. His paper.
And yes, this is a single case study, so we cannot make any generalizations about persistent viral shedding in people with other immuno-compromising conditions, or how effective it is as an effective treatment for COVID-19, This study is for the authors.
However, it is, “according to the medical research team, the longest case of anyone being actively infected with SARS-CoV-2 is asymptomatic.” She feels that the woman remained contagious for so long because her compromising system never allowed her to react.
“We have seen similar cases with influenza and with Middle East respiratory syndrome, which is also caused by coronovirus,” said Munster. “We hope to see more reports like ours coming in the future.”
With each one, we will definitely learn more about this virus by how long it persists, and what we should do to take care of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
The study was published in the journal Cell.