An American woman has been sick with COVID-19 for a year: what is the reason and who is at risk of a protracted coronavirus
A woman has been sick with COVID-19 for a year: this is a record case in the world. What scientists have learned, reports League.
A 47-year-old woman in the United States has a record long illness with coronavirus infection COVID-19: for about a year, her immune system, suppressed by lymphoma treatment, could not cope with the virus. Science writes about this case.
“The patient was not in serious condition,” says Veronica Nussenblatt, an infectious disease specialist at the US National Institute of Health.
The woman, who also has type II diabetes, was hospitalized back in the spring of 2020. Three years before being infected with COVID-19, she was treated for lymphoma, after which she has very few immune B cells - producing antibodies.
Summer, autumn passed and the winter of 2021 began, but the woman constantly needed additional oxygen at home. “Sometimes she got better, sometimes she got worse,” says the health worker.
Repeated tests gave a positive result, but at the minimum detected level. Doctors suggested that the test captured fragments of the virus, as is the case with others after illness.
In March 2021, the amount of the virus in the samples skyrocketed. Scientists checked his genome, as well as genomes from past samples: it turned out that this is the same infection.
That is, the virus continued to replicate all this time, and there was no infection with the new strain.
When there was already an alpha strain around, one of the original strains remained in her samples.
“I have never heard that after a transplant someone had the flu for a year. It's really very long, ”Nussenblatt said.
Weakened immunity cannot quickly kill the virus, and it continues to infect cells. Due to constant pressure from the immune system, its evolution is accelerated, and sometimes mutations that arise during the replication of the virus turn out to be beneficial for it: for example, they allow it to infect cells more efficiently.
Geneticists studied the evolution of the coronavirus in the patient's body and found several noticeable, and sometimes very large (almost 500 nucleotides out of 30 in the virus) mutations in its genome, both in the regions encoding the S-protein (spike) and in others.
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Fortunately, Science writes, chronic COVID-19 infections are very rare, but they are also important to study. Scientists believe that such patients can become sources of new - more adapted to our immunity - variants of the coronavirus.
Patient Nussenblatt received a negative PCR test in early April 2021. She had a confirmed infection for 355 days.
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