The longest known COVID-19 infection to date has been 505 days, during which the patient, who ended up dying, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, previously the longest case confirmed by PCR was 335 days.

The research that will be presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) that begins this Saturday (23.04.2022) in Lisbon, was developed by British researchers from King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. .

The team, which studied the virus in nine patients, also showed that the new variants can proliferate in immunosuppressed people.

In addition, they present the details of one of the first cases of hidden COVID-19, in which the patient was thought to have overcome the virus, with negative tests to support it, but the infection was later found to still be ongoing.

Previous breathing problems

The patient, whose identity was not released, first tested positive in mid-2020 and had respiratory problems. He continued to give positive in all the tests (about 45) until his death, 505 days later, Dr. Gaia Nebbia, co-author of the study, explained to AFP.

Of the immunosuppressed patients with persistent virus infection, between March 2020 and December 2021, all tested positive for at least eight weeks and two tested positive for more than a year.

Of the nine patients, four died and four were cured. A ninth patient was still infected in early 2022, 412 days after first testing positive.

“Immunocompromised patients with persistent infection have little chance of survival, and new treatment strategies are urgently needed to stop their infection,” Nebbia explained.

The study aimed to investigate the mutations of the coronavirus in patients infected for months.

“We wanted to characterize the viral evolution in these individuals who could accumulate mutations during their persistent infection. This is one of the hypotheses for the appearance of variants,” says the doctor.

According to estimates from the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) published on Friday, 38.5 million people had COVID-19 in England between the end of April 2020 and mid-February 2022, that is, 70% of the population.


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