There’s a Man Who Had COVID-19 for 411 Days


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Tired of doing your daily ART tests? Starting to feel the FOMO set in from the many days isolated thanks to COVID-19?

Well, things could be much worse – a man had COVID-19 not just for a week, but for 411 days.

The Man Who Had COVID-19 for 411 Days

On Friday (4 Nov), British researchers announced that they cured a man who was continually infected with COVID-19 for 411 days.

They didn’t just give him any treatment.

The researchers went to the effort of analysing the genetic code of the man’s particular virus in order to find the right treatment for him.

Why the trouble? Well, that’s because he had a persistent COVID-19 infection.

We’ve heard about long COVID or repeated bouts of COVID, but most of us have yet to hear about a persistent COVID-19 infection.

So, what exactly is it?

Persistent COVID-19 Infections

Patients with persistent COVID-19 infection can test positive for months or even years with the infection “rumbling along the whole time,” said Luke Snell, a physician specialising in infectious diseases at Guy’s and St Thomas’ National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust.

You read that right – a persistent COVID-19 infection can last up to years.

You’ll be glad to hear however, that persistent COVID-19 infections only occur in a small number of patients with already weakened immune systems.

The infections can pose a serious threat as half of patients also have persistent symptoms such as lung inflammation, Dr Snell added.

He also noted that much still remains unknown about the condition.

How a 59-year-old man overcame his infection after more than 13 months

The man who took 411 days to recover from his infection caught COVID-19 in December 2020 and continued testing positive until January 2022.

The man had a weakened immune system due to a kidney transplant.

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A rapid genetic analysis was used in order to discover whether the man had contracted COVID-19 multiple times or if it was one persistent infection.

The test, which delivers results in as little as 24 hours, showed the man had an early B.1 variant, which was dominant only in late 2020.

As such, the man was given a combination of antibodies to treat the early variant.

Antibody treatments such as this one is no longer used as much, as it is ineffective against newer variants such as Omicron.

However, it successfully cured the man since the B.1 variant was from an earlier phase of the pandemic.

A 60-year-old infected for 4 months

The newer variants increasing in prevalence now are resistant to all antibodies available in the UK, the EU and now even the US, Dr Snell added.

A seriously ill 60-year-old man who had been infected for four months was treated with several such treatments.

Yet, none of the treatments worked.

The researchers then crushed up two antiviral treatments not previously used together, and administered them to the unconscious patient.

He cleared, miraculously.

While difficult persistent infections may now be treated in this way, it remains that this treatment may not translate for normal COVID-19 cases.

At the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) conference in April, the team announced the longest-known persistent infection in a man who tested positive for 505 days before his death.


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This came earlier in the pandemic. Fortunately, many more treatment options are now available at this stage of the pandemic.

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Featured Image: Shutterstock


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