This Man Had Covid-19 For Almost 2 Years, So Long It Mutated Into A New Variant

Despite being vaccinated, his compromised immune system couldn't fully fend off the virus, leading to severe complications.

This Man Had Covid-19 For Almost 2 Years, So Long It Mutated Into A New Variant

This is believed to be the longest-known Covid-19 infection.

A recent case study from the Amsterdam University Medical Centre details a troubling development: a 72-year-old immunocompromised man who battled Covid-19 for a record 613 days.

The man, who ultimately succumbed to complications from lymphoma, serves as a reminder of the dangers Covid-19 poses to those with weakened immune systems. Despite being vaccinated, his compromised immune system failed to fully fight off the virus, allowing it to mutate and potentially evade future treatments within his body.

This case highlights the importance of protecting vulnerable populations, particularly those with compromised immunity. They face a significantly higher risk of severe illness and hospitalisation from COVID-19, even with vaccinations.

The report on this patient was prepared by PhD candidate Magda Vergouwe, Centre for Experimental and Molecular Medicine (CEMM), Amsterdam University Medical Centre (Amsterdam UMC), University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues.

"This case underscores the risk of persistent SARS-CoV-2 infections in immunocompromised individuals as unique SARS-CoV-2 viral variants may emerge due to extensive intra-host evolution. We emphasise the importance of continuing genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 evolution in immunocompromised individuals with persistent infections given the potential public health threat of possibly introducing viral escape variants into the community," Magda Vergouwe and colleagues said in a statement.

The study emphasises how pre-existing illnesses and treatments that suppress the immune system can create a breeding ground for long-term infections and potentially new viral variants.

"The duration of SARS-CoV-2 infection in this described case is extreme, but prolonged infections in immunocompromised patients are much more common compared to the general community. Further work by our team includes describing a cohort of prolonged infections in immunocompromised patients from our hospital, with infection durations varying between 1 month and 2 years. However, from the viewpoint of the general public, prolonged infections remain rare as the immunocompromised population is only a very small percentage of the total population," the authors said in a statement.