Asymptomatic COVID Woman Shed Virus for 70 Days

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay reporter

MONDAY, November 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Most people with the novel coronavirus appear to actively shed the infectious virus for about eight days. But a woman from Kirkland, Wash., May have set a record, shedding the virus for at least 70 days.

The 71-year-old man was infected for at least 105 days in total, but showed no symptoms, according to a new report.

This unusual case involved a woman with leukemia and a low antibody count who was infected at the start of the pandemic. The case study was published on November 4 in the journal Cell.

To his knowledge, this is the longest case of a person infected with the novel coronavirus and showing no symptoms, said lead author Vincent Munster, a virologist at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. .

“At the time we started this study, we really didn’t know much about how long the virus shed,” Munster said in a press release.

“As this virus continues to spread, more and more people with various immunosuppressive disorders will become infected, and it is important to understand how SARS-CoV-2 behaves in these populations,” Munster explained.

Additionally, COVID-19 is new and poorly understood, so knowing more about how long people can remain actively infected can help guide public health decisions, the study’s authors said.

“This [type of case] was something we expected to happen, ”Munster said.

Doctors discovered the woman was a carrier of the virus when she was hospitalized with severe anemia. At the hospital, she was tested for COVID-19 because she had been a resident of a rehabilitation facility in the grip of an outbreak. Munster’s lab in Hamilton, Mt., then began studying samples that were routinely taken from his upper respiratory tract.

The researchers found that the infectious virus remained present for at least 70 days after the first positive test and that the woman had not completely cleared the virus until day 105.

The study authors believe she remained infectious for so long because her compromised immune system couldn’t fight off the coronavirus. Blood tests showed his body was never able to make antibodies against him.

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