UK patient dies after COVID-19 infection lasting 505 days

A British patient has died after the longest COVID infection on record — regularly testing positive for a staggering 505 days.

The unidentified patient, who had a weakened immune system, succumbed after suffering “one continuous infection” that lasted nearly 17 months, according to Dr. Luke Blagdon Snell, of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

COVID throat-swab tests “were positive each time — the patient never had a negative test,” Snell told the BBC, as per The Times of London.

“And we can tell it was one continuous infection because the genetic signature of it, the information we got from sequencing the viral genome, was unique and constant in that patient,” the doctor said.

Snell told the BBC that “at 505 days, it certainly seems to be the longest reported infection.”

However, he conceded that “there’s no way to know for sure” because
“not everyone gets tested, especially on a regular basis like this case.”

Nine patients in the study had weakened immune systems, contributing to their struggle with the infection.
EPA/ Andy Rain
National Covid Memorial wall
Protesters who lost a loved one from COVID-19, participate in a march from the National Covid Memorial wall to Downing Street in London, ,Mar. 29, 2022.
AP/Alastair Grant
NHS ambulance staff
NHS ambulance staff assist a patient outside the Royal London hospital in London, Britain, 12 Apr. 2022.
EPA/ Andy Rain

The now-deceased patient was one of two people in a London study that had infections lasting more than a year, the UK Times said.

Another has tested positive for 412 days — with the researchers saying it is likely they will break the 505-day record if they survive, the report said.

The nine in the study all had weakened immune systems from organ transplantation, HIV, cancer or medical therapies. Their infections averaged 72 days, the report said, with four not surviving.

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