SARS-CoV-2 particles taken from a woman’s throat swab and propagated in cells grown in the laboratory. NIAID-RML
A team of researchers and doctors, with leukemia and no symptoms of Covid-19; however, he reported a case of a woman who was still emitting infectious SARS-CoV-2 particles 70 days after her test was positive.
This result is much longer than previous reports of adults admitted to hospital and found to be spreading the infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus for up to 20 days after the diagnosis of Covid-19. There are also reports of other people who have shed the genetic material of the virus up to 63 days after symptoms first appeared.
According to this new report released yesterday, asymptomatic people with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients, can shed the SARS-CoV-2 virus for a seemingly very long time.
In the article describing the case, the research team wrote:
“Although it is difficult to draw conclusions from a single patient, our data suggest that the long-term spread of the infectious virus may be a cause for concern in some immunocompromised patients.”
It is estimated that around 3 million people in the United States experience some form of health condition that restricts or suppresses the immune system. These people become vulnerable to infections. Examples include cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and organ transplant patients using immunosuppressive drugs.
Vincent Munster, virus scientist and co-author of the study at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said:
“As this virus continues to spread, it will infect more people with a range of immunosuppressive diseases. It is important to understand how SARS-CoV-2 behaves in these populations.”