Patient had COVID for 505 days straight, study shows

Representative image.

A U.K. patient with a severely weakened immune system had COVID-19 for almost a year and a half, scientists reported.

There’s no way to know for sure whether it was the longest-lasting COVID-19 infection because not everyone gets tested, especially on a regular basis like this case, AP news agency reported.

“It certainly seems to be the longest reported infection,” said Dr. Luke Blagdon Snell, an infectious disease expert at the Guy’s & St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

The person with the longest known infection tested positive in early 2020, was treated with the antiviral drug remdesiver and died sometime in 2021.

The study by Snell and team investigated which mutations arise — and whether variants evolve — in people with super long infections.

It involved nine patients who tested positive for the virus for at least eight weeks. All had weakened immune systems from organ transplants, HIV, cancer, or treatment for other illnesses.

Repeated tests showed their infections lingered for an average of 73 days, according to the study.

Two had the virus for more than a year, researcher said.

Out of nine, five patients survived. Two cleared the infection without treatment, two cleared it after treatment and one still has COVID-19. At the last follow-up earlier this year, that patient’s infection had lasted 412 days.

Persistent COVID-19 is rare and different from long COVID-19.

“In long COVID-19, it’s generally assumed the virus has been cleared from your body, but the symptoms persist. With persistent infection, it represents ongoing, active replication of the virus,” Snell said to AP.