One of the difficulties in the fight to face the pandemic of new coronavirus is that a large percentage of carriers do not present any symptoms. Anyone could spread the pathogen unintentionally.
A research team, made up of Vicent J. Munster (from the Virology Laboratory of the National Institutes of Health in Hamilton, U.S.) and his colleagues from other international departments, reported the unique case of an immunosuppressed woman with leukemia, 71-year-old, who had no symptoms of COVID-19.
However, she continued to spread infectious SARS-CoV-2 particles within 70 days of her first positive test.
Immunosuppression, as described by the National Cancer Institute (NIH), is the weakening of the immune system and its ability to fight diseases. Sometimes doctors do it in order to avoid the body’s rejection of donated organs.
“The infection did not clear up after a first treatment with convalescent plasma, suggesting a limited impact on the SARS-CoV-2 in the upper respiratory tract of this patient ”, detailed the document uploaded to the online platform of the journal Cell.
The researchers said that although it is difficult to draw general conclusions from a single patient, the new coronavirus it could be an additional concern in people with poor immune systems.
On the other hand, Munster stressed the importance of understanding how SARS-CoV-2 behaves in people with these disorders when the virus spreads.
Immunosuppressed people shed the seasonal coronavirus approximately weeks after infection. For its part, according to inquiries about the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), it was detected that that risk group ends with disease in up to a month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States projected that three or four affected of each 10 with MERS-CoV die.
However, if only the asymptomatic, the statistic is not kept at a defined point. For this reason, carriers can infect other people more easily.
The woman isolated by doctors had already been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia 10 years ago. Tested positive for COVID-19 in March of this year and, throughout 14 tests, he had no symptoms of carrying the virus that originated in Wuhan, China.
Despite the persistence of the pathogen in his body, he eliminated it in June thanks to two receptions of plasma acquired from recovered people.
It was calculated that the older adult shed infectious particles for at least 70 days because the samples collected by the throat swabs suggested so. In addition, the genetic material (genomic RNA) was found after 105 having tested positive.
For the 14 signatories of the article, the woman’s virus could infect other people and cause a “productive infection” as in any case.
By sequencing the genetic material of the new coronavirus To see what changes were recognized, the virulent variants became ‘dominant’ as they moved through the interior of the 71-year-old woman.
In addition, the document highlighted that understanding the persistence mechanism of COVID-19 will help to find the exact treatment to prevent transmission. “Persistent infection and prolonged shedding of infectious SARS-CoV-2 occur more frequently,” stressed the team of scientists.
The authors also made it clear that it would not be responsible to generalize this peculiarity in immunocompromised patients; however, they indicated: “(It means) the longest case of actively infected people while they remain asymptomatic”.