CAPE TOWN- A 71-year-old woman from the United States with leukemia and a compromised immune system tested positive for Covid-19 in March and remained infectious for at least 70 days without experiencing symptoms.
This is according to a recent study published in the journal Cell that said the Washington patient's period of infectiousness is one of the longest known spans ever seen in an asymptomatic coronavirus patient.
The average amount of time a patient could shed infectious virus particles is around eight days, however, the elderly patient in the study was still shedding infectious particles after 70 and still testing positive after more than 100 days.
Previously, the longest-known span of infectious shedding for a symptomatic person is 61 days, according to a study conducted last month.
According to authors of the study: "Our data indicate that certain immunocompromised patients may shed infectious virus for longer durations than previously recognized."
While the patient had a weakened immune system and her blood tests never showed a substantial amount of antibodies, she remained asymptomatic throughout her diagnosis.
The woman had a 10-year history of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which is a type of cancer that infects white blood cells, an integral part of the immune system. She had also been previously hospitalized for anemia, a condition often related to leukemia as it depletes red blood cells.
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