The man was corona positive for 631 days

(Photo: iStock/Daria Nipot)

A 72-year-old man from the Netherlands lived 631 days with Sars-Covid-2 infection, a condition to which the term “long Covid” may apply. He eventually died of his primary illness. This extraordinary medical case is now to be presented at a congress in Barcelona by a team of doctors led by Magda Vergouwe.

Immune deficiency

The patient suffered from severe immunodeficiency secondary to myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative syndrome and subsequent stem cell transplantation. He later developed lymphoma, which meant he was given a drug that destroyed his B cells – and thus the makers of antibodies. Despite several vaccines, no effective immune response against the virus has been found. His rule explains the dangers of covid-19 infections in immunocompromised people.

Endless infection

The man's immune system was unable to defeat the infection, and as a result he was admitted to Amsterdam University Hospital in February 2022. Repeated treatment approaches had no effect against the omicron variant BA.1.17 – the corona form of He infected. The following months were spent in hospital, during which his health deteriorated repeatedly, partly due to complications from Covid-19 and partly due to his underlying illness.

Mutations of the virus

Doctors continued to monitor the virus changes in his body. Analysis in September 2023 revealed more than 50 mutations in the patient's body compared to other BA.1 variants. Some of them have the ability to evade the immune system more effectively. This highlights the risk of chronic infections in immunocompromised individuals and shows how important continuous surveillance is to identify new viral mutations.

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A balance between loneliness and humanity

Because of his condition, the man spent days in isolation, surrounded by medical staff in protective clothing—an experience that significantly reduced his quality of life. Treating doctors point to a difficult balancing act: on the one hand, the risk of spreading the virus must be reduced, and on the other hand, the quality of life of infected patients must be taken into account.

A lonely end

Despite lengthy tests, the 72-year-old did not infect anyone and ultimately died as a result of his primary illness, not the virus.

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