Researchers: Patient continues to test positive for COVID after more than 470 days

A pre-print study from researchers at Yale University found at least three new lineages of the COVID-19 virus that had evolved in a patient who has been infected with the virus since late 2020.
"This was just a single person, who had been testing positive continuously," said Dr. Crispin Chaguza.
Researchers say that Connecticut patient has a form of cancer that weakens their immune response.
"The patient had almost undetectable antibodies and also very low levels of T cells," said Chaguza.
Though symptoms soon faded, the patient was still testing positive for infectious COVID-19 in late February of this year - 471 days later.
Chaguza says by seven months in, several different forms of the virus that causes COVID-19 were competing for dominance in the patient's body.
"In total, we found about three distinct SARS-COV-2 lineages that had emerged within this patient,” said Chaguza.
Some researchers suggest variants like Omicron may have been produced by similar, chronic infections.
Chaguza says that's why it should be a priority to track and treat chronic infections.
"It's important that we do more proactive surveillance to detect - to try and understand how many people are chronically infected with SARS-COV-2,” he said.
Chaguza says while none of the lineages in this patient posed any real danger, we can't be sure where the next Delta or Omicron will come from.
"Some of these less important variants may evolve into something which can cause a big epidemic wave,” he said.
Researchers say that patient is still testing positive for COVID-19 more than 18 months after infection.