A man who had Covid-19 for 411 days was finally cleared of the virus thanks to a mix of drugs, doctors have reported.
The man, now 59, was unable to get rid of an early variant of the virus, said experts from Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust, London, and King’s College London.
He is thought to be one of the longest living patients with a persistent Covid infection and has a weakened immune system after a kidney transplant.
Another patient treated by the same team tested positive for Covid for 505 days before he died.
In the latest case, medics detected the man’s continuing infection by analysing the genetics of the strain of virus he was carrying.
He was then given a cocktail of neutralising antibodies (Regeneron) known to be effective against early coronavirus variants, which finally allowed his body to expel the coronavirus.
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The research, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, said the man tested positive in December 2020 and, although his symptoms went away, he continued to test positive intermittently until January 2022.
But the medics warn that the emergence of new variants of Covid-19 has meant neutralising antibody treatments are now largely ineffective.
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“Some new variants of the virus are resistant to all the antibody treatments available in the UK and Europe," said Dr Luke Snell, from Guy’s and St Thomas’s.
“Some people with weakened immune systems are still at risk of severe illness and becoming persistently infected. We are still working to understand the best way to protect and treat them.”