A 45-year-old man, who suffered from a severe autoimmune disorder, had COVID-19 for five months while the deadly virus mutated several times inside his body and ultimately killed him at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, reports the New England Journal of Medicine.
Dr. Jonathan Li, an infectious disease physician at Harvard Medical School who studied the man’s case, told WNYW the patient made some antibodies, but the level was relatively low:
We think that this situation, where his immune system was weakened but still able to mount some response, allowed the virus to pretty much live in an environment where it had to change in order to survive...
We don’t know exactly where some of these new variants came from. But I think it’s one of the leading hypothesis that it’s a patient like this gentleman that I helped study — that it’s this kind of immunosuppressed situation that could have led to some of these emerging variants
WNYW reports that “researchers say the best way to prevent the emergence of more transmissible strains of the virus is to accelerate vaccinations around the world, continue public health measures such as masking and social distancing, and ramp up the country’s ability to sequence and detect new variants to stay ahead of the threat.”