Asymptomatic patient was actively infectious for 70+ days, study finds

A 71-year-old immunocompromised woman at a Washington hospital shed SARS-CoV-2 for up to 70 days and tested positive for the virus 105 days after her initial diagnosis, according to a pre-proof study published in Cell.

Researchers said the patient had chronic lymphocytic leukemia and was unable to produce virus antibodies. After the patient's initial COVID-19 diagnosis March 2, she was tested 14 more times over the course of the next 15 weeks and continued to test positive through June 14. She remained asymptomatic throughout the entire course of infection. 

The infectious period usually begins about two days before symptoms arise, and typically stops after eight days, making this patient's case particularly notable, according to the study. 

Since some immunocompromised patients could remain infectious for longer periods of time than previously thought and are often hospitalized, a "more nuanced approach to testing these individuals is warranted," researchers said. 

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