MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A Russian lymphoma patient with long-term COVID-19 has acquired 18 mutations of the virus in over four months duration of the disease, according to the preprint of a study published at virological.org.
The study, released in early January, is authored by researchers from the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, the Institute for Information Transmission Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Pavlov First State Medical University of St. Petersburg, Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza, and a St. Petersburg city hospital.
The mutations developed in a 47-year-old female lymphoma patient, who goes by Patient S in the study. Patient S likely contracted the virus when she was on planned chemotherapy in a hospital.
On April 17, patient S was discharged from the hospital. On April 30, she tested positive for COVID-19.
The researchers note that persistently positive polymerase chain reaction test for SARS-CoV-2 “occurs in a fraction of COVID-19 patients, and is usually associated with suppressed host immune system.” The virus, they suggest, undergoes “rapid accumulation of mutations” in these individuals.
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