Researchers at Yale University, one of the most important universities in the United States, have released an analysis of a chronic case of Covid-19, in which a patient has been infected for more than a year — and is still testing positive. The study has not yet been reviewed, but is available in preview.
A patient with cancer is an example of a chronic infection with SARS-CoV-2, in whose system at least three types of virus coexist. Corona Virus. According to experts, chronic conditions like this “accelerate” mutations and “give a chance” for variants to emerge.
“Our findings show that untreated chronic infections accelerate the development of SARS-CoV-2, ultimately providing the opportunity for genetically different variants to emerge and potentially highly transmissible, as we saw with Delta and Omicron,” they wrote.
By using molecular indexes of the virus’s sequence, a process essential to a complete understanding of the infection, the scientists were able to determine the temporal dynamics of mutations. This finding may help suppress future developments of the virus.
In the patient’s system, the researchers found previously extinct variants and an evolutionary rate that was two times higher than the global average. In other words, the virus, within the “chronically infected”, mutates twice as fast.
“During infection, we found an accelerated evolutionary rate of the virus – having 35 nucleotide substitutions per year, twice the global evolutionary rate of SARS-CoV-2,” they noted.
In their text, the scientists explained that they believe this chronic infection may present a problem, as viruses remain contagious, but the patient is asymptomatic – allowing more variants to spread.
“This could be a major problem because many chronic infections, as was the case with this patient, remain asymptomatic for Covid-19, and [os infectados] You may feel well enough to resume regular interactions with others.”
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