What was the longest-running Covid infection and how were they cured?

Some new variants of the virus are resistant to antibody treatments  (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Some new variants of the virus are resistant to antibody treatments (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A British man who had Covid for 411 days is thought to have had it longer than anyone else in the world and survived.

According to Sky News, medics at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals in London have said that they’re not aware of any other documented case of a person being cured after such an extended infection.

But how was the man cured?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is the longest Covid-19 infection?

The man, who has a weakened immune system due to undertaking a kidney transplant, first tested positive for Covid in December 2020.

Despite a reduction in symptoms, he continued to test positive until January 2022.

Doctors used genetic analysis to determine that the unnamed man, 59, still had an early variant of the original Wuhan strain of Covid - which had long since been overtaken by Alpha, Delta, and Omicron variants, which had been in general circulation.

Cases of a persistent infection are different to cases of Long Covid, which see someone display symptoms for months, or longer, but they do not always test positive.

How was the person cured?

Only when the variant had been identified could they cure him with Regeneron, the same drug cocktail that helped Donald Trump fight the illness.

The same team also treated a patient with an underlying health condition who died after testing positive for 505 days.

In both cases, genetic testing showed that the patients had not been reinfected.

A member of the team responsible for treating the patients, Dr Luke Blagdon Snell, said: “Some new variants of the virus are resistant to all the antibody treatments available in the UK and Europe.

“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.”

The team’s findings have been published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

What is Regeneron?

Regeneron is a drug company, that’s applying its 30 years of scientific and technological expertise to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has a track record of supplying treatment against infectious diseases, such as Ebola.