Recent research in “Science Translational Medicine” sheds light on chronic COVID-19, a condition where the virus persists in patients, often mutating into new variants. This is particularly prevalent in immunocompromised individuals, including those with blood cancers or on immune-suppressing drugs. The study analyzed how long it took for people with varying levels of immune compromise to clear the virus and its evolution during that time. It found that severely immunocompromised patients, especially those with malignancies or bone marrow transplants, face a higher risk of chronic infection and viral evolution. This poses medical and public health concerns, as persistent infections in these patients can be breeding grounds for new viral variants. The research highlights the importance of identifying effective treatments for these patients to eradicate the infection, thereby reducing transmission risks and preventing the emergence of future variants.
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[Source: STAT, January 24th, 2024]