England man tested for COVID19 for 10 consecutive months, hospitalized 7 times

A 72-year-old British man tested positive for coronavirus for 10 months in what's thought to be the longest recorded case of continuous infection, researchers said on Thursday.

Dave Smith, a retired driving instructor from Bristol in western England, said he tested positive 43 times, was hospitalised seven times and had made plans for his funeral.

"I'd resigned myself, I'd called the family in, made my peace with everybody, said goodbye,", he told BBC television.

His wife, Linda, who quarantined with him reception , said: "There was tons of times once we didn't think he was getting to pull through. it has been a hell of a year".

Ed Moran, a consultant in infectious diseases at the University of Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trust, said Smith "had active virus in his body" throughout.

"We were ready to prove that by sending a sample of his virus to college partners who managed to grow it, proving that it had been not just left-over products that were triggering a PCR test but actually active, viable virus".

Smith recovered after treatment with a cocktail of synthetic antibodies developed by the US biotech firm Regeneron.

This was allowed on compassionate grounds in his case but the treatment regime isn't clinically approved to be used in Britain.

Results of a clinical test published this month showed the treatment reduced deaths among severe Covid patients who are unable to mount a robust immune reaction .

"It's like you have been given your life back", Smith told the BBC.

He and his wife cracked open a bottle of champagne when he finally tested negative, 45 days after receiving the Regeneron drug and a few 305 days after his first infection.

Smith's treatment wasn't a part of a politician medical trial but his case is now being studied by virologist Andrew Davidson at the University of Bristol.

A paper on his case are going to be presented at the ecu Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases in July, saying that his is assumed to be "the longest infection recorded within the literature".

"Where does the virus hide away within the body? How can it stay just persistently infecting people? we do not know that," Davidson said.

Smith had a history of lung disease and had recently recovered from leukaemia when he caught the virus in March 2020.

He told The Guardian daily that since his recovery, he still gets breathless but has travelled in Britain and is teaching his granddaughter to drive.

"I've been right down to rock bottom and everything's brilliant now," he said.


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