MADRID, June 21 (EUROPA PRESS) –
A study by Tel Aviv University (Israel) has found that the many variants of SARS-CoV-2 are likely to form in chronic COVID-19 patients who are immunosuppressed.
In their work, published in the journal Nature Medicine, the researchers suggest that a weakened antibody response, particularly in the lower airways of these chronic patients, may prevent the virus from fully recovering and cause it to mutate many times during a prolonged infection.
In other words, the researchers explain that the ability of the virus to survive and multiply freely in the body of the immunocompromised patient leads to the evolution of many variants.
In addition, the variants found in chronic patients with COVID-19 develop many of the same mutations as the variants of interest for serious disease, particularly the mutations associated with evasion of antibodies that eliminate the disease . .
The new results suggest that while fast-spreading variants are rare among the many strains of immunocompromised patients, they are more likely to emerge as global infection rates soar.
Upon closer examination of some patients, the researchers found that considering this apparent pattern of recovery (based on negative nasopharyngeal swabs), the virus continues to thrive in the patients’ lungs. Therefore, the researchers propose that the virus accumulates mutations in the lungs and then travels back to the upper respiratory tract.