Jun 8, 2023 - COVID

Ohio may be home to world's longest COVID patient

Illustration of a tiled wall with a COVID cell cut into a sheet of toilet paper on the roll.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

If you live in Columbus and spend a lot of time in Washington Court House, scientists want to talk to you about your poop.

What's happening: An Ohio resident has been carrying a uniquely mutated strain of COVID-19 for at least two years, and researchers are trying to find them, WCMH-TV reports.

Why it matters: The patient could help scientists learn more about treating long COVID.

Catch up quick: Researchers regularly track virus trends by studying local wastewater, which contains genetic material people shed in their feces.

  • This spring, University of Missouri molecular virologist Marc Johnson discovered a COVID strain in Columbus' sewer shed that predates the Delta variant of 2021.
  • It continues to appear, and can sometimes be detected 47 miles away in Washington Court House, often on the same day.
  • The Daily Mail first broke the peculiar story back in April, noting the world's longest confirmed COVID case to date was 505 days.

The latest: Researchers haven't made any progress identifying the person, Johnson posted this week on Twitter.

Of note: COVID is inactive once it passes through somebody's gastrointestinal tract, so it's unlikely the person poses a threat to public health.


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