Successful treatment of SARS-CoV-2 in an immunocompromised patient with persistent infection for 245 days: A case report

Victoria Overbeck, Bradford P. Taylor, Jacquelyn Turcinovic, Xueting Qiu, Beau Schaeffer, Scott Seitz, Scott R. Curry, William P. Hanage, John H. Connor, Krutika Kuppalli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Immunocompromised patients receiving B-cell-depleting therapies are at increased risk of persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection, with many experiencing fatal outcomes. We report a successful outcome in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on rituximab diagnosed with COVID-19 in July 2020 with persistent infection for over 245 days. Results: The patient received numerous treatment courses for persistent COVID-19 infection, including remdesivir, baricitinib, immunoglobulin and high doses of corticosteroids followed by a prolonged taper due to persistent respiratory symptoms and cryptogenic organizing pneumonia. Her clinical course was complicated by Pseudomonas aeruginosa sinusitis with secondary bacteremia, and cytomegalovirus (CMV) viremia and pneumonitis. SARS-CoV-2 positive RNA samples were extracted from two nasopharyngeal swabs and sequenced using targeted amplicon Next-Generation Sequencing which were analyzed for virus evolution over time. Viral sequencing indicated lineage B.1.585.3 SARS-CoV-2 accumulated Spike protein mutations associated with immune evasion and resistance to therapeutics. Upon slowly decreasing the patient's steroids, she had resolution of her symptoms and had a negative nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 PCR and serum CMV PCR in March 2021. Conclusion: A patient with RA on B-cell depleting therapy developed persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection allowing for virus evolution and had numerous complications, including viral and bacterial co-infections with opportunistic pathogens. Despite intra-host evolution with a more immune evasive SARS-CoV-2 lineage, it was cleared after 245 days with reconstitution of the patient's immune system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere23699
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Immunocompromised
  • Persistent infection
  • Variant of concern
  • Virus evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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