Increased viral variants in children and young adults with impaired humoral immunity and persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection: A consecutive case series

Thao T. Truong, Alex Ryutov, Utsav Pandey, Rebecca Yee, Lior Goldberg, Deepa Bhojwani, Paibel Aguayo-Hiraldo, Benjamin A. Pinsky, Andrew Pekosz, Lishuang Shen, Scott D. Boyd, Oliver F. Wirz, Katharina Röltgen, Moiz Bootwalla, Dennis T. Maglinte, Dejerianne Ostrow, David Ruble, Jennifer H. Han, Jaclyn A. Biegel, Maggie LiChun Hong Huang, Malaya K. Sahoo, Pia S. Pannaraj, Maurice O'Gorman, Alexander R. Judkins, Xiaowu Gai, Jennifer Dien Bard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: There is increasing concern that persistent infection of SARS-CoV-2 within immunocompromised hosts could serve as a reservoir for mutation accumulation and subsequent emergence of novel strains with the potential to evade immune responses. Methods: We describe three patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who were persistently positive for SARS-CoV-2 by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Viral viability from longitudinally-collected specimens was assessed. Whole-genome sequencing and serological studies were performed to measure viral evolution and evidence of immune escape. Findings: We found compelling evidence of ongoing replication and infectivity for up to 162 days from initial positive by subgenomic RNA, single-stranded RNA, and viral culture analysis. Our results reveal a broad spectrum of infectivity, host immune responses, and accumulation of mutations, some with the potential for immune escape. Interpretation: Our results highlight the potential need to reassess infection control precautions in the management and care of immunocompromised patients. Routine surveillance of mutations and evaluation of their potential impact on viral transmission and immune escape should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103355
JournalEBioMedicine
Volume67
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • SARS-CoV-2
  • case report
  • immunocompromised
  • pediatric
  • persistent infection
  • variants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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