Persistent SARS-CoV-2 infectivity greater than 50 days in a case series of allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant recipients


The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic has infected tens of millions across the world, but there is a significant gap in our understanding about COVID-19 in the hematopoietic stem transplant (HSCT) recipient population. Prolonged viral shedding is frequently observed with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARSCoV-2), but studies suggest viral loads decline 10 days after symptom onset. Current CDC guidance suggests that severely ill and immunocompromised hosts are no longer infectious after 20 days from symptom onset. Cycle threshold (Ct) values are inversely proportional to the viral load and are used to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentration. Specimens with reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) Ct values > 33-34 have been associated with inability to culture virus, and have been used as a surrogate for diminished infectivity. We report two cases of allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSCT) recipients who had prolonged durations of infectivity with SARSCov-2, based on culture positivity and persistently low Ct values for greater than 50 days.

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