The 21-year-old woman who was the first patient from Ahmedabad to test positive for coronavirus was discharged on Friday night from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)-run Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP) Hospital after 32 days of hospitalisation.
Dr Sandeep Malhan, medical superintendent of SVP Hospital, said the long hospitalisation was owing to her delayed immunity response. “Evidence shows seroconversion (the transition from there being no antibodies or minimal antibodies to when there is sufficient antibodies that can be detected in the serum of a blood sample) can take up to 39 days. Across the world that has been the highest time span seen. Otherwise too, RNA, the viral component that ultimately reflects a test to be positive or negative, too sees a reduction between Day 15 and 39, from the onset of symptoms.”
A study shared by Dr Malhan on antibody responses in COVID-19 showed that total antibodies and one of its isotype — IgM — antibodies were 100% detectable approximately one month after symptom onset. Similarly, as per this study that looks at 536 plasma samples collected from 173 hospitalised patients in China saw the lowest RNA sensitivity scores between Day 15 and 39 since the onset of symptoms.
Earlier on Friday, municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra had said that it was a month since the first COVID-19 patient was admitted at SVP Hospital and despite completion of 30 days, she was yet to be discharged. “She contracted the infection five to six days prior to being admitted, so it has been approximately 35 days since the patient was infected and is not yet free from the viral load. Everyday we are receiving new information and whatever assumptions we had about coronavirus are evolving… The one thing we know is that the virus is highly infectious,” Nehra said.
Nehra told The Indian Express on Saturday, “Last test was conducted on Friday. Following two negatives in a span of 24 hours, she was discharged.”
“The patient’s case may be such that the medical fraternity may take interest in. We have generally seen people being discharged within 10 to 20 days after onset of symptoms. With a case such as this (where complete recovery took more than a month), if such a person is asymptomatic and not hospitalised, they can be an asymptomatic carrier, carrying the virus for over a month, undetected.”
The patient who studies in New York, was attending classes until March 12, as she had told this paper when the Indian Express had spoken to her earlier this month. She left for Ahmedabad on March 13 and landed here on March 14. On the morning of March 16, she had sore throat and by the same night she had fever. She was hospitalised on March 17 with her family home quarantined the same day. Her results came out positive on March 19.
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