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Vaccine used to free a man who was trapped at home with Covid

A vaccine has been used to free a man who was trapped at home by a Covid infection that lasted for more than seven months.

It is the first time that a vaccine has been used to "treat" Covid rather than "prevent" it.

Ian Lester, 37, has a weakened immune system due to Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, and was unable to defeat the virus on its own.

He says he became a prisoner in his home in Caerphilly, Wales, as he isolated for months on end.

He shielded during the first wave of Covid, but coronavirus eventually found him in December 2020. He had one of the classic symptoms - a slight loss of sense of taste and smell - which cleared up within a month.

For most of us that would be the end of it, but Ian's Covid journey was only just beginning. His doctors wanted him to keep on testing because his weakened immune system meant there was a risk he could be contagious for longer than normal.

But month after month, test after test came back positive. Ian had to give up work.

Scientists and doctors were monitoring the battle between the virus and Ian's immune system at Cardiff University and at the Immunodeficiency Centre for Wales in the University Hospital of Wales.

The analysis showed Ian had a long-term infection, it was not just "dead virus" being detected, and his symptoms were not long-Covid.

Prof Stephen Jolles, clinical lead at the Immunodeficiency Centre, said: "This infection was burbling along, but with his [weakened] immune system it was just not enough to kick off a response sufficient to clear it.

"So the vaccine really made a huge difference, in antibodies and T-cells, and utilised and squeezed every last drop out of what his immune system could do."

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Source: BBC News, 21 March 2022


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