Viruses Hiding Out in Patients Hold Long Covid Answers
Scientists track mutants from one manhole cover to the next; others scan patients’ bodies for signs of hidden infections.
Tracking microbes through a malodorous network of sewer lines led virologist Marc Johnson to the source of unusual coronavirus mutants.
After months of sampling effluent, the University of Missouri School of Medicine microbiologist found exactly where the mutants originated: from a regular user of restrooms at a specific Wisconsin business. Although unable to identify that individual, Johnson could still see from genetic data that viral particles were being freshly made and expelled for more than a year — many times longer than a typical two-week Covid infection.