Authors: Karim F, Moosa MYS, Gosnell BI, Cele S, Giandhari J, Pillay S, Tegally H, Wilkinson E, San JE, Msomi N, Mlisana K, Khan K, Bernstein M, Manickchund N, Singh L, Ramphal U, COMMIT-KZN Team, Hanekom W, Lessells RJ, Sigal A, de Oliveira T
While most people effectively clear SARS-CoV-2, there are several reports of prolonged infection in immunosuppressed individuals. Here we present a case of prolonged infection of greater than 6 months with shedding of high titter SARS-CoV-2 in an individual with advanced HIV and antiretroviral treatment failure. Through whole genome sequencing at multiple time-points, we demonstrate the early emergence of the E484K substitution associated with escape from neutralizing antibodies, followed by other escape mutations and the N501Y substitution found in most variants of concern. This provides support to the hypothesis of intra-host evolution as one mechanism for the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants with immune evasion properties.