A middle-aged Turkish man with leukemia has tested positive for COVID-19 continuously over 14 months, setting a record for the longest continuous infection in Turkey.
Muzaffer Kayasan, 56, has received a positive test result 78 consecutive times and has not been permitted to be in physical contact with his family or venture outside for more than a year. Turkish law states that anyone who tests positive must self-isolate for seven days.
Since first testing positive in November 2020, he has spent nine months in the hospital and five months at home.
Kayasan said that his wife and son visit while adhering to safety protocols.
The son, Gokhan Kayasan, made light of the situation when he said: “We kept saying how positive he is and now the guy turned positive (from COVID) and can’t go back to negative. ”
“When they first told me I have COVID-19, since I have leukemia, I thought to myself this must be my destiny. This will kill me,” Kayasan said in a Global News video report posted to YouTube. “Indeed, it almost killed me. At one stage my weight was below 50 kilograms (110 pounds). This is very difficult to explain.”
He expressed sadness that he can only see his grandchildren mostly through a window.
“Is there anything beyond this? Not really. Therefore, God forbid anyone else go through this. I am going through very difficult times,” he said.
Dr. Cagri Buke, an infectious diseases specialist at Taksim hospital in Istanbul, said: “Because we cannot do a viral culture test, we cannot say for sure whether this virus is still active or not. However, there is a 99% possibility that this virus is no longer active and therefore is not contagious.”
According to a May 2021 report by The Whitehead Institute, repeat positive tests might be caused by a process called reverse transcription, in which genetic sequences from the virus integrate into the host cell genome.