Mohammed Atiku-Abubakar, a son of Nigeria’s former vice-president, has continued to test
positive for coronavirus 37 days after he was confirmed.
He remained isolated without symptoms, a development that has surprised medical experts.
Mr Atiku-Abubakar, 31, tested positive for the virus on March 19. He was subsequently moved to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, where most COVID-19 cases around the Nigerian capital are treated.
Despite being placed on medication, including antiretroviral and immune-boosting vitamins, he has continued to test positive according to medical officials familiar with his case.
Ms Ezeonu, a microbiologist and molecular geneticist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, said Mr Atiku-Abubakar’s case was looking like a prolonged carrier and should be closely monitored by the NCDC.
“Ordinarily, he should have been cleared by now because of his young age and the period he has spent under treatment in isolation,” Ms Ezeonu said. “We know that the virus can be transient or chronic, and this case is looking like a classic case of a carrier.”
“We just hope it is not an extended carriage as it is a very dangerous situation because it now looks like his system has come into an agreement with the virus,” she said.
The professor, who emphasised that she has yet to hear of any case similar to Mr Atiku-Abubakar’s, said anyone still testing positive for COVID-19 would be able to infect others for as long as the virus has not completely cleared from the system.
“If someone is asymptomatic as he has been, then you expect the immune system to clear the virus on time so the person can be negative again,” Ms Ezeonu said. “They should keep treating him there until he is able to clear the virus.”