World

Leukemia patient from Turkey tests COVID-19 positive for the 78th time in one year

Leukemia patient Muzaffer Kayasan, a man from Turkey, caught the coronavirus in the midst of fighting cancer, and he believed he would certainly die from the infection.

But fourteen months as well as 78 consecutive positive tests later, he has continued surviving, although he is still battling to kick the infection to the curb. 

Fifty-six-year-old Kayasan now holds the country’s longest record for continuous coronavirus infection. According to doctors, the repeated positive test results could be due to his weakened immune system from the cancer and cancer treatment. Even though he has been in and out of the hospital since November of 2020, he remains in high spirits.

“I guess this is the female version of Covid – she has been obsessed with me,” joked Kayasan after he found out last week that his most recent PCR test came back positive once again.

Nine months in the hospital and five months primarily alone at his home have left him separated from much of the world, including his granddaughter, Arza, who plays in the backyard while visiting Kayasan, as the two talk through the glass back door. “I will play with you when I get well,” Kayasan told the little girl through a mask after giving her a toy telephone. 

One study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that coronavirus patients with immunosuppression are at risk for prolonged infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and another study by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has indicated that one in four blood cancer patients are unable to produce detectable antibodies even after two doses of the vaccine.

Since Kayasan has continually tested positive, he is ineligible for a vaccine, as Turkish guidelines say that those who test positive have to wait for a full recovery before they receive a shot.  

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: INDEPENDENT

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