The patient is believed to be living in the Columbus area, and is believed to be carrying a highly mutated version of the virus "unlike anything" experts have seen so far. Dr Marc Johnson, a microbiologist at the University of Missouri, has warned the mutations of the strain would be enough to make it a "variant of concern" should it spread across the population, the Daily Mail reported.
Johnson's team has been analyzing samples of COVID-19 from sewage across the United States to search for any new variants of COVID-19. It is the same type of technique used during the pandemic.
"We reverse analyze [wastewater] to see if anything in there that doesn't match any lineages," said Johnson. "Very early on there was this [sample] that was different than anything we had seen."
Johnson does not know if the person is contagious, nor does he know how they have managed to stay positive for COVID-19 for such an extended period of time.
The search for this person comes approximately two weeks after President Joe Biden signed a bill ending the COVID-19 national emergency, roughly three years after the start of the pandemic. The Biden administration previously announced plans to extend both the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency until May 11. But House Republicans rejected the extension and introduced legislation to end both immediately.
The White House is hosting its annual Correspondents Association Dinner on Saturday, during which it is asking attendees to take a same-day COVID-19 test and email the negative results after the 2022 dinner was viewed as a superspreader.