- Michelle Roberts
- Health Editor, BBC
It’s possible to get two variants of SARS-CoV-2 at the same time, experts warn after seeing a double infection in a 90-year-old woman.
The woman, who died in March 2021 in Belgium, had not been vaccinated.
He had been infected with the alpha and beta variants of the coronavirus, which were first identified in the UK and South Africa.
Your doctors suspect contracted them from two different people.
They believe it is the first documented case of its kind and also that, although rare, similar dual infections are occurring.
The case is being discussed at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
In January 2021, a group of scientists from Brazil reported that two people had been simultaneously infected with two types of coronavirus, one of them from the “worrying variant” – the most worrying new versions of the coronavirus that experts are tracking – called gamma. .
Meanwhile, researchers from Portugal recently treated a 17-year-old who appeared to have contracted a second variant of Sars-CoV-2 while still recovering from a distinct pre-existing covid-19 infection.
The 90-year-old woman, who was infected with the two worrisome variants, had been admitted to the hospital after experiencing falls, but then her respiratory symptoms worsened.
Different and simultaneous versions
Laboratory tests of the samples taken when she was admitted to the health center revealed that she had covid-19, caused by two different and simultaneous versions of mutations of the pandemic virus: alpha and beta.
Lead researcher Dr Anne Vankeerberghen from OLV hospital in Aalst in Belgium said: “Both variants were circulating in Belgium at the time, so it is likely that the woman was co-infected with different viruses from two different people. Unfortunately, we don’t know how it got infected. “
“She was a lady who lived alone, but she had many assistants who came to take care of her.”
“It is difficult to say whether the coinfection of the two worrisome variants played a role in the rapid deterioration of the patient,” he said.
Viruses constantly evolve by mutating as they replicate. This creates new versions or variants.
The covid-19 virus has undergone some important changes that can give it an advantage, for example, by increasing its ability to replicate or bypass part of the immunity that we have acquired from the vaccine or from a past infection.
The most important changes are being closely monitored by scientists and are called worrying variants.
One of them, the delta, has reached at least 96 countries and in several of them it is the predominant one.
Experts are confident that existing vaccines offer good protection against eis.
Scientists are designing new vaccines against covid-19 that could be even better adapted to the new variants and therefore used as boosters.
Professor Lawrence Young, an expert in virology at the University of Warwick, notes that “the detection of two dominant worrisome variants in a single person is not surprising: they could have been transmitted by a single infected person or through contact with multiple people. infected. “
He added that more studies are needed to determine whether such infections in any way compromise the effectiveness of vaccination or make the infection more serious.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.