It is possible to catch two Covid variants at an equivalent time, experts are warning after seeing a double infection during a 90-year-old woman who became sick with the Alpha and Beta types first identified within the UK and South Africa.
The woman, who died in March 2021 in Belgium, had not been vaccinated.
Her doctors suspect she contracted the infections from two different people.
They believe it’s the primary documented case of its kind and, although rare, similar dual infections are happening.
Her case is being discussed at this year’s European Congress on Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases.
In January 2021, scientists in Brazil reported that two people had been simultaneously infected with two sorts of coronavirus, one among them a variant of concern called Gamma.
Researchers from Portugal, meanwhile, recently treated a 17-year-old who seemed to have caught the second sort of Covid while still recovering from a special, pre-existing Covid infection.
The 90-year-old, who was infected with the 2 “variants of concern” – the foremost worrying new versions of coronavirus that experts are tracking – had been admitted to hospital after experiencing some falls, but later developed worsening respiratory symptoms.
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Laboratory tests on samples taken when she was admitted revealed she had Covid-19, caused by two different mutated versions of the pandemic virus, simultaneously – Alpha and Beta.
Lead researcher Dr. Anne Vankeerberghen, from the OLV Hospital in Aalst, Belgium, said: “Both these variants were circulating in Belgium at the time, so it’s likely that the woman was co-infected with different viruses from two different people. Unfortunately, we do not skills she became infected.
“She was a woman who lived alone, but she got tons of helpers coming in to worry for her.
“Whether the co-infection of the 2 variants of concern played a task within the fast deterioration of the patient is difficult to mention .”
Viruses constantly evolve by mutating as they replicate. This creates new versions or variants.
Covid has undergone some important changes which will provide it a plus – for instance, by increasing its ability to duplicate or dodge a number of our existing immunity from past infection or vaccination.
The most concerning ones are being closely monitored by scientists and are called variants of concern.
Currently, in the UK, it’s the Delta variant that’s spreading the foremost.
Experts are confident that existing vaccines offer good protection against them.
Scientists are designing new Covid vaccines which will be a good better match for brand spanking new variants and will be used as boosters.
Prof Lawrence Young, an expert in virology at the University of Warwick, said: “Detecting two dominant variants of concern during a single person isn’t a surprise – these could are passed on by one infected individual, or by contact with multiple infected people.”
He said more studies were needed to work out whether such infections in any way compromise the efficacy of vaccination, or bring a worse case of Covid-19.