Researchers warn that it is possible to enter into two COVID-19 strains at the same time after the death of an unvaccinated woman who had been infected with different variants.
The woman, 90, was admitted to a Belgian hospital to treat injuries from a fall and tested positive for COVID that day, according to a report by the European Congress on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
Although she showed no symptoms when she was admitted and showed good oxygen saturation, she quickly developed worsening respiratory problems and died less than a week later.
When respiratory test samples were returned, it was discovered that she tested positive for Alpha, the strain derived from the United Kingdom known as B.1.1.7, and Beta, the variant first detected in South Africa known as B. 1,351 th most common
“Both of these variants were circulating in Belgium at the time, so it is likely that the lady was infected with different viruses from two different people,” the report said. “Unfortunately, we do not know how she became infected.”
The report noted that it is difficult to say, “whether co-infection of the two variants of concern played a role in the patient’s rapid deterioration.
“Until now, there have been no other published cases. The global prevalence of this phenomenon is likely to be underestimated due to limited testing for variants of concern and the lack of a simple way to identify co-infections with whole genome sequencing.”
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