Covid: Woman aged 90 died with double variant infectionon July 10, 2021 at 11:11 pm

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Simultaneous infections are rare but can happen, particularly in people yet to be vaccinated, warn experts.

Plastic models of Covid virus

image copyrightGetty Images

It is possible to catch two Covid variants at the same time, experts are warning after seeing a double infection in a 90-year-old woman who became sick with the Alpha and Beta types first identified in 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 is the first 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 types of coronavirus, one of them a variant of concern called Gamma.

Researchers from Portugal, meanwhile, recently treated a 17-year-old who appeared to have caught a second type of Covid while still recovering from a different, pre-existing Covid infection.

The 90-year-old, who was infected with the two “variants of concern” – the most worrying new versions of coronavirus that experts are tracking – had been admitted to hospital after experiencing some falls, but later developed worsening respiratory symptoms.

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 is likely that the lady was co-infected with different viruses from two different people. Unfortunately, we don’t know how she became infected.

“She was a lady who lived alone, but she got a lot of helpers coming in to care for her.

“Whether the co-infection of the two variants of concern played a role in the fast deterioration of the patient is difficult to say.”

Viruses constantly evolve by mutating as they replicate. This creates new versions or variants.

Covid has undergone some important changes that may give it an advantage – for example, by increasing its ability to replicate or dodge some 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 is the Delta variant that is spreading the most.

Experts are confident that existing vaccines offer good protection against it.

Scientists are designing new Covid vaccines that will be an even better match for new variants, and could be used as boosters.

Prof Lawrence Young, an expert in virology at the University of Warwick, said: “Detecting two dominant variants of concern in a single person is not a surprise – these could have been passed on by a single infected individual, or by contact with multiple infected people.”

He said more studies were needed to determine whether such infections in any way compromise the efficacy of vaccination, or make for a worse case of Covid-19.

- Advertisement -




Ocado in self-driving vans push with £10m stake in Oxboticaon April 16, 2021 at 10:36 am

The online grocery retailer has teamed up with Oxford self-driving firm Oxbotica.image copyrightPA MediaOnline grocery retailer Ocado has unveiled a major push into autonomous...

No new smart motorways without additional safety measureson April 20, 2021 at 2:24 pm

Any motorway without a hard shoulder will need to have radar technology to detect stopped vehicles.image copyrightPA MediaNo more smart motorways without hard shoulders...

Horse-racing bosses condemn abattoir footageon July 20, 2021 at 6:59 pm

British and Irish authorities respond to allegations in a Panorama film about slaughtered racehorses.Irish and British horse-racing authorities have condemned footage that revealed evidence...

Murder probe after Bury woman dies from severe burnson July 24, 2021 at 5:36 pm

Three men are arrested in connection with the death of the 31-year-old in Bury, Greater Manchester.image copyrightGoogleThe death of a woman from severe burn...

An ‘unquestioned success’ – but what next for Wolves and Nuno?on May 21, 2021 at 4:47 pm

BBC Sport's Simon Stone analyses the impact and legacy of Nuno Espirito Santo's reign at Wolves and looks at what next for the club.The...