PARIS | Belgian researchers on Sunday reported an unprecedented case of COVID-19 dying in March from a simultaneous infection with two different strains, alpha (British) and beta (South Africa).
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“This is one of the first documented cases of co-infection with two disturbing variants of SARS-CoV-2,” said molecular biologist Anne Vankirbergan, quoted in a statement from the European Congress of Microbiology. Medical and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID).
On March 3, 2021, the 90-year-old woman was admitted after a series of falls at a hospital in the Belgian city of Ulst, with no specific medical history and, according to the case study, presented to Congress and reviewed by colleagues on its selection committee.
According to the ECCMID, Kovit-19 was tested positive, with a non-initial “oxygen concentration of a good level and no signs of respiratory distress”. However, he “developed rapid respiratory symptoms quickly and died five days later,” the report said.
According to a biologist at OLV Hospital in Allst, “it is difficult to say whether co-infection with both types played a role in the rapid deterioration of the patient’s condition.”
During extensive testing and deployment, the hospital found that he was infected with two strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which caused Covit-19: one was named alpha from Great Britain, and the other was first discovered in South Africa, called beta.
“Both types were in circulation in Belgium at the time (March 2021), so the woman may have been infected by two different people together. Unfortunately, we do not know how it was affected,” Dr. Wankerbergen continued.
ECCMID recalled that the alpha variant was announced on December 14, 2020 to the World Health Organization and the beta variant on December 18. They are spread over about fifty and forty countries respectively.
To date, co-infections with two variants have “no other reported cases,” says researcher Vankerbergen, whom he considers “continuous.”
Two individuals affected by two different types in Brazil were reported in a study in January that was “not yet published by a scientific journal,” ECCMID said.