A 90-year-old Belgian woman died after being infected with two different variants of coronavirus, posing yet another challenge for medical science. Researchers found that the nonagenarian had contracted both the Alpha variant and the Beta variant, Bloomberg reported.
Alpha variant first emerged in the UK in 2020 and has now reportedly spread to various countries. Meanwhile, the Beta variant was first found in South Africa in December 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Infected With Two COVID-19 Variants
According to a report presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases on Saturday, July 10, the infections in the woman's body probably came from separate people.
The woman was admitted to the OLV hospital in the Belgian town of Aalst following multiple falls and tested positive for the virus the same day. She was unvaccinated and was receiving at-home nursing care.
She succumbed to the disease five days later, after her symptoms worsened rapidly.
After testing the respiratory samples, both strains were found in her body. As per the doctors, it was difficult to assume whether co-infection with two variants played a role in the patient's deteriorating health.
"The global occurrence of this phenomenon is probably underestimated due to limited testing for variants of concern and the lack of a simple way to identify co-infections with whole genome sequencing," said Anne Vankeerberghen, the lead author of the study and a molecular biologist from OLV Hospital, reported Bloomberg.
According to another study, Brazilian scientists reported two cases of COVID-19 co-infection in January, but it is yet to be published by a scientific journal. Researchers have also previously found evidence of people becoming infected with multiple strains of influenza.