COVID-19: Unvaccinated woman dies after contracting two strains at the same time, say scientists
Scientists warn of the possibility of contracting two strains of COVID-19 at the same time after the death of an unvaccinated woman infected with different variants.
The 90-year-old woman was admitted to a hospital in Belgium for treatment of injuries from a fall and tested positive for COVID that day, according to a report from European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
Although she had no symptoms upon admission and showed good oxygen saturation, she quickly developed respiratory problems that worsened rapidly and died less than a week later.
When the respiratory test samples were returned, they were found to be positive for Alpha, the strain that originated in the UK and is known as B.1.1.7, and Beta, a variant first discovered in South Africa known as B.1.351.
“These two types were circulating in Belgium at the time, so it is possible that the woman was infected with different viruses from two different people,” the report said. “Unfortunately, we don’t know how she was injured.”
The report noted that it is difficult to say “whether co-infections between the two types of concern played a role in the patient’s rapid deterioration.
“To date, there have been no other cases published. However, the global incidence of this phenomenon is probably underestimated due to the limited testing of variants of concern and the lack of a simple method for identifying co-infection with whole genome sequencing.”
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