Brussels, July 11: According to researchers in Belgium, an elderly woman who died of coronavirus was infected with two variants of the virus at the same time, according to reports. The 90-year-old woman, who was reportedly unvaccinated against COVID-19, was infected with Alpha as well as Beta variants of the virus simultaneously. The deceased was admitted to the OLV Hospital in Aalst in March and had tested positive for coronavirus and died five days later. COVID-19 Survivors Are Still at Reinfection Risk From Alpha & Beta Variants, Reveals Study.
Anne Vankeerberghen, molecular biologist from the OLV Hospital who led the research, 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," as reported by news agency AFP. "Unfortunately, we don't know how she became infected, she reportedly said. The researcher also added that the rare phenomenon may be underestimated. Spike Protein Changes in COVID-19 Variants Can Make Vaccines Ineffective, Says Study.
The deceased, when admitted, had good oxygen levels but her condition started to deteriorate soon. The molecular biologist said that it is difficult to say whether the co-infection had a role in the fast deterioration of woman's health. Vankeerberghen also said in a press release that there had been "no other published cases" of similar co-infections.
According to the official website of the World Health Orgainstaion, the Alpha variant of COVID-19 or B.1.1.7 first emerged in the United Kingdoms in September last year. The Beta variant of the coronavirus, on the other hand, was first spotted in South Africa in May last year