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The woman contracted two strains of coronavirus at once

The ninety-year-old woman died in Belgium after being infected simultaneously with two variants of coronavirus — “British” and “South African”, the Agence France-Presse reported citing Belgian scientists.

It is noted that the unvaccinated woman was hospitalized in March in the city of Alste. On the same day, she was diagnosed with COVID-19. Initially, she was recorded as having good oxygen levels, but her condition quickly deteriorated and the patient died five days later.

Medics determined that the woman was a carrier of both the “alpha” strain (the “British” variant of the coronavirus) and the “beta” strain (the “South African” variant).

“Both of these variants were circulating in Belgium at the time, so it's likely that the woman contracted different variants of the virus from two different people,” said molecular biologist Anne Vankirbergen.

According to the expert, it is difficult to say whether the rapid deterioration of the patient's condition is associated with the presence of two variants of the virus. The interlocutor of the agency noted that the phenomenon of simultaneous infection with several strains “is probably underestimated.

A study on this topic led by Vankirbergen will be presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID).

According to the agency, virologist Lawrence Young, professor of molecular oncology at Warwick University (UK), said there is nothing surprising about infection with more than one strain of coronavirus. Research is needed to determine whether having more than one strain at a time affects the clinical course of COVID-19 and whether it compromises the effectiveness of vaccination, Young said.

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