A 90-year-old Belgian woman died of coronavirus in March, she contracted two variants of the coronavirus at the same time, believed to be the first documented case of its kind, according to a scientific study and the Belgian press.
The case, discussed this year at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, shows that it is possible to catch two variants of Covid-19 simultaneously, the society that organized the congress said in a statement.
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The agency said the woman became ill with Alpha and Beta types first identified in Britain and South Africa and her doctors said she could have contracted the infection from two different people.
The woman, who was treated at a hospital near Brussels, had not yet been vaccinated, according to the Belgian public broadcaster. Belgium, like much of the European Union, faced vaccine delivery problems in early 2021 and its vaccination program started slowly, although the EU has already distributed vaccines to cover 70% of the population.
The association, citing discussions at the July 9-12 congress, said doctors believe it was the first documented case of its kind and, although rare, similar double infections are occurring.
“Both variants were circulating (in March) in Belgium,” molecular biologist Anne Vankeerberghen told the Belgian press. “Therefore, it is likely that this woman was infected by two different people with two variants of the virus. Unfortunately, we don’t know how this infection happened,” she said.
The European Commission has warned that it expects the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus to become dominant in Europe this summer, citing estimates from the EU’s disease prevention agency.
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