Researchers in Belgium report on the case of a 90-year-old woman who was simultaneously infected with two different variants of concern (VOCs) of COVID-19, in a Case Report being presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) held online this year.
On March 3 2021, the woman, whose medical history was unremarkable, was admitted to the OLV Hospital in the Belgian city of Aalst after a spate of falls. She tested positive for COVID-19 on the same day. She lived alone and received nursing care at home, and had not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Initially, there were no signs of respiratory distress and the patient had good oxygen saturation. However, she developed rapidly worsening respiratory symptoms, and died five days later.
When the patient’s respiratory sample was tested for VOCs with PCR, they discovered that she had been infected by two different strains of the virus–one which originated in the UK, known as B.1.1.7 (Alpha), and another that was first detected in South Africa (B.1.351; Beta).
The presence of both strains was confirmed by PCR on a second respiratory sample, by sequencing of the S-gene and by whole genome sequencing.