Explained: When two coronavirus variants infect someone at the same time

By Amitabh Sinha | The Indian Express |

A 90-year-old Belgian woman has been revealed to be the first documented case of a person being infected with two different variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the same time. The woman, who got infected in March this year, was found to be carrying both the Alpha and Beta variants (first detected in UK and South Africa respectively). She died five days after being hospitalised.

Her unique case was discussed at the annual European Congress on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, according to a Reuters report.

Such cases of “double infection”, in which someone is found infected with two variants of the virus at the same time, might be rare but it is not at all surprising, said experts The Indian Express spoke to. Infections from multiple persons within a short period of time are neither impossible, nor unheard of.

“If somebody is exposed to more than one infected person, he or she can get the infection from any or all of them. There is nothing that prevents such an eventuality,” said V S Chauhan, former director of the Delhi-based International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.

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