Coronavirus Variants: Can you contract two COVID-19 variants at the same time?

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The incidents of co-infection, or developing two strains of the virus at the same time are isolated incidents but do have a lot of similarities in question.

In the first case, wherein the older woman from Belgium was found to have contracted two virus strains- the Alpha variant (first said to have originated in the United Kingdom) and the Beta variant (detected in South Africa). The woman, who had been admitted to a hospital for an injury went for a routine PCR test which diagnosed the co-infection. The woman rapidly developed respiratory symptoms in a matter of 5 days, and consequently died. Investigations revealed that the woman had not been vaccinated.

This thus became one of the first documented cases of COVID coinfection globally. Further findings revaled that the woman had contracted the virus when both of the strains were in circulation across Belgium.

However, this isn’t the first time cases of coinfection have been suspected. Months before, scientists narrowed down on patients from Brazil who were found to test positive for two different variants, including a variant of concern, Gamma variant.

Contrastingly, unlike the Belgian woman, patients in Brazil had less severe outcomes, did not seem to have been impacted by the variants of concerns, and recovered without requiring hospitalization.

Another case of coinfection, from Portugal, was seen to have impacted a patient who was seemingly recovering from a pre-existing COVID-19 infection and caught on another variant. This, researchers, feel led to prolonged viral shedding and severe outcomes for the patient, a teenager with healthy outcomes.



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