The unvaccinated woman, who lived alone and received at-home nursing care, was admitted to the OLV hospital in The Belgian city of Aalst after a spate of falls in March and tested positive for Covid-19 the same day. While her oxygen levels were initially good, her condition deteriorated quickly and she died five days later.  

When medical staff tested for the presence of any variants of concern, they found that she was carrying both the Alpha Variant, which originated in Britain, and the Beta variant first detected in South Africa. Both these variants were circulating in Belgium at the time, so it is likely that the lady was co-infected with different viruses from two different people, said the molecular biologist. Unfortunately, the reason is unknown.

Vankeer bergen said it was difficult to say whether the co-infection played a role in the fast deterioration of the patient. The research, which has not yet been submitted to a medical journal for publication, is being presented at the European congress of clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease. 

While Vankeerberghen said, in a press release that there has been, no other cases, she also said the phenomenon is probably underestimated due to limited testing for variants of concern and the lack of simple to identify and co-infections with whole-genome sequencing, this is because of limited testing for variants of concern, she said, calling for an increase in the use of fast PCR testing to detecting known Variant mutations. 

Researchers have also previously found evidence of people becoming infected with multiple variants of influenza. The cases suggest co-infection might be more common than currently known. 

In January, scientists in Brazil reported the two people had been simultaneously infected with two different variants of the coronavirus, but the study has yet to be published. Lawrence Young, a virologist, and professor of Molecular Oncology at the University of War wick added it wasn’t a surprise to find an individual infected with more than one Variant. 

This study does highlight the need for more studies to determine whether infection with multiple variants of concern affects the clinical course of Covid-19 and whether this in any compromises the efficacy of vaccination. 

Such instances also raise questions over how much protection vaccines can provide. With the rapidly spreading Delta variant in many places including the UK. 

Countries are also mulling whether to offer booster shots this winter guard against diminishing responses from vaccines. 

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