Woman infected with 2 separate COVID variants dies in Belgium

Experts uncertain how co-infection impacts course of illness.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Coronavirus strain
Coronavirus strain

An elderly Belgian woman has died of a coronavirus-related illness, The Guardian reports, after being infected with both the Alpha and Beta variants of Covid-19. She had not been vaccinated.

According to a study conducted in the OLV hospital in Aalst where she was treated, the woman was initially admitted following a series of falls, and tested positive for the virus shortly after admission. At that stage, she did not appear to be seriously ill, but her condition then took a sharp turn for the worse and she died five days later.

A biologist on the hospital staff noted that, “Both of the 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.” She added that there are as yet “no other published cases” of similar co-infections but suggested that the “phenomenon is probably underestimated.”

According to Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick, simultaneous infection with more than one coronavirus strain is not surprising. In fact, two such cases were already observed in January of this year, in Brazil, but the studies have yet to be published.

“The Belgian study highlights 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 was compromises the efficacy of vaccination,” he said. To date, although hundreds of Covid-19 variants have been detected in cases around the world, those considered to be "of concern" are the ones named Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and now also Delta-plus.