Belgian woman who died of Covid contracted two variants at the same time

Published July 11, 2021
The European Commission has warned that it expected the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus to become dominant in Europe this summer. — Reuters/File
The European Commission has warned that it expected the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus to become dominant in Europe this summer. — Reuters/File

A 90-year-old Belgian woman, who died from Covid-19 in March, had contracted two variants of coronavirus at the same time, which is believed to be the first documented case of its kind, a scientific congress and Belgian media said on Sunday.

The case, discussed at this year's European Congress on Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, shows that it is possible to catch two Covid-19 variants simultaneously, the society that organised the congress said in a statement.

The society said the woman became sick with Alpha and Beta types first identified in Britain and South Africa and her doctors said she could have contracted the infections from two different people.

The woman, who was treated at a hospital in Aalst near Brussels, had not been vaccinated, Belgium's Dutch-language public broadcaster VRT said.

Belgium, like much of the European Union, faced vaccine delivery problems early in 2021 and its vaccination programme started slowly, although the EU has now delivered vaccines to cover 70 per cent of the population.

The society, citing discussions at the July 9-12 congress, said doctors believe it was the first documented case of its kind and, although rare, similar dual infections are happening.

"Both variants were circulating (in March) in Belgium," molecular biologist Anne Vankeerberghen of the OLV hospital in Aalst said on VRT's website.

"It is therefore probable that this woman was infected by two different people with two variants of the virus. Unfortunately, we do not know how this infection happened," she said.

The European Commission, the EU executive, has warned that it expected the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus to become dominant in Europe this summer, citing estimates from the EU disease prevention agency.

Opinion

Discipline and punish

Discipline and punish

The larger issue is that many within the police and the state view the role of the police as not one of service but of control.
The truly worrying malware
Updated 27 Jul 2021

The truly worrying malware

It’s excessive to hope that governments will surrender even when caught with their hands on the till.
Appointing VCs
27 Jul 2021

Appointing VCs

For VCs of yore, it was more than a job assignment.
Giving peace a chance
Updated 26 Jul 2021

Giving peace a chance

So long as Afghan government forces do not collapse in the face of the Taliban’s military assaults, diplomacy will have a chance.

Editorial

AJK’s ugly elections
Updated 27 Jul 2021

AJK’s ugly elections

All party leaders focused on insulting their rivals instead of talking about issues concerning the AJK electorate.
27 Jul 2021

Refugee concerns

AS Afghanistan slips back into chaos with a rapid Taliban advance, the possibility of refugees spilling over into...
27 Jul 2021

ECP vacancies

FEARS of yet another deadlock between the PTI government and the opposition on the selection of successors for...
26 Jul 2021

Senior citizens’ law

FOR all the cultural emphasis on respect and consideration for our elders, the state itself extends little by way of...
26 Jul 2021

Grim Covid realities

YET another grim milestone was reached last week when we became the 30th country in the world to mark a million...
Islamophobia envoy
Updated 26 Jul 2021

Islamophobia envoy

By calling for the appointment of a special envoy to counter Islamophobia, US lawmaker Ilhan Omar has raised a pertinent issue.