Unvaccinated Belgian Woman Contracted Two COVID Variants Simultaneously
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
(ECCMID), 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
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% 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
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.