A 90-year-old woman died in Belgium after getting infected with both the Alpha and Beta variants of the coronavirus at the same time, news agency AFP reported Sunday.
The elderly, who was unvaccinated, received at-home nursing care. She lived alone. Later, the woman had to be rushed to a hospital in Aalst after a spate of falls in March and tested positive for Covid-19 on the same day.
As per the report, her oxygen levels were initially good, but her condition deteriorated rapidly and she died five days later.
When she was tested for the presence of any variants of concern, medical staff found that she was carrying both the Alpha strain, 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. Unfortunately, we do not know how she became infected," said molecular biologist Anne Vankeerberghen from the OLV Hospital who led the research.
He said it was difficult to tell whether the co-infection played a role in the fast deterioration of the patient.
In a press release, Vankeerberghen said that there had been "no other published cases" of similar co-infections, adding that the "phenomenon is probably underestimated".