Elderly Belgian Woman Infected with Two COVID-19 Variants at the Same Time

An elderly Belgian woman had contracted two COVID-19 variants at the same time before dying last March, medical researchers at a European congress said on July 11.

At the European Congress on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, researchers said that a 90-year-old unvaccinated woman was found to be carrying both the Alpha and Beta variants — a case believed to be the first documented of its kind.

The woman was admitted to the OLV hospital in the city of Aalst near Brussels and tested positive for COVID-19 last March 3. Her health deteriorated rapidly and died five days later.

Molecular biologist Anne Vankeerberghen, who led the research, said that both the variants were spreading in Belgium at the time and that it was likely the patient was co-infected with the two variants from two different people.

Vankeerberghen added that it is not known how the patient became infected and that it was difficult to determine if the co-infection contributed in the rapid deterioration of the her health.

Vankeerberghen also said that there had been “no other published cases” and that the “phenomenon is probably underestimated” due to limited testing for variants.

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