A 36-year-old woman from South Africa was infected with SARS-CoV-2. The coronavirus mutated 32 times in the woman’s body, according to a single case study published on June 3, 2021, which has not yet been assessed. Business Insider reported on the special case in its online edition.
South African woman suffered from COVID-19 for seven months
Apparently the woman did showed only mild corona symptomsso the doctors almost overlooked the specifics of this case. But then the patient took part in a study with 300 subjects. The reaction of the immune system to corona in HIV-infected people was examined – because the woman suffers from the immune deficiency disease and is at an advanced stage.
During these examinations, the doctors discovered that the 36-year-old the virus in itself for a total of 216 days wore– and she wasn’t the only one: Four other study participants were infected for more than a month. But that’s not all.
Coronavirus mutates 32 times in a woman’s body
In addition, the researchers found in their analyzes that the South African had developed 32 mutations of SARS-CoV-2. There were 13 changes to the spike protein and 19 other variants that could influence the behavior of the virus. Several of these mutations are cause for concern. Two in particular were named:
- E484K, part of the alpha variant (formerly B.1.1.7)
- N510Y, part of the beta version (formerly B.1.351)
It is not known whether the 36-year-old infected other people with these mutations.
Does HIV Infection Make Mutants Easier?
These results suggest that it is easier for corona mutations in HIV-infected patients. As Professor Tulio de Oliveira, author of the study, explains, this could be due to the fact that with HIV-infected people have an already weakened immune system and could carry the virus longer. In the woman from South Africa, the immune system is largely inoperative due to her advanced disease.
An isolated case, but dangerous for people infected with HIV
Experts consider this case to be an exception, since the 36-year-old’s immune system was extremely weak – if it is more active, SARS-CoV-2 has a harder time multiplying in the body. Still, the study shows that the virus poses an even greater threat to HIV patients, especially in Africa: 26 million people are infected with HIV on the continent (as of 2020). A case like this could lead to a further spread of SARS-CoV-2 and a new strong increase in the corona numbers.
Persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection and intra-host evolution in association with advanced HIV infection in: krisp.org.za
Individual study: A woman with HIV had Covid-19 for 7 months – the virus mutated 32 times in: businessinsider.de
HIV-positive woman with corona: researchers find 32 mutations in her body in: hna.de