Virus cocktail creates new corona mutations

People not vaccinated against Covid-19 are still a reservoir for new Sars-CoV-2 variants worldwide. This also applies to immunosuppressed people, in whom the body’s own defense system is suppressed. This is shown by the case report of a South African HIV-infected person, which has now been presented at the annual congress of the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infections (ECCMID).



“New mutations of Sars-CoV-2 lead to the pathogen being able to evade the immune system. This means that antibodies formed from a previous natural infection or as a vaccine response no longer protect against further infection as well, ”said Alex Sigal, who works at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin and at the African Institute for Health Research (KwaZuluNatal / South Africa) works.

As early as May, the case of blood cancer suffered Facebook manager Nicola Mendelsohn showed that not all people vaccinated against Corona also develop antibodies against Covid-19.

Heavier courses, more dangerous mutations

In South Africa, Sars-CoV-2 has recently encountered the immunodeficiency virus (HIV). According to the scientist, there is increasing evidence that the beta variant of the coronavirus, which was originally detected in South Africa, on the one hand leads to severe disease courses in HIV-infected people and on the other hand, more dangerous mutations occur in them.

Sigal presented the case of a South African patient with insufficiently controlled HIV infection: “Although she only developed a mild Covid-19 disease, the Sars-CoV-2 tests remained positive for 216 days,” said a conference broadcast . “While most people overcome SARS-CoV-2 quickly, there are already some reports of prolonged infections in immunosuppressed people,” wrote the team of authors in their study, which has not yet been published in a specialist journal.

216 Take positive

The patient described in the study is a South African woman who is a little under 40 years old who came to the hospital with a Sars-CoV-2 infection twelve days after developing a sore throat and shortness of breath. The woman had been HIV-positive since 2006 and was receiving so-called antiretroviral therapy, she also had asthma and was being treated with a cortisone spray and a bronchodilator. Apparently the anti-HIV therapy had not been sufficient. A change of medication in the hospital did not lead to a finding with HI viruses below the detection limit until after 206 days.

During this time, however, the patient remained Corona-positive. Only after day 216 were the Covid 19 pathogens no longer detectable. The crux turned out to be the multiple sequencing of the Covid-19 pathogens: the so-called E484-K mutation, an “escape variant”, developed in women relatively early. As a result, other variants of Sars-CoV-2 were also discovered in the woman. “This is an indication that the evolution of viruses in carriers of the pathogen represents a mechanism for the development of Sars-CoV-2 mutations, which can evade the immune response,” said the experts.

Expert advice

“While most people overcome Sars-CoV-2 quickly, there are already some reports of prolonged infections in immunosuppressed people,” wrote the team of authors in their study. The necessary consequences appear clear: In the case of immunosuppressed persons, particular attention must be paid to vaccination protection and also to an adequate immune response after the full vaccination. This would be necessary for cancer patients and other patients around the world who are receiving immunosuppressive therapy for their underlying disease, for example.

(The essential / sp / fee)

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