Cases of infection with two strains of coronavirus at once are possible, most often they are observed in people with weakened immune systems and in the elderly. This was announced by Natalya Pshenichnaya, deputy director for clinical and analytical work of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor, TASS reports.
“Cases of double infection with different strains of the same virus have been known for a long time. Cases of almost simultaneous infection with two strains or even subtypes of influenza, influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses, as well as different strains of SARS-CoV-2, have been repeatedly described, ”she said.
According to Pshenichnaya, an infection caused by two strains of coronavirus at the same time is more common in people with weakened immune systems and in the elderly. This disease can be more severe, but it is predominantly protracted.
The epidemiologist explained that the immune system is not able to quickly eliminate the first strain that caused the infection, and upon contact with another infected strain, an additional second enters the body.
“A disease caused by two strains of viruses at the same time is dangerous because the exchange of genetic material between them can occur. This can contribute to further variability of the virus and the emergence of new variants. Therefore, it is necessary to be vaccinated as soon as possible so that the virus cannot develop in the population and mutate, ”Pshenichnaya emphasized.
A case of infection with two strains of coronavirus in Russia was detected in 2020 in an elderly woman. “At first, one strain prevailed in her, about a week later another began to predominate,” said Anna Speranskaya, head of the genomics and post-genomic technologies group at the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor.
There are cases of double infection, she said, but it is not easy to prove them, since the presence of two different viruses in the sample can be explained by other reasons. Earlier, cases of infection with two strains of coronavirus at once were detected in Thailand and Belgium.