Assam: Lady doctors infected with two different varients of Covid-19 at the same time

The female doctor could be the first human case of COVID-19 in a country infected with two unique strains of the virus at the same time

 The female doctor could be the first human case of COVID-19 in a country infected with two unique strains of the virus at the same time, said Borkakoty, Senior scientist at the ICMR Regional Center for Medical Research (RMRC).

Doctor was infected with the alpha and delta variants of SARS-CoV-2 despite being fully vaccinated, and the RMRC lab found a multi-infected patient in May. Several such cases have been reported in the UK, Brazil and Portugal, but no such cases have been reported in India.

One month after the second dose, the woman and her husband, doctors at the COVID-19 treatment center, tested positive for COVID-19 and contracted the alpha variant.

Dr. Borkakoty stated that:"We collected their samples again and the second round of tests re-confirmed the double infection in her. We also did whole genome sequencing and it made us sure that it was a case of being infected by both variants at the same time." 

According to him, the woman, who suffered from mild sore throat, pain in the limbs and insomnia, recovered without hospitalization.

"A dual infection happens when two variants infect one person simultaneously or within a very short period. It occurs when someone gets infected with one variant and before immunity can develop, the person gets infected with another variant usually within two to three days of the first infection," Dr. Borkakoty mentioned.

Circulation of semi-specific SARS-CoV-2 is not uncommon and was reported in the early stages of the pandemic and in February 2020. However, according to him, few people have reported cases of infection with these two "varients of concern."

"Most cases of dual infection may be missed if genetic sequencing is solely based on next-generation sequencing where variant calling is by software and not by manual examination of the specific genetic sequence", the scientist stated.

These infections can also become common during the transition phase, when one mutation is replaced by a new one. In the early stages of Assam's second spread, around February and March of this year, most of the confirmed cases of Corona 19 were due to the alpha mutation, but infection with delta mutations began to appear in April.

Dr.Borkakoty explained that: “Both the Alpha and Delta variants were circulating then and it is during this period when some people are most likely to have got infected with two different variants of the virus. When such infections are detected, it is called a dual infection".

He said that it is very difficult to identify multiple infections because one variant circulates in greater numbers and is superior to the other. The detection of multiple infections is carried out by genome sequencing, but even this is insignificant." It has to be reconfirmed with another technology called Sanger sequencing, targeting the specific mutations and examining the chromatogram manually," Dr. Borkakoty also mentioned.

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