Saturday 05 June 2021
I wrote- Rana Osama:
Researchers in South Africa have recorded a strange case of a woman who mutated the Corona virus several times after contracting it, while she already suffers from the acquired immunodeficiency virus (AIDS).
And according to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”, “Covid-19” affected the 36-year-old woman for the first time last September, and her tests remained “positive” for more than 7 months, as the virus genetically changed inside her body more than 30 times during this period.
The research team at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, said that this case provides the first real evidence that people with untreated AIDS may have a weak immune system that allows corona to take root and turn into deadly variants that can be transmitted to others.
The United Nations estimates that 7.5 million adults and children in South Africa are living with HIV.
Once a person is infected with AIDS, the virus begins to attack and destroy the immune cells that normally protect the body from infection, and can lead to the deadly disease AIDS.
In South Africa, HIV infection often goes undetected, and up to 10% of patients there are thought to be unaware they have the virus.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), AIDS patients who receive effective treatment are no more at risk of contracting COVID-19 or suffering from more serious complications.
However, the results of the study, published on the medical website medRxiv.org before printing, are evidence indicating that people with HIV are susceptible to corona mutating in their bodies multiple times, according to the “Daily Mail”.
The South African patient was diagnosed with AIDS in 2006, but doctors were unable to control the virus with conventional antiretroviral therapy.
In September 2020, the woman went to hospital after developing symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and difficulty breathing for 12 days. She tested positive for COVID-19, was placed on a respirator, and was discharged from hospital 9 days later.
But the results of the tests conducted by the South African patient after leaving the hospital, remained positive, for 216 days.
The researchers found that the virus underwent 32 genetic changes, 13 of which are related to the “Spike” protein, as the virus penetrated into cells and infected them. The other mutations were similar to those in the alpha (from Britain) and beta (from South Africa) variants.
Strange as it may be, the newspaper said it was still too early to say that this case was unique. But if they are not, it could mean that patients with uncontrolled HIV may transmit infection with potentially fatal variants of corona.
The study’s lead author, Dr Tulio Diolifera, a geneticist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said AIDS patients “could become a mobile factory of variants for the whole world”.
He added that expanding HIV testing and treatment “will reduce (AIDS) infections and deaths, and also reduce the chances of generating new variants of Covid that may cause new waves of infection.”