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Monday, July 26, 2021

Can you get infected with two Covid variants simultaneously? Here’s what doctors say

For now, cases of co-infection with two Covid variants can be termed as "rare"

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
July 22, 2021 4:30:21 pm
covid 19, covid variantA doctor in India was found to be infected with two Covid variants. (representational, source: pixabay)

As experts study Covid breakthrough cases, India recently recorded its first case of an Assam doctor getting infected with two Covid variants even after being fully vaccinated.

The doctor was found to be infected with both the Alpha and Delta variants. Similar cases of co-infection have been earlier found in the UK, Brazil and Portugal.

Co-infection with two Covid variants

Co-infection of respiratory viruses is not uncommon, Dr Vichar Nigam, Internal Medicine – consultant physician & diabetes specialist, Columbia Asia hospital, Pune, tells “RNA viruses such as influenza and Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or Parainfluenza are known to lead to coinfections,” he says.

However, Dr Nigam says that for now, cases of co-infection with two Covid variants can be termed as “rare”. “Mutants of COVID-19 virus pose a larger threat of such co-infections. Delta and Alpha are both more transmissible.

Who is more at risk? “The risk of coinfection is highest amongst the immunocompromised and comorbid patients. Individual immune response to the disease can also pose a heightened risk for coinfection. Coinfections with respiratory virus can occur, as it has a tendency to evolve and mutate,” adds Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant, Pulmonology and Critical Care, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.

Can Covid vaccine help?

Vaccination will prevent mutation of viruses and emergence of new variants, says Dr Nigam. And in case of co-infection, being vaccinated “may help prevent the severity of the disease and need for critical care,” he explains.

“Vaccination can play a crucial role as it mitigates the risk of severe outcomes and mortality that emerges through different variants of concern,” he adds.

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