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A Coronavirus Mutated 50+ Times In Elderly Man’s Body For 613 Days

Cases like this increase the risk of more dangerous coronavirus variants emerging, researchers say

Researchers in Kingdom of the Netherlands have reported that an elderly man, immunocompromised due to pre existing illnesses, harboured a rare coronavirus variant which mutated more than 50 times in his body for 613 days at a stretch before he died last year due to a flare-up of one of his previous illnesses.

Considering that cases like this increase the risk of more dangerous coronavirus variants emerging in the future, these researchers led by Magda Vergouwe from the University of Amsterdam are poised to present the results of their research at a congress to be held in Barcelona, Spain at the end of the month.

According to media reports, the researchers repeatedly took samples from the man to analyse the genetic material of the coronavirus. They found a total of more than 50 mutations compared to the Omicron variant BA.1 that was circulating at the time, including those that would allow the virus to evade the immune defence.

As per available information, the elderly man, who was admitted to a hospital in Amsterdam in February 2022 with a Covid-19 infection, had not infected anyone with his mutated version of the coronavirus, also known under its scientific name Sars-CoV-2. He was continuously positive for the coronavirus for a total of 613 days until his death in October 2023.

The case is particularly of interest to researchers because it highlights that coronavirus can change particularly strongly in such long-term infected people. This potentially raises the danger of variants of the virus emerging that can more easily overcome the immune systems of healthy people.



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