A South African woman suffering from inadequately treated HIV, and who harbored Covid-19 for nine months saw the respiratory virus Developed at least 21 mutations while in her body. Once the 22-year-old adhered to the anti-retroviral medication used to treat HIV and her immune system strengthened, she overcame the Covid-19 infection within six to nine weeks.
Scientists lead the study from Stellenbosch and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The research has not been peer-reviewed. The study adds to evidence that Covid-19 may mutate rapidly when harbored by immuno-suppressed individuals, such as those not taking medication to treat HIV, which may lead to new variants.
The coronavirus harbored by the patient in the study Developed at least ten mutations on the spike protein, which allows it to bind with cells, and 11 other mutations. Some of the changes were common to those seen in the Omicron and Lambda variants, while some were consistent with modifications that allow the virus to evade antibodies