According to a study, the COVID-19 virus was carried by a young HIV patient in South Africa for nine months, during which time it developed more than 20 mutations.
According to the findings of the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, a 22-year-old female with uncontrolled advanced HIV infection was persistently infected with the SARS-CoV-2 beta variant for nine months while suffering from uncontrolled advanced HIV infection.
According to researchers from the Universities of Stellenbosch and KwaZulu-Natal, among others, as she discontinued her HIV treatment, the virus accumulated “more than 20 additional mutations” in her body.
Anti-retroviral therapy, on the other hand, “suppressed” HIV, and the COVID-19 virus was “cleared within 6-9 weeks” after being administered.
In order to benefit affected individuals and prevent the emergence of novel SARS-CoV-2 variants, the researchers recommended increased vigilance.
According to the findings of the study, COVID-19 can mutate rapidly in people whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV infection.
Already, it has been observed that COVID-19 can persist for several months in patients who are HIV positive but who have not been taking the medications that would otherwise allow them to live healthy lives. This has occurred for a variety of reasons.
The emergence of new COVID-19 variants has also been linked to untreated HIV in some cases, according to some theories. Scientists have stated that the scenario is “extremely plausible.”
Late last year, a South African research team discovered an HIV patient who had been untreated for over six months and had been infected with COVID-19. The researchers discovered that the individual possessed a series of mutations that affected the spike protein.
According to Richard Lessells, an infectious diseases physician at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the immune response of an untreated HIV patient would be “too weak to clear the virus but strong enough to drive the process of evolution.”