Austrian officials have said a vaccinated pensioner has caught COVID-19 with reports she was infected with both the British and the South Africa variant.
However, officials now say they believe that the woman has actually been infected by an upgraded version of the British variant which has somehow also adopted the mutations of the South African variant in order to spread more efficiently.
The 80-year-old woman was admitted into the KH Schwaz hospital in the Austrian district of Schwaz in the state of Tyrol on 20th March.
As she tested positive for both local British and South African COVID-19, it resulted in reports that the patient was infected with two different variants of COVID-19.
A spokesperson from the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) however initially denied the two-fold COVID-19 infection saying: “No such case has been described.”
But they later then sent a follow-up statement confirming part of the report, saying “It is not a question of an infection with two variants, but the British one with an additional mutation.”
The claim was made because she reportedly tested positive for the British variant (B.1.1.7) and a mutation named ‘E484K’ which was first discovered in the South African variant (B.1.351) meaning she is infected with the version of the virus which combines elements of both rather than both the British and South African variants.
AGES warned they believe the virus could potentially be more infectious than it is already known to be as a result of the additional mutation.
A state official said: “During the analyses in the past few days, around 20 cases of the British virus mutation B.1.1.7 have occurred in the Schwaz district which could show further mutation characteristics.”
The patient who had the first of two vaccines is reported to be in a stable condition without severe symptoms, however, the bizarre incident has raised a lot of questions among local media.
The woman had only had the first dose which may have helped reduce the symptoms, but it is unclear which vaccine the woman had received before testing positive for the virus.
According to official reports from AGES, there are indications that this new mutation allows the virus to transmit more easily among cells and also making reinfections more likely.
The AGES spokesperson said: “These questions are also within the focus of the MedUni Innsbruck vaccination study in Schwaz.”
As of March 11th, all persons residing in the district of Schwaz are required to show proof of testing negative for COVID-19 if they want to leave the district.
To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.