By Tony Winterburn • 14 October 2020 • 7:02
An 89-year-old Dutch woman is believed to be the first person in the world to die after twice being infected with COVID-19.
Experts say she suffered from a rare type of bone marrow cancer and was first admitted to hospital earlier this year with a severe cough and fever after testing positive for the virus. She was discharged five days later with “fatigue” after her COVID-19 symptoms had gone.
Doctors say that two months later she started chemotherapy treatment for her cancer and developed a fever, coughing and breathing difficulties. The woman, who has not been named, again tested positive for COVID-19 although she was found to have no antibodies in her blood.
It was eight days later when her conditioned worsened from the infection and she died two weeks later. Researchers at Maastricht University Medical Center say her natural immune response could still have been “sufficient” to fight off coronavirus as her cancer treatment “does not necessarily result in life-threatening disease.”
Experts say that after testing samples from both cases they found the genetic makeup of the two viruses were different. “It is likely that the second episode was a reinfection rather than prolonged shedding,” they stated in their report.
The researchers concluded that Covid-19 reinfections are expected to occur once antibodies decrease and immunity wanes. It is the first time that someone is reported to have died from a second spell of coronavirus.
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