Researchers in South Africa documented the case of a woman infected with HIV, who contracted COVID-19 nine months ago. The researchers discovered that the virus did not leave it and was able to mutate inside it to more than thirty genetic changes.
After the 36-year-old woman felt tired in September 2020, the tests revealed that she had contracted the disease.
The team, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, says that the results provide the first real evidence that HIV-infected patients are infected with the virus for more than seven months. Therapists may have a weakened immune system that allows the coronavirus to take root and mutate into deadly variants that can spread to others.
The United Nations estimates that 7.5 million adults and children in South Africans are infected with HIV.
Once a person is infected with HIV, the virus begins to attack and destroy the immune cells that normally protect the body from infection, and can lead to the deadly disease AIDS.
In South Africa, HIV infection often goes undetected, and Approximately 10% of people are believed to be unaware that they have the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV patients who receive active treatment are no more at risk of catching the virus.
However, the results of the study, published on medRxiv.org, are the first evidence to suggest that people with HIV can mutate the virus in their bodies multiple times.
The South African patient was diagnosed with HIV in 2006, but doctors were unable to control her viral load with conventional antiretroviral therapy.