The novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China has undergone several mutations over the course of time, and some of them have literally shocked the scientific community. The mutation that is detected in India, now known as the Delta variant is touted to be more transmissible than others, and it was the major reason behind the deadly second wave in the Asian country. And now, a new study report has revealed that a woman with advanced HIV carried the virus for 216 days. In this time period, Covid underwent over 30 mutations within the body of this woman. 

Covid mutation in the human body

The study report which is not yet peer reviewed revealed that the woman who battled Covid for 216 days hails from South Africa. The mutations involved 13 to the spike proteins, which helped the virus to escape the immune response, while the 19 other mutations changed its behavior. The study report also explained the way in which the coronavirus pandemic affects people who are immunosuppressed. 

Covid mutation in human body
Representational PicturePixabay

"While most people effectively clear Sars-CoV-2, there are several reports of prolonged infection in immunosuppressed individuals. We present a case of prolonged infection of greater than 6 months with the shedding of high titter SARS-CoV-2 in an individual with advanced HIV and antiretroviral treatment failure," wrote the researchers in the study report. 

Intra-host evolution of coronavirus

Even though it is still unclear whether the mutations found in the body of the infected woman have been passed on to other people, experts noted that this case offers crucial evidence on how intra-host evolution of Covid happens in immunosuppressed people. 

"This provides support to the hypothesis of intra-host evolution as one mechanism for the emergence of Sars-CoV-2 variants with immune evasion properties," noted the study report

It should be noted that a person with HIV is 2.5 more times more likely to die with coronavirus infection when compared to a normal human being with no co-morbidities. According to medical experts, the impact HIV had on mortality was less than expected and well below that of other co-morbidities like diabetes.