Dutch patient has been carrying a variant for nine months that science thought no longer existed

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In a hospital in Groningen, a variant was found in a Covid patient that scientists thought no longer existed for a while. That is very rare, writes The Telegraph.

It concerns the variant B.1.177.77. In the summer of 2020, it briefly set up in Spain and popped up in a few other countries, but it was no match for the alpha variant. The last case with it was identified nine months ago in the Netherlands. And now again, in the UMCG hospital in Groningen.

The scientists at that hospital discovered that the virus still exists in that last patient. And that is quite exceptional, but explainable. “Healthy people clear up the virus within a few days, but this does not always apply to patients with underlying disease,” says UMCG virologist Bert Niesters. “People with a poorly functioning immune system are more difficult to get rid of the virus. Sometimes they test positive, sometimes negative and then suddenly positive again. So it is in this case. The infection is not cleared up.”

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