As per the BBC report, researchers have observed that Covid-19 can linger, for many months, in HIV patients but are not been taking the medicines that would enable them to lead healthy lives for varying reasons.
Cape Town: The new COVID ‘variant of concern’, Omicron, is creating havoc around the world. The variant first detected by South African researchers is said to be highly transmissible. However, nobody knows for sure where it came from. Many researchers around the world are trying to get more clarity on the origin and full impact of latest SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, and among them, a theory is gaining ground that Omicron origin might have a connection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).Also Read – Omicron Scare: Kuwait Tightens Travel Restrictions | 10-Day Home Quarantine Must For Travellers
Scientist in South Africa, who were hailed for their discovery of Omicron, are investigating the “highly plausible hypothesis” that the emergence of new Covid-19 variants could be linked, in some cases, to mutations taking place inside infected people whose immune systems have already been weakened by other factors, including, though not limited to, untreated HIV, according to a BBC report. Also Read – What is The One Common Symptom Found in Omicron Patients? Scientists Reveal
As per the BBC report, researchers have observed that Covid-19 can linger, for many months, in HIV patients but are not been taking the medicines that would enable them to lead healthy lives for varying reasons. Also Read – India’s Omicron Tally Touches 200-Mark, Maharashtra and Delhi Top List: 10 Points
“Normally your immune system would kick a virus out fairly quickly, if fully functional.In someone where immunity is suppressed, then we see virus persisting. And it doesn’t just sit around, it replicates. And as it replicates it undergoes potential mutations. And in somebody where immunity is suppressed that virus may be able to continue for many months – mutating as it goes,” Professor Linda-Gayle Bekker, who heads the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation in Cape Town told BBC.
However, she also stressed that anti-retroviral medication restore the immunity of people who take them to to avoid further stigmatising people living with HIV,
Professor Tulio de Oliveira, who leads the team that confirmed the discovery of Omicron, noted that “10 to 15” similar cases had been found in other parts of the world, including the UK, reported BBC.
Two such cases were detected in South African hospitals– one of a woman who continued to test positive for Covid-19 for almost eight months, earlier this year, while the virus underwent more than 30 genetic shifts.
It had been widely noted that immuno-suppressed patients take longer to recover from the viral infection, giving more time to COVID-19 to readjust itself to the human body functions over a wide range of biological activities. The emergence of the Alpha variant was also linked to a immuno-suppressed patient patient receiving treatment for cancer in the UK.
“Diabetes, cancer, hunger, auto-immune diseases, chronic TB, obesity – we have a huge population of people with suppressed immunity for other reasons,” said Professor Marc Mendelson, head of infectious diseases at Cape Town’s Groote Schuur hospital, according to BBC report.
Though the theory is not proven yet, but Scientist are worried that South Africa will be made a ‘scapegoat’ for having one of the largest population of HIV positive people in the world. In 2020, a UNAIDS report said that one in five South Africans in the age group of 18-45 was infected by HIV.
Meanwhile, recently, the test result of a wastewater sample from California showed that the Omicron Covid-19 strain was present in the US state even before the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it the newest ‘Variant of Concern’, a media report said citing official sources. The Omicron variant was detected in a sample of wastewater collected in Merced County on November 25, the California Department of Public Health said in a statement to The Los Angeles Times.
That’s one day after South Africa reported the variant to the WHO, and a day before the agency labelled Omicron a “Variant of Concern”, Xinhua news agency quoted The Los Angeles Times as saying. The finding reinforces observations scientists have made in recent weeks that Omicron was rapidly spreading across the world even before global health officials were aware it existed, The Los Angeles Times said, adding that the variant was also detected in wastewater samples collected in Sacramento County.
For breaking news and live news updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Read more on Latest Covid-19 News on India.com.
Published Date: December 21, 2021 5:33 PM IST
Updated Date: December 21, 2021 5:34 PM IST