It’s been confirmed that an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 in Iceland has been infected by two strains of the virus simultaneously. The second strain is a mutation of the original novel coronavirus. It is thought that this could be the first recorded dual infection case of this kind.
Speaking to RÚV news yesterday, deCODE CEO, Kári Stefánsson confirmed the unusual infection. It is thought the mutated second strain could be more malicious or infectious because people infected by the dual-strain patient were only found to have the second strain. If this is the case, the virus could be mutating to become more infectious over time. However, Kári was unable to confirm this and suggested it could be a coincidence.
Kári also noted that the mutation found in the sample taken from this dually-infected patient is one that has not been found outside Iceland, according to international databases.
This is just one of the startling new discoveries deCODE has uncovered from its analysis of the genetic sequences of 40 COVID-19 strains found in Iceland. According to Kári, the diversity of genetic sequences found in COVID-19 samples taken in Iceland indicate that the virus was brought to Iceland from a wider range of areas than was previously thought. The main origins of Icelandic infections are currently thought to be Italy, Austria, and Britain. A football match in the U.K. is thought to be the source for seven infections in Iceland.
Kári also estimated that 1% of Icelanders are currently infected. The results of screenings have previously suggested that only 0.5% are infected, but Kári believes the true figure of infections may be higher as many may currently be asymptomatic and as a result not coming forward for tests.
Iceland is fortunate enough to boast some of the best testing capacities in the world right now, although there is currently a EU-wide shortage of medical swabs, which means testing may be more difficult in the coming weeks. Over 10,000 samples have been taken to date, providing Icelandic scientists with invaluable data and allowing the country to become a world leader in research into the genetic make-up of the virus.
Tune into our daily COVID-cast for more on recent coronavirus-related developments in Iceland.
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