Brazilian researchers have found two patients infected with two variants of novel coronavirus, the world’s first confirmed case of two strains of the virus simultaneously in a patient.
The two patients identified by researchers in southern Brazil are reported to be in their 30s.
Both had mild symptoms and did not require hospital treatment.
But the two cases suggest that several variants of the novel coronavirus may be circulating in Brazil.
Scientists are also concerned that the co-existence of two mutated viruses could accelerate the mutation.
“These simultaneous infections of the two viruses could lead to a combination that allows the virus to produce variants faster than we know,” said Fernando Spilki, a virologists at the University of Vivier and lead researcher on the study.
The new variant carries a greater risk of transmission and may develop resistance to the vaccine currently under development.
Dr. Spilky said the cases show that there is a large number of different viruses circulating in Brazil, because only then would there be a case of a patient infected with two viruses at the same time.