Critically ill Covid-19 patients with weak immune systems who spend months battling the disease are likely sources of mutant variants, a new study confirms,
Experts have previously been unable to pin down the exact way in which new strains emerge but thought them may evolve in immunocompromised patients.
It was thought protracted infection applies a survival pressure to the virus which forces it to mutate in order to evade the immune system.
Cambridge researchers have today published details of a case in which one long-suffering patient with an immune system weakened by cancer and chemotherapy was infected with the original form of the virus before it mutated to become more infectious and able to avoid antibodies.
It is believed the convalescent plasma he was receiving as treatment was the driving factor forcing the virus to adapt.
Convalescent therapy has since been proved to be ineffective at preventing death from Covid-19 and has been dropped from the RECOVERY trial.
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Source: Daily Mail