An 89-year-old woman became the first person to die after taking Covid-19 twice, according to experts at the Medical Center at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. In a study accepted for publication in Clinical Infectious Diseases, doctors explain that the case raises serious questions about how long immunity and antibodies to the new coronavirus can last.
The woman suffered from a rare type of bone marrow cancer called Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia. Due to the treatment, his immune system was compromised. However, the researchers say that her natural immune response would still have been “sufficient” to fight Covid-19, since the type of treatment she received for cancer does not necessarily result in life-threatening conditions.
The interval between the symptoms of the first and the second time that the elderly woman tested positive for Sars-CoV-2 was only 59 days. Still, the Dutch woman had no antibody to the new coronavirus in her blood when she was examined a second time. This suggests, according to experts, that any resistance to the disease developed by the immune system can deteriorate quickly.
The woman was not tested between the two episodes, but the genetic makeup of the virus in each situation was different. “It is likely that the second case was a reinfection instead of a ‘prolonged elimination’ [do vírus]”, wrote the scientists in the research.