An unusual case of a baby in the U.S., which not only was heavily ill by Covid-19, but was found to have 51,418 times (!) Higher than the average for paediatric patients is a mystery for scientists. In addition, when the genetic analysis of a sample from the baby was done, an unknown variant of the coronavirus was discovered in it.
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The mysterious medical incident was noticed at The National Children’s Hospital in Washington. Most young children with Covid-19 infection rarely show symptoms, and even when they need hospitalization, they usually pass the disease mildly.
Roberta DeBiazi, the hospital’s chief infectious disease specialist, said no conclusions could be drawn from one case but said there was evidence of a new N679S mutation. No one knows if the baby, who has since recovered, is an isolated incident or a harbinger of things to come.
“This may be an absolute coincidence. But the correlation is pretty clear. If you see a patient who has an exponentially more virus and that’s a completely different variant, probably these two are related,” said Dr. DeBiazi, who clarified that the incredibly high blood load of the baby was confirmed by a second measurement.
Virologist Jeremy Luban of the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine said the baby’s viral load alone was “shocking and remarkable.” He added, however, he reserved the right to conclude whether “this is due to the N679S mutation or simply it is an immature baby, which allows the virus to reproduce uncontrollably.”
So far, however, there is no indication that this mutation, which has since been found eight more times in the US, four in Australia and Japan, and one in Brazil – is more dangerous for children.