The world’s biggest number of HIV cases is complicating SA’s efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic,

raising the risk of more mutated versions emerging and spreading across the globe, reported Bloomberg (15 September 2021). According to Tulio de Oliveira, a bio-informatics professor who runs gene sequencing institutions at two SA universities, evidence shows that prolonged infection in immune-compromised individuals is one of the mechanisms for the emergence of SARS Covid-19-2 variants. Meanwhile, many of the country’s 8.2-m HIV-infected people are immune-compromised and scientists say they can harbour the coronavirus for longer, allowing it to mutate as it reproduces. A study of an HIV positive 36-year-old woman showed that Covid-19 stayed in her body for 216 days and mutated rapidly.

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