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Africa’s Low-Immunity Population Raises Covid Variant Risk

  • Continent has world’s highest incidence of HIV infections
  • South Africa alone has about 7.7 million people with HIV
South AFRICA virus GETTY sub
Photographer: Guillem Sartorio/AFP/Getty Images

The large number of people in Africa with a weakened immune system makes it ripe for the development of Covid-19 variants, the head of a South African genomics institute said. 

The study of an individual with advanced HIV and limited adherence to anti-retroviral treatment showed that a Covid-19 infection persisted for more than 200 days and “multimutational escape variants” developed, Tulio de Oliveira, the head of the institute said.