Skip to content

Covid Variants Risk Rises in S. Africa With Biggest HIV Epidemic

  • The immuno-suppressed can harbor the coronavirus for longer
  • Prolonged infection can lead to more mutations, scientists say
Video player cover image
Why Covid-19 Virus Variants Are Causing Alarm

The world’s biggest number of HIV cases is complicating South Africa’s efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic, raising the risk of more mutated versions emerging and spreading across the globe. 

Many of the country’s 8.2 million HIV-infected people are immuno-compromised and scientists say they can harbor 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.