Nearly two months after testing positive for the novel coronavirus for the first time, the 89-year-old woman began receiving chemotherapy Credit: Representational image

An 89-year-old woman from the Netherlands has become the first known individual to die after being re-infected by COVID-19. The patient was also immuno-compromised as she was suffering from a rare type of bone marrow cancer.

According to researchers at Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, nearly two months after testing COVID-19 positive for the first time, she began receiving chemotherapy. It was for treating Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, a malignant disorder of the bone marrow and lymphatic tissues.

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However, reported by a leading news daily, just two days into the treatment, the elderly lady had developed several coronavirus symptoms. This includes fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing among a few others. She then tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time although two tests for COVID-19 antibodies both came back negative. Two weeks later, she succumbed to the deadly virus.

The Dutch researchers in their paper which were first published in the Oxford University Press stated that the patient was initially admitted to a hospital earlier this year. She complained of severe cough and fever. That was the first time she tested positive for coronavirus but was discharged five days later when other than some “persisting fatigue her symptoms subsided completely.”

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Although the 89-year-old was not tested between infections, the genetic makeup of the two viruses was different, as stated by the researchers. Basing their results on this they concluded that “it is likely that the second episode was reinfection rather than prolonged shedding.”

Meanwhile, according to researchers, 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reinfection have been seen but in every case until now, the patients have made a full recovery. Additionally, the first person to be reinfected with COVID-19 was one 33-year-old man in Hong Kong who contracted the virus approximately 4.5 months after testing positive for the first time.

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