December 4, 2021

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Kovit: What is known about the new variant discovered in South Africa – International

The B.1.1.529 variant has a total of 50 mutations, one that has never been seen before. (Photo: Getty Images)

On Friday (26/11), the World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to give a Greek code name to a new variant of the first registered corona virus in South Africa, and it is already considered one of the largest. Mutations.

B.1.1.529 It is too early to tell how contagious or dangerous the variant is. Because it is still limited to the South African province.

However, one researcher already called it “bad”, while another reported that it was the worst they had ever seen.

At a press conference, Professor Tulio de Oliveira, director of the Center for Epidemiological Response and Discovery in South Africa, identified a total of 50 mutations and more than 30 proteins. Spikes The virus is the “key” used by the virus to enter cells and is the target of most Covit-19 vaccines.

Oliveira, a Brazilian, said the variant had a “galaxy of abnormal mutations” and was “very different” from other species.

“This variation surprised us, it took a huge leap in evolution [e traz] Many more mutations than we expected, “he said.

So far, 77 cases have been confirmed in Gauteng, South Africa; Four cases in Botswana; And one in Hong Kong, directly related to a trip to South Africa.

Due to the variance, the British government announced restrictions on travel to the UK from countries in South Africa. As of Friday (26), flights will be suspended from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

Passengers who are already in transit will be monitored by inspections and will sometimes need to be isolated.

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Questions about the effect of the vaccine

Vaccinated woman
Only 24% of South Africa’s population is fully vaccinated (Photo: Reuters)

Variation raises a particular concern when it comes to immunization.

This is because vaccines were originally designed to target the original strain of the corona virus, which was recorded in Wuhan, China.

The fact that the B.1.1.529 variant is very different from the original virus means that vaccines do not work either.

On the other hand, it should be noted that only 24% of South Africa’s population is fully vaccinated, so when it comes to countries with high immunization rates, the variance is not strong.

When many mutations are concerned

As for the part of the virus that first makes contact with the cells of our body, this variant has ten mutations, compared to two of the delta variants that have spread around the world.

This level of mutation may have come from a patient who failed to fight the virus.

Many mutations do not automatically mean something bad. The important thing is to know what they are doing.

There are many examples of the variation of epidemics that initially seemed scary, but did not live up to these bad expectations.

This was the case with the beta variant, which initially frightened him because of his apparent ability to bypass the immune system. However, it was the delta variant that spread across the planet.

Some of the mutations found in p.1.1.529 have already been detected in other types, which may give clues to their effects.

For example, the N501Y mutation facilitates the spread of the corona virus.

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There are others that make it difficult to identify antibodies to the virus, and vaccines may be less effective, but some are completely new.

Richard Lessels, a professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, pointed out that more important questions about these genetic mutations need to be answered.

“The virus may have the potential to spread from person to person, but we are concerned that it could cross certain areas of the immune system.”


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