According to scientists, there is a new variant of Covid that has an “extremely high number” of mutations and further waves of illness can trigger by engaging the body’s defense mechanisms withdraws.
Just 10 cases in 3 countries were confirmed by genome sequencing, but the variant has caused great concern among some researchers because a number of mutations could help the virus bypass immunity.
The variant B.1.1.529 shows 32 mutations in spike protein, the part of the virus that most vaccines use to activate the immune system against Covid. Mutations in Spike-Protein can affect the ability of the virus to infect cells and spread, and so does immune cells heavierto fight the pathogen.
The variant was first discovered in Botswana, where 3 cases have since been sequenced. Six other cases were confirmed in South Africa and one in Hong Kong for a traveler returning from South Africa.
Tom Peacock, Virologe am Imperial College London, published Details about the new variant, noting that the “incredibly high number of spike mutations suggests this could be really worrying”.
In a series of tweets, Peacock stated that this variant was very, very, because of the “terrible Spike profile.” closely observed should be, “but added that it might be a” strange cluster “that is not very easily transferable.” I hope so, “he wrote.
“Since it is in the nature of viruses to mutate frequently and arbitrarily, it is not uncommonthat there are a small number of cases with new groups of mutations. Any variants that show signs of spreading will be assessed quickly, “said Meera Chand, the Director of Covid-19 Cases at the UK Health Authority.
Many unanswered questions
Scientists will watch the new variant for signs that it is gaining momentum and spreading. Some virologists in South Africa are already concerned, particularly given the recent increase in cases in Gauteng, in northern South Africa, where B.1.1.529 cases have been identified.
Ravi Gupta, Professor of Clinical Microbiology at Cambridge University, said that work in his laboratory revealed that two of the mutations on B.1.1.529 the Increase infectivity and the Decrease antibody recognition. “However, a key property of the virus that is not known is that it is infectious because that is what appears to have driven the Delta variant in the first place.”
According to Francois Balloux, the director of the UCL Genetics Institute, the large number of mutations in the variant apparently “all in one single thrust“piled up, suggesting that it happened during a chronic infection in a person with a weakened immune systemas an untreated HIV / AIDS patient. “I would definitely expect it to be poorly recognized by neutralizing antibodies compared to alpha or delta,” he said. “It’s hard to predict how transmissible it is at this stage. For now it should be closely watched and analyzed, but there is no reason to be unduly worried unless that Frequency increases in the near future “.