South Africa Covid Variant B.1.1.529: Related Functions of Nu Strain

The new Covid variants that are endemic in South Africa relate to experts, especially one important function that can affect vaccines.

With the advent of new Covid variants of concern in South Africa, many scientists are particularly concerned about mutations in one particular area.

Professor Catherine Bennett, an epidemiologist at Deakin University, B.1.1.529 A rapidly expanding variant in South Africa Not only was the number of mutations contained very high, but it also stood out where many of these were.

“Usually, new variants have only a handful of important mutations,” she told

There may be other minor changes, but major changes generally change, for example, the infectivity of a virus.

Compared to the few major mutations in other variants, the latest version has more than 50 mutations, which Professor Bennett said was “abnormal.”

“More than 30 are only in the spike area,” she said.

Mutations in the spike region are especially important because they are where the virus attaches to human cells and are also the part of the virus that the vaccine is focused on.

If the variant is sufficiently different from other previous versions of the virus, our body’s immune system may not recognize it or repel it, even if the person is vaccinated or has been vaccinated. May not remember how to COVID Previous.

The World Health Organization said the mutant had at least 10 mutations associated with the receptor-binding domain of protein spikes. This is compared to two in the delta or three in the beta.

“The concern is that if the mutations are very high, they can affect the behavior of the virus,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Technical Lead for Covid-19, said at a virtual press conference.

“It will take weeks to understand how this variant affects potential vaccines.”

Professor Bennett said the variant is very new and WHO has not yet named it, but will do this on Friday and is often referred to as “Nu” if the organization continues to follow the Greek alphabet pattern. People are expecting.

WHO will also consider whether to declare it as a variant of “interest” or “concern”. This increases the risk to global public health and should be monitored.

Professor Bennett is B. In determining if 1.1.529 is a variant of concern, authorities will determine how contagious it is, whether it causes a more serious illness, and whether it is vaccine resistant. He said he would consider it.

She said it’s important that people don’t worry too much whenever there is a new variant. Because others who are concerned were later “washed out by Delta.”

“Another variant that replaces the Delta will take a lot of time,” she said.

Another good news is B. 1.1.529 is also a “strange signature” that can be detected using regular PCR tests.

This means that anyone who has been tested by Covid, including returnees, can identify the variant and can seek quarantine to prevent its spread in Australia.

Why is B.1.1.529 so different?

One of the theories as to why new mutants have so many mutations is that they may have developed in people with immunodeficiency.

“This shows that mutations can occur in one person. That’s a problem and there’s always a risk,” says Professor Bennett.

However, it is still unclear if this is the case, and as it spread from one person to the next, it may still have developed in the community and accumulated mutations, she said.

Professor Bennett said that in general, the more the virus spreads, the more likely it is that mutations will occur while the virus is replicating.

“There is a misreading of RNA, which makes the virus a little different,” she said.

Mutations are not necessarily bad, and some suspect that the outbreak of Covid in Japan has disappeared because the virus mutated to a dead end in evolution.

“I don’t know what will happen,” said Professor Bennett.

“We are constantly learning about the levels of mutations that the virus can tolerate before it becomes uncompetitive or unfit.”

Globally, she said it is important that people are vaccinated and do not leave pockets of people who can become infected and develop these mutations.

“The more infections there are, the more viral replication and mutations occur,” she said.

Naturally it was developed in South Africa

Only 24% of South Africa’s population is fully vaccinated, and the World Health Organization recently expressed concern about low vaccination rates for health workers in the region.

Only 27% of African health workers are protected and most of the workforce is vulnerable.

Professor Bennett said South Africa recently defeated the largest wave of infections to date and was able to control it in September.

However, the number of infections per day on Wednesday reached 1200 from 106 at the beginning of the month.

So far, the new variants appear to be predominantly predominant in one state, and it was unclear whether they would overtake the previously infectious Delta in the country.

Professor Bennett said the virus could be more prevalent in Africa than the numbers indicate, and many may not have been diagnosed or treated.

The country also has many people living with HIV, endangering their immune system.

“It’s not surprising that mutations occur there, as we’ve seen in India,” she said.

A new era of surveillance

With the advent of new variants like B. 1.1.529, the way the world manages Covid may change again.

“This is moving into a new era where surveillance is everything,” said Professor Bennett.

Britain has already closed its borders with people traveling from South Africa, but Professor Bennett said there are other options.

She said Australia could ask them to screen for variants when they entered the country and quarantine whether they were positive or were on a plane with someone infected. ..

If outbreaks of these variants are detected domestically, health authorities can prioritize their management, including contact tracing.

“I think that’s what we see,” she said. “We don’t jump in all cases, but we’re focusing on variants of concern at the border and inside to make sure we don’t have a chance to take off here.”

She said Australia’s strategy of maintaining high rates of vaccination while controlling the number of infections, isolating cases and controlling outbreaks is good.

“If we can keep it going, we’ll be in a good position, but we have to help the rest of the world do it too.”

— Use AFP

Initially published as follows The new Covid variants that are prevalent in South Africa have one particularly relevant feature.

South Africa Covid Variant B.1.1.529: Related Functions of Nu Strain

Source link South Africa Covid Variant B.1.1.529: Related Functions of Nu Strain

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