June 25, 2024

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A new variant has been discovered in South Africa and Botswana that are being monitored by scientists

Variation B.1.1.529 reveals a “very high number” of mutations, which raises concerns about the effectiveness of existing vaccines.

Scientists have discovered a new variant of Covit-19 in South Africa, which has a “very large number” of mutations. This feature raises concerns about the effectiveness of existing vaccines. So far, only ten cases in three countries have been confirmed using genetic sequencing.

This variant, known as B.1.1.529, was first spotted in Botswana on November 11, where three cases are now listed. Six more cases have been confirmed in South Africa and in Hong Kong for one traveler returning from South Africa.

“Because frequent and random changes are the nature of viruses, it is not uncommon for a small number of cases to appear with new mutations. Any variants that show signs of spreading are quickly evaluated,” explains research director Mira Chand. British Health Care Agency Defender.

Large number of mutations

According to the researchers, this variant contains 32 mutations in spike protein, part of the virus that most vaccines use to trigger the immune system against goitre. Mutations in the spike protein can affect the ability of the virus to infect cells, but make it much harder for the virus to be attacked by immune cells from the vaccine.

According to Ravi Gupta, professor of medical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, two mutations in p.1.1.529 increase infection and reduce antibody recognition. “Of course this seems to be a significant concern. However, the main characteristic of the virus is its contagion because it seems to have primarily promoted delta variation,” he explains. Defender.

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Professor Franசois Baloux, director of the Institute of Genetics at UCL, says a large number of mutations in this variant have accumulated simultaneously, which may have developed during a chronic infection in a person with a weakened immune system. Untreated HIV patient.

Worrying situation in South Africa

Scientists will monitor the signs that the new variant is accelerating and spreading more widely. Some South African virologists are already concerned, especially as recent cases are on the rise Gauteng, P.1.1.529 Urban area including Pretoria and Johannesburg found.

The origin of this variation is undoubtedly in line with the “rapid” increase in pollution in recent weeks, South African Health Minister Joe Pahla told a news conference on Thursday. South Africa, fearing a new wave of epidemic by the end of the year, is officially the most affected by the epidemic on the continent. It has more than 2.9 million cases and more than 89,600 deaths.