The new variant of the coronavirus has as many as 32 mutations. According to scientists, it could be a great danger and even cause a new pandemic. Dr. Paweł Grzesiowski explains if there is anything to fear.
See the movie: “Dr. Grzesiowski: Has the government calculated how much human life costs?”
1. “The new variant may pose a serious problem”
The new coronavirus variant has a tentative name B.1.1529but it will probably eventually be named a variant of Nu.
The variant was detected on November 11 in Botswana in southern Africa. However, it is already known that B.1.1529 went beyond the borders of the country and the continent. So far, cases of infection with the Nu variant have been confirmed in South Africa and Hong Kong, where the virus was detected in a 36-year-old who returned from Africa to Asia on November 13.
Although the number of infections with the new variant is not high, scientists are concerned that it may be a major threat. Researchers at the Imperial Colleague of London found that B.1.1529 has as many as 32 mutations, many of which suggest that the variant is highly infectious and may be immune to COVID-19 vaccines.
“The huge number of virus spines indicates that the new variant could be a serious problem,” he says Dr. Thomas Peacockwho first explored the Nu variant.
According to the virologist, B.1.1529 may be more dangerous than all the SARS-CoV-2 variants detected so far.
‘The Nu variant can bypass most known monoclonal antibodies. This means the virus has the potential to cause new epidemics around the world because it can bypass the body’s defenses,’ explained Dr Peacock.
2. How did the Nu variant come about?
According to Dr. Paweł Grzesiowski, an immunologist and an expert of the Supreme Medical Council on COVID-19, the emergence of a new variant should not be underestimated.
– The Nu variant is a warning to humanity. It shows how much the virus can still change in itself and that the pandemic could last much longer than expected. It is possible that these 32 mutations in the Nu variant may have rendered the existing vaccines ineffective against this virus, emphasizes Dr. Grzesiowski.
Experts point out that the level of vaccination against COVID-19 in poor countries is still incomparably low, which creates the risk of the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus. In Botswana, for example, only 20 percent are fully vaccinated. society.
According to British scientists, variant B.1.1529 may have evolved during the chronic infection of an immunocompromised person. “It was probably a person with untreated HIV / AIDS,” he says prof. Francois Balloux – director of the Institute of Genetics, University College London.
– The organism of people with immunodeficiency can be compared to the organism of bats. Their immune system tolerates the presence of the virus and allows it to reproduce and create new variants. There is a known case of a patient with leukemia who was infected with the coronavirus for three months. At that time, four variants of SARS-CoV-2 were found in her body, explains Dr. Grzesiowski.
3. Nu option will cause a new pandemic?
– Multiple mutations can be dangerous. However, for the variant to spread, it must first “pierce” Delta. For now, this variant is the most infectious and dominates all over the world – says Dr. Grzesiowski.
So far, only 10 cases of infection with the Nu variant have been confirmed. However, these numbers may not reflect the true severity of infections as no sequential testing is performed in Africa.
– That’s why it’s too early to sound the alarm. Especially since we have a bigger problem right now. Variant AY.4.2, also known as Delta Plus. Already at the moment, research shows that this variant is responsible for at least 10 percent. infections in the UK. This means that Delta Plus breaks through despite the dominance of another variant, so it may have the same or even better transmission capabilities – explains Dr. Grzesiowski.
Also, scientists from Imperial College London, while expressing great concern, emphasize that it is difficult to predict to what extent B.1.1529 will be able to transmit. At the same time, according to virologists, in the case of the Nu variant, increased observation is necessary.
See also: The new Delta plus mutation is already raging in Europe. Is it more contagious than previous coronavirus variants?
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