Coronavirus in the world. A new variant of SARS-CoV-2. “Might be a serious problem”

A new coronavirus variant B.1.1529 has been identified in Botswana. The multitude of its spines and the potential for mutation cause serious concern to scientists at Imperial College London. As they emphasize, it is crucial to constantly monitor its spread.

The new variant of the coronavirus has already made its way to South Africa and Hong Kong. The researchers found that 32 mutations occurred in its spiked protein that could affect the virus’s ability to infect cells and spread, but also make it harder for immune cells to attack the pathogen.

Botswana. A new variant of the virus

Variant B.1.1529 was detected on November 11 in Botswana. Three days later, its presence was confirmed in a patient in South Africa. He was also identified in the 36-year-old who returned from South Africa to Hong Kong on November 13.

“The huge number of virus spikes suggests that B.1.1529 may be a serious problem,” said Dr. Tom Peacock of Imperial College London. He added that the variant could bypass most known monoclonal antibodies, meaning the virus has the potential to cause new epidemics around the world by escaping the body’s defenses.

As noted by Professor Francois Balloux, director of the Institute of Genetics at University College London, a hitherto unknown variant of the coronavirus may have evolved during the chronic infection of an immunocompromised person, possibly in an untreated HIV / AIDS patient. He shares his insights with the Science Media Center.

A new threat

Dr Meera Chand, director of COVID-19 at the UK Health Safety Agency, said the emergence and development of new SARS-CoV-2 variants is constantly being monitored by scientists.

“Since the nature of viruses is to mutate frequently and randomly, it is not unusual for new sets of mutations to emerge. Any variants that may have the ability to spread rapidly are being monitored on an ongoing basis, she said.

Experts, while expressing high concern about the potential of the new variant to undergo further mutations, note that it is difficult to predict for the time being to what extent B.1.1529 will be able to transmit.

– It may be so unusual in its internal construction that it will turn out to be not very portable – comments Dr. Peacock, who also notes on Twitter that “this variant of the virus should be monitored with exceptional attention”.

Ravi Gupta, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, has already tested B.1.1.529 in his laboratory. He added that the results of his analyzes showed that two of the detected changes in the structure of the new variant increased infectivity and influenced antibody recognition.

“It certainly looks like a serious problem based on the current mutations. However, the key property of the virus is that it is infectious, as was the case with the Delta variant. Immune escape [a więc sytuacja, w której przeciwciała zaszczepionej osoby lub ozdrowieńca, wytworzone do walki z jednym wariantem wirusa, nie są w stanie poradzić sobie z unicestwieniem nowego wariantu, gdy ten wnika do organizmu – przyp. red] it can only be part of what can happen, said Gupta.

The researchers point out that the new threat is looming at a time when many countries are opening their borders to international travelers, and the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that Europe remains “firmly in the grip” of the pandemic. WHO forecasts predict the death of another 2.2 million people suffering from COVID-19 by March 1, 2022.


Main photo source: PAP / EPA / Bienvenido Velasco

About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

Check Also

Wuhan coronavirus. Two years have passed since the first case of infection was first detected

More than 5.2 million victims, overburdened health care worldwide – two years have passed since …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *