New variant of Covid-19 causes more severe infection, affects lungs: study

A study shows BA.2.86this Pirolaya var.infect more efficiently lungcompared to other variants Coronavirus diseasebecause it enters the lung cell membrane directly, unlike what happens with other variants, which have to wait to adhere to the surfaces of cells that transport them to the lungs.

As of January 12, the Epidemiological Surveillance System (SISVER) confirmed an increase in Covid-19 cases in our country, especially in Mexico City, which has reported the majority of infections. There are a total of 32 active cases due to the disease, with 14 and 10 infections in the cities of Puebla and Queretaro, respectively.

News that 16 hospitals have so far become overcrowded due to the disease have raised concerns, and since the latest investigation people have been advised to resume daily use of masks to avoid contagion. The disease suggests its new variant may be more contagious.

Also read: attention! CDMX, entity with the highest number of covid-19 infections so far in 2024

One of them is an investigation published in the journal Cell, conducted by a team of virology experts at Ohio State University, in which they warned that new virus variants are more likely to will spread more easily. Previous versions of Covid-19 did this.

The researchers focused on the omicron mutant BA.2.86 (scientifically known as BA.2) because they realized it was a variant that could infect lung (or epithelial) cells more efficiently.

The study suggests that “BA.2.86 may prefer to use the plasma membrane entry pathway.”

It should be noted that the last update from Mexico on the sub-variant present in our country was in mid-December, in which they stated that Pirola had been detected in some active cases.

To study how BA.2.86 enters the body, the team used a pseudovirus, a non-infectious part of the virus, to which they attached some of Covid’s natural spike protein. -19, because only the real virus was used to confirm their suspicions, according to Dr. Liu Shanlu’s statement in a scientific journal.

Also read: What are the Covid-19 CDMX recommendations for the use of masks?

Liu, the lead author of the study, observed that BA.2.86 has more than 60 spike protein mutations compared with the original coronavirus, and 30 more spike protein mutations than those presented by omicron.

In addition, Dr. Lushan and his team realized that this subvariant more frequently infects the upper parts of the lungs than when the virus colonizes the lower respiratory tract, leading to more severe infectious diseases.

To understand the impact BA.2.86 may have on Covid-19 patients, experts explained that the lower respiratory tract infection is a cold that affects the sinuses and throat, causing fever or head pain.

On the other hand, upper respiratory tract infections cause bronchitis and pneumonia, which directly affect the respiratory tract and lungs.

Upper respiratory tract infections can produce more severe symptoms and last longer, leaving patients with consequences such as difficulty breathing and chronic coughing.

Also read: The long-term COVID-19 epidemic in 2024 will reveal many unknown factors

For Liu, it’s “worrying” that BA.2.86 is able to enter epithelial cells (such as those in the lungs) so easily, as this may indicate that the subvariant has a tendency to cause upper respiratory tract infections. , because it enters the human body more easily.

Therefore, it may cause infected people to develop more severe Covid-19 illness because it settles in the upper parts of the lungs, where pneumonia (one of the most serious types of respiratory infections) has been shown to occur.

“The concern is whether this variant is more likely to infect human lung epithelial cells, similar to the parent virus that caused the pandemic in 2020,” he said in the journal Cell.

So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that BA.2.86 cases reported in the United States have increased hospitalizations in the country but have not led to more deaths.

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