Scientists and health officials South Africa This Thursday confirms the discovery of a new variant Corona virus, Identified as B.1.1.529, has a number of mutations and has caused “concern” among experts, although its impact has not yet been studied.
New variant Presents “the most unusual mutation galaxy”, But Its “meaning is still uncertain”Professor Tulio de Oliveira explains at a virtual press conference from the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Sequencing Innovation Platform (KRISP, a scientific institute in East South Africa).
Overall, so far, cases of this variation have been confirmed South Africa, On Hong Kong (On a traveler from an African country) and in a neighboring country Botswana, According to data provided by the National Institute for Infectious Diseases of South Africa.
In total, P.1.1.529 contains more than thirty mutations Some of them, according to South African scientists, are of concern because of their potential impact on the spread and their ability to withstand immunity or previous defenses.
“This variation surprised us, it has a huge evolution, there are many more variations than we expected, especially after the very severe delta (variation) of the third wave”, “he said. Oliveira pointed out.
“We can see this variation expanding very quickly.”, This expert regretted, Based on data collected in the South African province of Gauteng (where Johannesburg and Pretoria are located), the number of Govt-19 cases has increased significantly in recent days.
However, South African experts have stressed that the detection of this new variant was carried out “very, very quickly” and is confident that it will be conducive to controlling its expansion.
In fact, the discovery of this variation occurred in an analysis of samples taken between November 14 and 16 after an increase in the number of cases detected in Johannesburg and Pretoria on November 23.
“It simply came to our notice then.”, For his part, South African Health Minister Joe Pahla stressed at the same press conference.
Oliveira also pointed out that they hope the World Health Organization (WHO) will give this variation a new Greek name tomorrow, as it did with others; And b.1.1.529 Although it was first discovered in South Africa, it does not mean that it appeared in this southern country.
To date, South Africa About 2.95 million Govt-19 cases have accumulated with 90,000 deaths.
This southern country is the epicenter of the epidemic within the African continent and has already experienced the effects of the discovery and expansion of another variant of beta during its second wave (late 2020 and early 2021), which was later wiped out. Delta variation in the third wave (mid-2021).
Who reads the new variant
Experts from World Health Organization (WHO) They are analyzing the new variant along with their South African counterparts.
“This is a variation to follow, it’s worrying.”Maria van Kerkov, head of the WHO Antigovit technology division, pointed out in an interview with Internet users, however, that the findings show that the laboratory’s alert level for COVID is still high.
“We do not yet know much about this variant. We know it has a high number of mutations and is concerned that it affects the behavior of the virus.”, Van Kerkov, highlighted in the sense that it could change its contagious potential or the effectiveness of treatments, diagnoses and vaccines. Corona virus.
“It will take a few days to see what impact this will have and the potential of vaccines against variability”, The expert stressed that a group of WHO advisers would hold a meeting to analyze it.
“There is no cause for the alarm, but we need to see what it means.”Van Kerkow recalled that the delta variant, which is the cause of all the new COVID-19 infections currently in practice on the planet, also has different mutations.
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