Scientists have discovered a new variant in South Africa and Botswana

Scientists have discovered a new variant in South Africa and Botswana

The B.1.1.529 variant exhibits “too many” mutations, raising concerns about the effectiveness of existing vaccines.

Scientists in South Africa have discovered a new variant of the Kovid-19 that carries “too many” mutations. This feature raises concerns about the effectiveness of existing vaccines. So far, only ten cases in three countries have been confirmed using genomic sequencing.

This variant, called B.1.1.529, was first seen in Botswana on November 11, where three cases have now been settled. Six more cases were confirmed in South Africa, with one of the passengers returning from South Africa in Hong Kong.

“Because of the nature of the virus, which mutates intermittently and randomly, it is not uncommon for a small number of cases to appear with new mutations. British Health Safety Agency The guard.

A large number of mutations

According to the researchers, this variant has 32 mutations in the spike protein, and most vaccines are part of the virus used to induce immunity against covid. Therefore, mutations in the spike protein can affect the virus’s ability to infect and spread the virus, making it more difficult for the immune cells to attack the pathogen.

According to Ravi Gupta, Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the University of Cambridge, two mutations in B.1.1.529 increase infection and reduce antibody detection. “Of course this seems to be a major concern. However, an important property of the unknown virus is its contagion, which is what primarily motivated the Delta variant,” he explains. Patron.

Professor Franവാois Balucas, director of the Institute of Genetics at UCL, said that this variant had a lot of mutations at one time, indicating that it may have evolved during a chronic infection in a person with a weakened immune system. An untreated patient with HIV.

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The situation in South Africa is worrying

Scientists are watching for signs that the new variety is gaining strength and spreading more widely. Some South African virologists are already concerned, especially given the increase in recent cases. Gauteng, B.1.1.529 An urban area including Pretoria and Johannesburg discovered.

South African Health Minister Joe Fahla said in a press conference on Thursday that the appearance of this variant was undoubtedly the origin of the “exponential” increase in pollution in recent weeks. South Africa, which fears a new wave of pandemics by the end of the year, is officially the most affected by the continental pandemic. It has more than 2.9 million cases and more than 89,600 deaths.

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