Just as the crowd around the new strain of coronavirus discovered in the UK calmed down, a new mutation of Covid-19 was announced in Denmark, Brazil, Malaysia and some other countries.
We will try to understand how “updated” versions of the virus differ from each other, how dangerous they are, and whether the rapid mutation of Covid-19 can jeopardize the effectiveness of already developed and mass-produced vaccines.
A mutant virus from the UK. Name – VUI-202012/01
The World Health Organization announced the discovery of a new strain of the Covid-19 virus in the UK last Sunday, December 20th.
It is estimated that it may be 70% more contagious than the already known “version” of the coronavirus. Whether it is more deadly or not is still unknown.
Mutated virus from South Africa. Name – 501.V2
On Tuesday, December 22, another strain of Covid-19 was recorded in the UK – two people who were in contact with those traveling to South Africa became infected.
A few days earlier, on December 18, South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on his Twitter account the discovery of a new type of SARS-CoV-2 virus in the country. It was named 501.V2.
We convened this public meeting today to announce that a variant of the SARS-COV-2 virus currently called the 501.V2 variant has been identified by our genomic scientists here in South Africa.# SARSCOV2MediaBriefing
– Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) December 18, 2020
According to Mkhize, mutated coronavirus has begun to predominate in the last two months. Scientists link the second wave of the epidemic in the country to this version of the virus.
According to the BBC, this the variant shares some similarities to the one already discovered in the UK, although they have evolved separately.
They both have a mutation – called N501Y – which is a key part of the virus used to infect the body’s cells.
Therefore, at the moment, the ability of the new type of Covid-19 from South Africa to spread quickly is considered its “specialty”, that is, it (like the one in Great Britain) can be more contagious.
Also, based on the words of Zweli Mkhize, with the appearance of N501Y, more young patients are hospitalized in critical condition due to coronavirus.
“A higher proportion of younger patients without comorbidities with critical illness,” he wrote.
Mutated virus from Denmark. Name – N439K
The Danish State Serum Institute on Tuesday, December 22, announced the identification of a coronavirus mutation, which could be less sensitive to the vaccine.
New Covid-19 in Denmark
“There are concerns about how effective the vaccine will be against N439K. It is therefore important to note how widespread the infection with this variant is in Denmark and whether it has spread to particularly vulnerable groups.“, says the head of the department Tyra Grove Krause in the comment.
From August 8 to December 6, the mutation was found in 1624 Danish samples.
No deaths were reported among individuals infected with the mutation.
Scientists say that about 10% of all tested in the country of infection with a confirmed diagnosis are carriers of a new variant of the virus.
“In terms of gender and age, N439K is generally spreading in the same way as SARS-CoV-2 in Denmark. The hospitalization rate is lower than in the case of SARS-CoV-2,” the institute said.
The version has nothing to do with the mink or British variants found mentioned these days, it was noted.
Mutated virus from Brazil. Name – B.1.1.28
On Wednesday, December 23, the Brazilian TV channel Globo, referring to a study by the National Laboratory for Scientific Computing, announced the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil, National Laboratory for Scientific Computing
Scientists say they currently have no confirmation that the new strain is more contagious or aggressive.
During the research of the new version of Covid-19, it was only shown that it differs from the “mother” virus by mutations in 38 out of 180 genomes and, similarly to the “British” type, it has an E484K mutation in the S-protein.
It was also determined that this type of pathogen appeared in July in Rio de Janeiro, after which its traces were found in 19 different cities in the country.
Mutant virus from Malaysia. Name – A701V
Health Minister Noor Hisham Abdullah on Wednesday, December 23, announced the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus in the country, called A701V. The latter was discovered as a result of testing samples from the state of Sabah.
“But we still need to know the clinical impact of this variant, its rate of infectivity or aggressiveness,” she was quoted as saying. Noor Hisham in the New Straits Times.
He said the health ministry would continue to monitor the virus mutation and its impact on the evaluation of the effectiveness of Covid-19.
Mutated virus from Nigeria. Name – P681H
Another new variant of the coronavirus has appeared in Nigeria, the highest African public health official has announced that, as Blick reports.
John Nkengasong, head of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has discovered the existence of a new one P681H stress.
It is considered to be different from the strains recently discovered in Great Britain and South Africa.
Doctors currently do not think that the new strain in Nigeria is more contagious than the previous ones, but others. Nkengasong admitted it was too early to be sure.
“Give us time … it’s still very early,” he said.
The warning of an obvious new variant was based on two or three genetic sequences, he said, but that and a warning from South Africa late last week were enough for an emergency meeting of the African CDC.
He was found in two samples of patients collected on August 3 and October 9 in the Nigerian state of Osun.
The WHO advises data exchange
In response to news from the UK about a new strain of coronavirus, the World Health Organization said it feared new Covid-19 mutations.
According to the WHO / Europe website, all viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, change as they circulate. These changes can lead to changes in the characteristics of the virus. This is why the WHO is closely monitoring the changes and why everyone must continue to take all actions to slow down and eventually stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
“The WHO advises all countries to increase the order of SARS-CoV-2 viruses, where possible, share sequence data internationally and report if the same mutations of concern are identified,” the message said.