Viruses are mutated all the time, including the novel coronavirus that is the cause of global epidemics. But a version that emerged in southeast England in September is causing particular concern, creating an emergency Christmas was closed in London and included countries Canada, France and Germany Halt flights and rail links suspended.
1. Why is this mutation dangerous?
Dubbed the “B.1.1.7 lineage”, the strain has undergone about a dozen genetic changes from the virus that emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019 – commonly seen. This includes changes in key areas of the virus involved in the ability to infect people. Preliminary analysis in the UK suggests that it may be 70% more variable than other circulating SARS-CoV-2 strains and may contribute to spike in cases in the country. Maria van Kerkhov, Technical Leadership in the World Health Organization’s Kovid-19, On 20 December told the BBC that the WHO is working to understand the extent to which the virus can spread, as well as other human behavioral factors that may be driving transmission. It is also looking at whether the mutation causes more severe disease and can avoid antibodies generated by vaccination.
2. When it emerged, what is known about it?
Two earliest known specimens were collected Cases continued to be detected in the area around London and Kent in late September, and until early December. One of the reasons for the new version was that it originated with a traditionally enhanced family and social mix with the festive season. Scientists have hypothesized that the stress may result from transmission of the virus from an infected infected patient.
3. How quickly has it spread?
As of 15 December, 1,623 virus samples were identified as belonging to the B.1.1.7 lineage. Of these, 519 were collected from patients in Greater London, 555 in Kent and 545 in Britain and other areas of Britain including Scotland and Wales. Cases have also been identified Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium and Australia. Since only Approximately 10% of SARS-CoV-2 samples from UK patients undergo genetic sequencing, with the number of known cases estimated to be the correct number of infections. Transition rate in areas where stress is spreading Public Health England said on 20 December faster than expected, additional analysis found it to have a higher transmission rate than other variants in circulation. Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich School of Medicine, told the Science Media Center that the new variant was responsible for this. 62% of SARS-CoV-2 infections in London at the end of November, 28% from early November.
4. How many other mutations occur?
Viruses constantly change through mutations that arise naturally as they replicate and propagate in their hosts. As a result of this ongoing process, many thousands of mutations and isolates Lineages have already arisen in the SARS-CoV-2 genome since the virus emerged in late 2019. As mutations persist, novel variants are increasingly found, with most mutation mutations having no obvious effect on the virus. However, scientists pay the most attention to mutations that are involved in new UK-generated genes that encode the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which is associated with viral entry into cells, and immune and vaccine efficacy. Affects the
5. Will vaccines still be effective?
The extent to which SARS-CoV-2 can evolve to evade immunity induced by infection or vaccination is not currently known. Study is going on for better understanding. Van Kerkhov of WHO Told the BBC that current information suggests that the new variant has no effect on the vaccine. Over time, as more mutations occur, vaccines may have to be replaced. This is accompanied by seasonal flu, which mutates every year, and the vaccine is adjusted accordingly. Unlike the flu, coronaviruses have a proof-reading mechanism, meaning they do not mutate as quickly as the flu virus. Kovid-19 vaccines that have proven effective so far in trials If necessary, B.M.J. The Medical Journal reported on 16 December.