Covid-19: Variant B.1.1.529 is detected in 3 countries; everything that is known about the deadly strain

This Wednesday a group of researchers from Great britaina announced the appearance of a new variant coronavirus Covid-19 that allegedly arose in Botswana, southern Africa, and would be the most “different” detected so far, this information, released by the British tabloid “Daily Mail” details that ten positive cases were detected by the new version of Covid-19; variant B.1.1.529, which would also be identified as “Wildebeest”.

Until yesterday the “Nu” variant of the coronavirus Covid-19 It has been detected in at least three countries, which suggests that it is beginning to spread in various parts of the world. The B.1.1.529 was first detected on November 11 in Botswana, where three cases had already been sequenced, days later six cases were confirmed in South Africa and one in Hong Kong, present in a traveler returning from the African country.

In which countries has the new “Nu” variant of the coronavirus already been detected?

Scientists and health authorities of South Africa confirmed this Thursday the detection of a new variant of the coronavirus, identified as B.1.1.529, which has multiple mutations and which has aroused “concern” among specialists, although its impact has yet to be studied.

The new variant features “a very unusual constellation of mutations“, but its” meaning is still uncertain, “the professor explained in a virtual press conference. Tulio de Oliveira, from the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Sequencing Innovation Platform (KRISP, a scientific institution in eastern South Africa).

In total, so far, cases of this variant have been confirmed in South Africa, on Hong Kong (in a traveler from the African nation) and in the neighboring Botswana, according to data provided by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases of South Africa.

What are the characteristics of this new strain?

In total, the B.1.1.529 presents 32 mutations and some of them are, according to South African scientists, cause for concern because of their possible impact on transmissibility and their potential ability to evade immunity or prior protection.

“The variant surprised us, it has a great evolutionary leap, many more variants than we expected, especially after a third wave of very severe delta (variant), “Oliveira said.

“We could potentially see this variant expand very quickly,” lamented this specialist, based on the data collected in the South African province of Gauteng (in which Johannesburg and Pretoria), where in recent days the number of cases of Covid-19 increased significantly.

Why is it more dangerous than the Delta variant?

South African specialists emphasized, however, that the detection of this new variant It has been done “very, very early” and they were optimistic that this favors the control of their expansion.

In fact, the discovery of this variant occurred in an analysis on November 23, from samples taken between November 14 and 16 after an increase in the number of cases detected in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

“We did not want this to be around as a rumor,” emphasized, for his part, the minister of Health South African Joe Phaahla at the same press conference. For his part, Tom Peacock, a virologist at the Imperial College of London, published this week on the genome sharing website “GitHub” details about a new variant of the Covid-19:

“The incredibly high amount of mutations in spike protein suggests this could be a real concern, “Peacock wrote. virologist concluded that the export of the variant to Asia implies that it “could be more widespread” than the sequencing data shows. genomes.

Could variant B.1.1.529 be resistant to vaccines?

The new “Nu” variant of the Covid-19 “We were surprised, it has a great evolutionary leap, many more variants than we expected, especially after a third wave of (variant) very severe delta ”, highlighted Tulio de Oliveira, from the KRISP, an institution that so far has not referred about the possible resistance of the strain to vaccines developed so far.

South Africa was the first country to detect beta variant last year. The beta is one of four that the World Organization for Health qualifies as “of concern” because there is evidence that it is more transmissible and that vaccines work worse against it.

The country detected another variant, the C.1.2, but it has not displaced the more common delta variant, and it still accounts for a relatively small percentage of genomes sequenced.


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