The new strain of the virus has infected more than a thousand people in the south of England, and the incidence of the disease is rising dramatically.
Many people question whether such a mutation could spread more easily, could worsen symptoms, and potentially neutralize new vaccines.
“It is not clear to what extent the outbreak in the south of England is due to the new species or whether mutations have led to changes in the behavior of the virus,” said Matt Hancock.
“There is currently nothing to suggest about this new strain of the coronavirus, and it is unclear whether this new strain could worsen the disease or make vaccines ineffective,” he said.
This new species is called VUI-202012/01 and is defined by a set of 17 changes or mutations. Theoretically, changes in the “spike” protein could lead to a more infectious virus and easier spread among people. .
According to the BBC, three factors cause concern about this new species of Covid-19; First, the new species is said to be spreading faster than other versions – as it is 70% more infectious.
It is also said to be the most common version of the virus in the UK, and thirdly, changes have been made to its “spike” protein.
On the other hand, Sputnik website reported that the officials of the World Health Organization, while explaining the reasons for the emergence and characteristics of the new corona in Britain, called for keeping the people of this country calm.
“The likelihood of the virus improving is increasing as the transmission increases,” said Sylvie Brian, a senior World Health Organization official. In addition, because the corona virus is an animal virus, it gradually adapts to the human body during mutations, so for each mutation detected, it is necessary to determine what new features it acquires, whether major changes. Occurs or is just a natural transformation.
“Currently, the World Health Organization does not see the impact of the new SARS-CoV-2 mutation on mortality. The organization also doubts that the new strain will be effective in neutralizing vaccines.
Brian expressed hope that restrictions imposed in the UK before the start of widespread vaccinations would slow the spread of the new mutation. However, the situation remains unclear and countries may have to take extra precautions.
The Corona vaccine injection operation began on Tuesday, December 9, across the UK. The government hopes to vaccinate the country’s population of 66 million by next summer.
So far, more than 2 million people across the UK have been diagnosed with corona, which has killed about 67,000 people.
Today, a member of the Neurological Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) said that more than 3,000 Sars-Cov-2 mutations have been observed so far, a handful of which appear to be significant.
News released yesterday states that the new species discovered in the southeast could be up to 70 percent more transmissible, increasing the R (baseline virus replication rate) by 10 percent or more. But given the data so far, it does not appear to increase the risk of serious illness or mortality.
Stuart Neal, a professor of virology at King’s College London, said: “The data collected so far is consistent with the notion that this species is more contagious, or could spread more efficiently, but we do not have laboratory confirmation. The biggest concern for scientists right now is a change in the spike protein of this species – the part of the virus that allows it to penetrate cells in the lungs, throat and nasal cavity by interacting with a receptor called ACE2. Mutations in the spike protein may give the virus an advantage. On the other hand, it can prevent the vaccine from working.
In Europe, countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Romania, Sweden, Croatia, the Netherlands, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia have announced their flights from their destination since late Sunday. The British are stopping and have also restricted some land traffic.
Non-European countries, including El Salvador, Iran, Colombia, Turkey, Morocco, Argentina, Peru and Saudi Arabia, have also announced restrictions on British flights to their countries.
Canada says it has suspended flights from the UK for 72 hours.
Now, given that virologists do not know the exact behavior of the mutated virus and its risk, and on the other hand, the injection of the vaccine has started and is progressing, it is better to follow the social distance and health protocols for the duration of the vaccine. We will save ourselves and others from the potential danger of this mutated virus, as well as a significant reduction in the prevalence of vaccine-induced disease.