• Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

In Africa, they found another variant of the coronavirus with a large number of mutations – SME.sk

Byeditorial

Nov 25, 2021

The WHO closely monitors the variants.

JOHANNESBURG. Scientists v Republic of South Africa announced that they had found a new variant coronavirus containing a large number of mutations, and this is due to the current increase in the number of infected in the country.

This variant has already been noted in Botswana and Hong Kong among passengers coming from South Africa.

The information was provided by the AFP news agency.

Infections have increased tenfold

The number of daily infections in Africa’s worst-hit country, South Africa, has increased tenfold since the beginning of the month.

“Unfortunately, we have identified a new variant that is a cause for concern in South Africa,” virologist Tulio de Oliveira told a hastily called press conference.

Due to its many mutations in the spike protein, this variant could more easily bypass the human immune system and subsequently infect more people. It is the spike protein that the coronavirus penetrates into the human cell.

The variant was given the scientific designation B.1.1.529 and “has a very large number of mutations,” de Oliveira said, adding that the World Health Organization (WHO) will give the new variant a Greek designation on Friday.

“Unfortunately, it is causing a new increase in cases of infection,” he added.

He also reported on the occurrence of this new variant in Botswana and Hong Kong.

The WHO is monitoring the situation

The WHO has announced that it is “closely monitoring” this reported option and is expected to convene a technical meeting on Friday to decide whether it should be classified as an “interest” or “worrying” option.

“Initial analyzes show that this variant has a large number of mutations, which requires further research and will do so,” the WHO said.

South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the option was “seriously worrying” and he was behind the “exponential” growth in reported cases of infection in the country. Therefore, it is a “major threat,” he added.

The daily number of cases in South Africa reached 1,200 on Wednesday, an increase from 106 cases this month.

So far, 22 positive cases of variant B.1.1.529 have been identified in South Africa. It is growing faster in three provinces, including Gauteng, home to the economic capital Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria.

Last year, South Africa also discovered coronavirus beta variants.

The researchers said that the new variant B.1.1.529 has at least ten mutations – compared to two delta mutations and three beta mutations.

The next days and weeks will be crucial when determining the true risk of this option, scientists say.

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