South African scientists have identified a new version this week Corona virus They said this was the reason for the recent increase in Govt-19 infections in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. It is not clear where the new variant came from, but scientists do South Africa Were the first to warn WHO, Now found in travelers to Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel.
This was stated by South African Health Minister Joe Pahla This variation is associated with a “rapid increase” in recent daysExperts are still trying to determine if the new variant is really responsible.
The number rose to 2,465 on Thursday in South Africa after registering more than 200 new confirmed cases a day in recent weeks. Unable to explain the sudden increase in cases, the scientists examined samples of the virus from the outbreak and discovered a new variant.
In a statement issued on Friday, The The World Health Organization refers to this as a “worrying variant”. And called it “Omigron”, Similar to the writing of the Greek alphabet.
After convening a panel of experts to evaluate the data, The WHO Said “Early tests show an increased risk of recurrence of this variant”, Compared to other types.
The number of this variation seems to be increasing in all the provinces of South Africa. said WHO.
Why is this new variant about scientists?
It appears to have a high number of mutations in the spike protein Corona virus – About 30 – It can affect how easily it spreads to people.
Sharon Peacock, who guided the genetic sequence of the corona virus COVID-19 In the UK, at the University of Cambridge, he said the data so far indicate The new variant has variants that are “compatible with high permeability”, But “the meaning of many mutations is not yet known.”
Lawrence Young, virologist at the University of Warwick He described Omigron as “the most mutated version of the virus we’ve ever seen.”, Including disturbing changes never seen before in the virus.
Doctor Anthony Fossie, The government’s leading epidemiologist United States, Said U.S. officials arranged a call later Friday with their South African counterparts to find out more details, and said there was no indication that the variance had yet reached the United States.
What is known and what is not known about variance?
Scientists know that Omigron is genetically different from previous types, Including beta and delta variants, but they do not know whether these genetic mutations make it more contagious or dangerous. So far, there is no indication that the variant causes more severe disease.
Probably It takes weeks to find out if Omigran is highly contagious and if vaccines are still working against it.
Peter Openshaw, an experimental medicine professor at Imperial College London, said the current vaccines were “unlikely” to work and would be effective against other types.
Although some genetic variants of the Omigran variant appear to be of concern, it is not yet clear whether they pose a threat to public health. Some earlier variants, such as the beta variant, initially worried scientists, but they did not become very widespread.
“We do not know if this new variation will occur in areas where the delta is located”Said the Peacock of the University of Cambridge. “It is unknown whether this variant will succeed where other variations are in circulation.” To date, the delta variant is the most important form of corona virus COVID-19, Which represents more than 99% of the queues sent to the world’s largest public database.
How did this new variant come about?
The corona changes when the virus spreads. And many new variants, including worrying genetic mutations, will disappear without further ado. Scientists can monitor the sequence of mutations in the corona virus and make it more contagious or dangerous, but they cannot determine this by looking at the virus.
The mutation “may have originated in an infected person, but the virus could not be eliminated, giving the virus a chance to develop genetically”, in a situation where experts believe that the alpha variant appeared – was identified. For the first time in the UK, by becoming an immunocompromised person.
Are the travel restrictions imposed by some countries fair?
May be. Passengers arriving in the UK from Friday afternoon South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swatini and Zimbabwe They should be isolated for 10 days. EU countries also decided on Friday to ban flights from South Africa, And the United States said it would ban foreign travel from South Africa and seven other African countries from Monday.
In terms of recent and rapid increase COVID-19 On South AfricaNeil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, said controlling travel from the area was “smart” and would allow officials to buy time.
Jeffrey Barrett, Director of Genetics COVID-19 At WellsConger, he believes that the early detection of a new variant will have a greater impact on the now-accepted restrictions on the delta variant than it first appeared.
“As for the delta variant, a wave of terror swept through India before it was even known what was happening, and the delta variant had already spread to many parts of the world, and it was too late to do anything. Respect.”, He pointed out. “With this new variation we can be ahead of that situation, so there may still be time to do something about it.”