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Covid variant “could be more contagious” than any other, scientists warn UK News

Scientists have issued a warning regarding a new variant of Covid that “could be more infectious” than any other so far.

The C.1.2 strain was detected by scientists in South Africa in May of this year and is believed to have the potential to escape coronavirus vaccines.

After being identified in South Africa, the variant has since been found in England, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland.

“Most mutated variant to date”

Scientists have linked the strain to “increased transmissibility” and is believed to be the most mutated variant detected so far since the virus was first discovered in Wuhan, China last year.

The C.1.2 strain has a mutation rate of around 41.8 mutations per year, according to experts from the South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases and the KwaZulu research sequencing and innovation platform. Native.

This is almost double the current global mutation rate for any other variant of coronavirus (VOC) of concern that has been found to date.

The researchers found a monthly increase in the number of C.1.2 genomes in South Africa, which rose from 0.2% in May to 1.6% in June. This increased again in July to 2.0.

The Alpha, Beta, and Gamma variants also all showed short periods of steadily increasing mutations, with scientists finding that 14 mutations in almost 50% of the variants had a C.1.2 sequence.

It is believed that this ability to constantly mutate could help the virus escape the antibodies provided by the Covid-19 vaccine, thereby reducing immunity.

The scientists published the results in the scientific journal Nature, writing: “We describe and characterize a newly identified SARS-CoV-2 line with several cutting edge mutations that is likely to have emerged in a large metropolitan area in South Africa. after the first wave of the epidemic, then spread to several places in two neighboring provinces.

“We show that this lineage quickly spread and became dominant in three provinces, at the same time that there was a rapid resurgence of infections.

“Although the full importation of the mutations is not yet clear, genomic and epidemiological data suggest that this variant has a selective advantage – of increased transmissibility, immune evasion, or both.

“These data underscore the urgent need to refocus the public health response in South Africa on reducing transmission to low levels, not only to reduce hospitalizations and deaths, but also to limit the spread of this lineage and l future course of the virus. ”

Covid strain is one of 10 variants in UK

Public Health England has revealed that the C.1.2 strain is one of 10 coronavirus variants currently being monitored by scientists in the UK.

Another South African strain, dubbed B.1.351, was discovered by scientists in a study in April that had the potential to “break through” the protection provided by the Pfizer vaccine.

Researchers compared nearly 400 people who tested positive for Covid-19 14 days or more after receiving one or two doses of the vaccine against the same number of people with the virus and not vaccinated.

The results showed that the vaccine appeared to be less effective against the B.1.351 variant, after the variant was found among many who received two doses.

The results suggest that the variant is, “to some extent”, capable of “breaking through the protection of the vaccine”.

However, the researchers said the prevalence of the B.1.351 strain among those tested was low, meaning that it did not spread widely in the population.

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This notice was published: 2021-08-31 08:56:25

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