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New corona variant with many mutations discovered in Africa – Wel.nl


Scientists have discovered a new corona variant with an ‘extremely high number of mutations’. B.1.1.529, as the variant is called, worries them, although the degree of infectiousness is still unclear, writes The Guardian.

Ten cases have been found so far in three countries, Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong (in a traveler returning from South Africa). A cause for concern is the high number of 32 mutations on the spike protein. This is the part of the virus used by vaccines to instruct the immune system against Covid. Mutations in the spike protein can affect the virus’ ability to infect and spread other cells. It is also more difficult for immune cells to attack the virus.

Virologist at Imperial College London, Dr Tom Peacock, wrote that the “incredibly high number of spike mutations is of great concern.” “The variant needs to be monitored very closely, because of that horrific spike profile,” Peacock said. But he adds: “It may be that it is a rare cluster and that the variant is not spreading quickly. I hope that is the case.”

Cambridge University microbiology professor Ravi Gupta says research into the corona variant shows that two of the mutations increased infection rates and reduced antibody recognition. “It certainly looks alarming,” Gupta told The Guardian. “But a very important feature of the virus is still unknown, which is how quickly it spreads. Escape from immunity is only part of the picture of what lies ahead.”

Bron (nen): The Guardian
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