It is not surprising to see the Corona virus change and evolve, this is what viruses do. With the spread of “Covid-19” infection throughout the United States and other parts of the world, the virus has many opportunities to do so.
Four of the new mutated coronavirus strains are of particular concern.
“It appears that the recently identified strains spread more easily. They are more transmissible, which could lead to an increase in the number of cases and increase the stress on our system,” Dr. Rochelle Wallinsky, the newly appointed head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a press briefing on Wednesday. Already overloaded. ”
What scientists fear most is that one of the strains of the Corona virus will mutate to the point that it causes more severe disease, or its discovery exceeds the ability of tests or exceeds the protection provided by vaccination.
While some of the new strains appear to contain changes that appear to affect the immune response, it is only a matter of a certain degree.
Governments are already responding to these risks, with Colombia banning flights from Brazil, and Brazil banning flights from South Africa.
It is almost certain that it is too late to stop the spread, and there is some evidence that mutations in these strains are emerging independently and in multiple locations.
Here is what is known about the new mutated strains of the Coronavirus in the top four.
At the top of the list of researchers in the United States is the “B.1.1.7” mutation, which was first discovered in Britain.
And the Centers for Disease Control has warned that it may exacerbate the spread of the epidemic.
More than 300 cases of the mutated strain of Coronavirus have been recorded in 28 US states, and they are only those that were discovered through genetic sequencing.
However, scientists are still reassured of the ability of the human immune system to deal with the mutants that have appeared so far, especially the “B.1.1.7” mutant.
“As far as we know it is transmitted in the same way,” Gregory Armstrong, director of the CDC’s Office of Advanced Molecular Detection, told CNN.
This means that known measures that help reduce the spread will stop the new mutants, including: using a face mask, social distancing, avoiding large groups or crowds, and washing hands frequently.
However, mutations in the mutated strain help cells enter cells more easily, which means that if someone breathes air that contains viral particles, these particles are more likely to infect some cells in the sinuses.
The worrying mutations also enhance the spiky protein that the virus uses to attach to human cells, which means that people are more susceptible to infection through exposure.
So people need to make greater efforts to limit the spread of the disease, so that the vaccination process can be speeded up.
Armstrong explained that it is important to adhere to the wearing of face masks in order to reduce transmission, while making the vaccine available on a large scale.
There have been some confusing reports about whether the B.1.1.7 mutant has caused more severe disease in Britain.
“The latest data from the United Kingdom indicate that it appears to be more severe in terms of its likelihood of causing a more serious disease,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in a webcast Thursday, sponsored by the National Education Association.
This mutated strain was first discovered in South Africa, and is known as “B.1.351” or “501Y.V2”, and it was first recorded in the United States, Thursday, in South Carolina.
The two people lived in different parts of the state and neither had traveled recently, although Dr. Brannon Traxler, the interim director of public health at the Department of Health, refused to say whether that indicated it was certain the strain was circulating in society.
The new strain was discovered in more than 30 other countries, according to the World Health Organization
“The strain that was first discovered in South Africa has spread rapidly beyond Africa, so what keeps me awake at night now is that it is likely spreading to a number of countries,” said WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Machidisso Moeti. African “.
The new strain consists of a different pattern of mutations that cause more physical changes in the structure of the spiky protein on the surface of the virus, than the mutated strain “B.1.1.7”.
And it appears to have one important mutation, called “E484K”, that affects the receptor binding domain, the part of the prickly protein that attaches to the surfaces of human cells upon infection.
This mutated strain could help the virus escape in part from the effects of vaccines.
Vaccine makers and academic researchers are testing samples of this strain, along with others, to see if the virus can escape the immune response caused by the vaccination.
However, Fauci tells CNN that there is additional immunity protection due to vaccination.
Teams at Columbia University and the Aaron Diamond Center for AIDS Research at Columbia University and elsewhere have also tested laboratory copies of viral mutations against blood samples of people who received the vaccine and say that while there appears to be a fairly small effect of the vaccination, it is not sufficient to weaken protection, so far. .
But the Maryland-based vaccine manufacturer Novavax released the preliminary results of the Coronavirus vaccine on Thursday, which showed that while the vaccine was more than 89% effective during the third phase trials in Britain, earlier smaller phase II trials conducted in South Africa showed amid an outbreak The mutated strain, that the effectiveness of the vaccine there is only 60%.
Pfizer and Moderna say they are working on making booster vaccines that treat the mutated strains. Vaccine design aims to make this process fast and easy, and a new version of the genetic code used in vaccine production will deliver.
There is also evidence that the changes may help the virus bypass the monoclonal antibody therapies developed by Eli Lilly and Partners and the company, Regeneron as well.
A strain suspected of fueling the resurgence of the Coronavirus in Brazil appeared in the US state of Minnesota for the first time this week.
The victim, who carried the mutated strain, was traveling from Brazil, so there is no indication yet that the strain is spreading in society.
This mutated strain, named P.1, was discovered in 42% of the samples during a survey conducted in the Brazilian city of Manaus, and Japanese officials found that four travelers from Brazil carry this mutated strain.
The CDC said: “The emergence of this mutated strain raises concerns about a possible increase in transmissibility or the tendency to re-infect people with SARS-Cove-2.”
The mutated strain “P.1” also carries the “E484K” mutation, which is present in the “B.1.351” strain.
There is also a new mutated strain discovered in California, as well as dozens of other states. It also has a mutation in the spinal-shape protein receptor binding domain, coded “L425R,” and although it is commonly present, it is not yet clear whether it is more transmissible.
Any viral strain could become more common due to what is known as the “founder effect”. And if a particular strain happened to spread when its transmission increased due to human behavior, then this strain would persist and become more common not because it spread more easily, but simply because it was present.
It will take more study to show whether these mutated strains could increase the massive spread of the virus.
The United States has recorded more than 25 million diagnosed cases of “Covid-19” disease and more than 430,000 deaths.
“The emergence of mutants underscores the need for public health measures,” Walinsky advised.
“First, get vaccinated when your turn is up. Also, some people may need help getting vaccinated, please consider helping your neighbors and loved ones to schedule vaccinations. Second, wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands. Finally, now,” Wallinsky said. Not the time to travel. ”