The story began on Thursday, May 27, when Public Health England (PHE) announced that 109 cases of a strain dubbed C.363 (C.36.3) had been detected.This strain was first discovered in Thailand in a person who had traveled from Egypt and had tested positive for the virus while he was in government quarantine, according to a report in the British newspaper “Mirror”.
C363 is one of nine strains under investigation by Public Health England, along with other mutations that were first discovered in the UK, India and the Philippines.
The Thai government said the person tested positive while in quarantine after arriving. The government stated that the patient was treated and recovered. backlash
Media reports’ description of the virus – the “Thai strain” – provoked a backlash from ministers in Bangkok.
The Thai government said – today, Friday – that there is no Thai variant of Covid-19 because “C363” was not found in a local infection.
The only case reported in Thailand was of a traveler from Egypt.
In principle, the origin was in Egypt, Subakit Cirillak, director general of the Department of Medical Sciences, told the Bangkok Post. So it cannot be called the Thai variant, adding, “It should be called the Egyptian variant.”
“This is similar to Japan, when they found the Brazilian variant they reported that it was a Brazilian strain, so this variant should be called the Egyptian,” Dr. Cerillac was quoted by The Independent as saying.
This situation highlights concerns that using place names to identify strains of COVID-19 creates stigma and puts people from those places at risk of racial abuse.
Do vaccines work against C363?
There is no indication that current vaccines are not effective against the new strain.
Is the “C 363” strain more dangerous than other strains?
There is no evidence that the variant is more severe than other breeds. Public Health England said there was currently no evidence that this alternative would cause more serious disease or make currently circulating vaccines less effective.
What countries were the C363 strain discovered in?
Public Health England reported that at least 34 countries have reported at least one “one sequence of the variant”, including Germany, France, Spain and the United States.
What is the origin of the C363 strain?
We will not enter into this controversy. What is important from the ongoing debate is the importance of not linking virus strains to countries, because it threatens stigma.
And the World Health Organization announced – last Monday – that the strains of the Corona virus will be named with Greek alphabets, saying that this will help to avoid stigmatizing the countries in which these strains appear for the first time.
The World Health Organization said that a number of experts – consulted by the organization – recommended the development of new names – which “would be easier and more practical to discuss – by non-scientific audiences.”
The organization stated that the current systems for naming and tracing the genetic lineages of the Corona virus (its scientific name is SARS Cove 2) – which causes “Covid-19” – will continue to be used by scientists and scientific research.
The World Health Organization has so far identified 4 different forms of the strains.
The strain discovered in Britain for the first time will be called “Alpha”, the strain discovered in South Africa will be called “Beta”, and the strain discovered in Brazil will be called “Gamma”. The newer strain discovered in India will also be called “Delta”.
Why are experts likely to discover more mutated strains?
In a report published by the French newspaper “Le Parisien”, writer Nicolas Perrault says that it is expected that the spread of genetic sequencing tests will lead to the discovery of new strains of corona.
“We expect to discover more mutated strains as the virus spreads and evolves, and genetic sequencing tests are offered around the world,” Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist and responsible for managing the COVID-19 pandemic at the World Health Organization, said in a tweet on Twitter.
To understand what the World Health Organization says about discovering more strains, we must first understand the meaning of a mutated strain. The genetic makeup of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is formed from a long chain of ribonucleic acids (RNA), amounting to 30 thousand nucleotides, and it is constantly evolving.
Sometimes ‘mistakes’ occur when repeating the sequence, which leads to the emergence of new mutations called mutated strains; Because it differs in its composition from the original strain.
“This type of virus is highly evolving, so the probability of the emergence of new mutated strains is very high,” confirms Philip Froguel, a geneticist and professor at Imperial College London.
The World Health Organization has urged the countries of the world to intensify genetic sequencing examinations, and confirmed that a lot of progress has been recorded towards detecting new mutated strains, but should we fear the emergence of more strains?
In fact, not all new strains are necessarily more dangerous than the original virus, spread faster, or more resistant to vaccines.
“The presence of certain mutations does not necessarily change the characteristics of the virus, so it is normal for there to be a mixture of mutations in most cases,” says Bjorn Meyer, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute.
Classification of mutated strains according to their severity
The French Public Health Agency classifies mutated strains of the emerging coronavirus into 3 categories according to their degree of severity, which are “alarming”, “worthy of follow-up” and “under evaluation”.
In this context, Samuel Allison, a biologist and director of research at the French National Center for Scientific Research, says, “I think we will discover more mutated strains that are worth pursuing, because the more we examine, we will find new ones. This can help us reduce the number of mutated strains of concern, Because if we move fast, you will never move from one stage to another.”
“We also need to know if we are heading towards the emergence of more mutated strains,” he adds, which is a difficult question to answer. Because it “depends on uncontrollable factors, such as the dynamics of the epidemic spreading around the world.”