What scientists and officials in South Africa write about the new strain of coronavirus B.1.1.529

A new version coronavirus B.1.1.529, discovered in the south of the African continent, has spread panic in the world. What scientists and officials in South Africa write about the new virus.

Scientists are now looking to understand the impact of a highly mutated new strain, which they fear may be more infectious than Delta.

According to the Co-Chair of the South African Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee Koleki Mlisana, most of the infections recently identified in Gauteng province have been found in young people, and work is underway to determine if they have been vaccinated or not.

The new variant has a unique constellation of dozens of mutations, more than 30 of which are associated with a spike protein that the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses to enter human cells. But it is not yet clear how quickly it is transmitted, whether it is more virulent than older lines, and to what extent it is able to evade immunity formed by prior infection or vaccination, said an infectious disease specialist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Richard Lessells.

Although many mutations have been identified in older variants and have been well studied, others are new, and the full meaning of the combination found in B.1.1.529 is not yet understood, he said.

Researchers have begun laboratory tests to try to uncover the effects of the B.1.1.529 mutations, but it will take several weeks before they get results, said a senior research scientist at NICD. Penny Moore.

South Africa has requested a meeting with the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday to discuss a new variant of the coronavirus and expects to be given a new name based on a letter of the Greek alphabet.

B.1.1.529 was first discovered in Botswana on 11 November. It has been confirmed in about 100 samples collected in South Africa, but hundreds more are under analysis and this number is expected to rise.

The UK said it bans travel from six South African countries.

The news of the discovery of this strain frightened investors in trading earlier in the day, when Tokyo shares fell three percent.

Kamil Khafizov, head of the scientific group for the development of new methods for diagnosing human diseases at the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor, said that a new strain could appear in the Russian Federation.

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