Dec 9, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

South African scientists detect new Covid ‘super-variant’

South African scientists sequencing the genetic profile of Covid-19 have discovered a new “super variant” with multiple mutations.

Previous evidence shows that it is potentially more contagious than the Delta variant, which has spread to the world.

The announcement was made today in a virtual briefing by leading South African scientists who, given the rapid spread of the new “super variant” with the designation B.1.1.529, mainly in the metropolitan area Johannesburg last week.

Concerned scientists said they could “make some predictions” about the likely spread of the new variant by reviewing the latest genome sequencing discoveries, including the past 48 hours. which would likely be “very fast”.

At least 1,000 cases were found in about a week in the greater Johannesburg area of ​​Gauteng Province, but internationally, four cases were discovered in Botswana and one, a traveler from South Africa in Hong Kong.

Rapid spreading y

Some cases have also been found in other South African provinces, suggesting that the virus is spreading rapidly – even faster than the previous Delta variant , which triggered the country’s third wave earlier this year.

The new super variant with 10 significant mutations of the spike protein, which enables the Covid virus to attach to human cells, could be much more contagious than even the Delta variant proved itself.

But the scientific community involved in the pursuit by South Africa’s premier Network for Genomic Surveillance (NGS-SA) says it’s too early to get exactly z u say how contagious it is.

The new super variant was discovered and sequenced by a team led by Prof. Tulio de Oliveira from South Africa’s leading KRISP laboratory in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Dominant version

Prof De Oliveria and his team discovered the beta variant at this time last year, a version of Covid that fueled South Africa’s deadly second wave of infections, later from the Delta Overshadowed variant, which is still the dominant version of Covid-19.

He said that scientists had found in the last 48 hours that although the data is only about a week old, but should go to the government and the public in general.

It is not certain whether the new variant originated in South Africa or not.

It is mainly spreading among younger campus people – Outbreaks The academic year is drawing to a close.

Everything indicates so De Oliveira’s team that the new supervised variant may have developed means not only to defeat neutralizing antibodies, such as those produced by vaccination, or through natural immunity through infection, but could also bypass other defense mechanisms of the immune system such as T cells.

Work has been done to determine more precisely how severe and persistent infections with the new variant would likely be.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, leading virological researchers have believed that the ability of the Human body Fighting invasive organisms like the Covid virus is vital for those who are naturally able to fight off the infection.

Serious Concerns

But the The possibility that the new supervised variant could even circumvent these defense mechanisms of the immune system has raised serious concerns among the heads of government.

You now have to decide which M Public health action to be taken next as South Africa faces another holiday season in full virus outbreak mode change later.

“One of the few good things we can report is that we noticed this new variant very early on,” said Prof. De Oliveira.

“We can make some predictions about what we already know about this variant, but we’d really like to be wrong with these predictions. The next few days should tell us a lot more. ”

He and others involved in the sequencing of genome samples have found around 100 confirmed cases of the new variant with full sequencing completed and are expected to be 200 to 300 . complete more in the next day or two.

One happy aspect of the new variant is that it uses a single assay element of the genetic PCR tests that are used to confirm Covid-19 infections is easy to prove.