An alarming discovery has been made regarding the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 259 million people. Scientists have identified the most mutated variant of Covid-19 in Botswana, located in southern Africa.
Statements were made about the new corona virus variant detected in South Africa. There has been a wave of risk aversion in global markets due to a new variant of Covid, which experts in the UK are calling "the worst we've ever seen". The World Health Organization (WHO) decided to convene specifically for the variant today.
Scientists have identified the most mutated variant of Covid-19 so far in Botswana. This variant, officially known with the code B.1.1.529, was called the "Nu variant".
Experts announced that 32 different mutations were detected in this variant, and announced that this virus may be more resistant to coronavirus vaccines.
While scientists commented, "This variant may be the most dangerous among those we have encountered so far," it was stated that only 10 cases have been detected so far. Explaining that it is found in three different countries, Professor François Balloux, a scientist at the University of London College, said, "This variant probably mutated after it was transmitted to an undiagnosed AIDS patient."
“THE WORST THING WE EVER ENCOUNTERED”
Stating that the vaccines developed now may be less effective against this variant due to genetic mutation, Dr. "The mutation combination of this variant is terrible," Tom Peacock told the British Daily Mail. “This variant on paper may be the worst we've come across, including the Delta variant,” Peacock said.
Explaining that this virus, known as the Nu variant, is currently unstable and this may cause greater difficulty in combating the disease, experts said, “3 variants were detected in Botswana and 6 cases in South Africa. This disease was also detected in a 36-year-old man living in Hong Kong.”
The British authorities also took action regarding the incident… The British public health organization announced that they were closely following the developments in the region.
THERE ARE PIECES OF MANY MUTATIONS
Scientists announced that K417N and E484A mutations in the Beta variant were detected in the Nu variant and that they provide resistance to the vaccine, while at the same time, N440K in the Delta variant and S477N mutations in the New York variant were also detected. These mutations also serve to evade antibodies.
On the other hand, experts stated that P681H and N679K mutations have also been detected and they are normally seen very rarely together. Experts stated that these mutations also provide resistance to the vaccine.
Scientists stated that the N501Y mutation in the Nu variant accelerates the transmission. G446S, T478K, Q493K, G496S, Q498R and Y505H mutations were also detected in the Nu variant. But scientists underlined that the effect of these is not yet known.
WHO MEETING SPECIALLY
The World Health Organization also made a statement regarding the new variant, which creates a wave of risk aversion due to the aforementioned reasons in global markets.
WHO's Covid-19 technical officer, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said they are scheduling a private meeting to discuss an emerging and "heavily mutated" variant of Covid-19 that could bypass the immunity conferred by vaccines and previous infections.
The meeting will reportedly discuss what the variant, referred to as B.1.1.529, could potentially mean for vaccines, testing, emerging symptoms and medical treatments.
Van Kerkhove added that if the WHO's virus evolution working group decides that the variant is one of interest that could become more common, the group will assign it a Greek name.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE OF THIS VARIANT?
Scientists say the variant, identified as B.1.1.529, carries multiple mutations in the spike protein, which plays an important role in its entry into cells in the body.
While the spike protein is the site that vaccines target, researchers are still trying to determine if it is more contagious or more lethal than its predecessors.
WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
So far there are only a few speculations about where the new strain came from. A scientist at the UCL Institute of Genetics in London said the variant likely developed during a chronic infection of an immunocompromised person.
It was emphasized that this person was probably an untreated HIV/AIDS patient.
South Africa stands out as the country with the most HIV virus in the world. While there are 8,2 million HIV patients identified in the country, it was reported that the beta variant identified in South Africa last year may have come from a person infected with HIV.
As of Thursday, the strain, which has become the dominant strain among the new infections, has been detected in about 100 cases in South Africa.
Early PCR test results showed that 100 percent of the 90 new cases reported Wednesday in the South African state, which includes Johannesburg, resulted from the new variant, according to Tulio de Oliveira, professor of bioinformatics, who heads the gene sequencing institutions at two South African universities.
In neighboring Botswana, authorities recorded four cases in fully vaccinated people on Monday, while in Hong Kong the new variant was detected in a traveler from South Africa.
Stating that it is premature to make a statement about how alarming the new strain is, the World Health Organization said that the current new variant has less than 100 complete genomic sequences, which means that the information will be updated by seeing the time it takes to study the new strain and how well current vaccines work against it. .