British Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Wednesday that a second “more contagious” type of coronavirus has been discovered than the one reported last week.
(in addition to: What is this new SARS-CoV-2 variant and what is it known about?)
This version of Sars-CoV-2, linked to people who traveled to the UK from South Africa, It is “very disturbing” and appears to have more mutations than those that are spreading rapidly in southern England. Given the emergence of this alternative, the British government will impose “immediate” restrictions on travel to South Africa and impose strict quarantine on people who have returned from this country in the past two weeks and their contacts.
The United Kingdom has so far identified two cases of this new species on its soil, both in individuals close to people who have traveled in recent weeks. “We are very grateful to the South African government for its scientific rigor and for the openness and transparency it dealt with when the new alternative was discovered here. “Hancock said at a press conference.
At the same time, the minister announced that more areas of England will enter the maximum restrictions against the epidemic in the coming days, given the expansion in recent days of the variable reported last week, which appears to be moving faster than previous versions of the virus.
After discovering this alternative, more than fifty countries have limited travel from the UK.
More than 50 countries have restricted travel from the UK due to the new virus variant
According to the latest official figures, injuries on British soil have increased by 61.2% in the past seven days compared to the previous seven days. In England, 17,709 people with COVID-19 have already been admittedCloser and closer to 18974, were treated in hospital at the height of the first wave of the epidemic, on April 12th.
(Also read: When can you be vaccinated? Learn the stages and who will be the first)
What was the alternative that was discovered last week?
According to Patrick Vallance, a scientific adviser to the British government, the viral variant announced a few days earlier would have appeared in mid-September in London or Kent, to the southeast. This will be responsible for the sharp increase in hospitalizations and deaths in the capital compared to the rest of England.
However, To date, this variable has not been associated with greater clinical risk Thus it has not proven to be more lethal. In fact, Chris Whitty, England’s chief physician, said there was currently no indication that this new alternative was causing a higher case fatality rate, but work was being done urgently to confirm this.
A natural process in viruses
Carlos Alvarez, infection scientist and national coordinator of COVID-19 studies for the World Health Organization, begins by explaining this These mutations are a natural process in the evolution of viruses In fact, hundreds of them have been found without affecting the course of the epidemic.
Alvarez says the variant found last week in the United Kingdom features several modifications to its structure, among them the “N5017” mutation in Speakol of Sars-CoV-2. In other words, according to the expert, This mutation appears to allow the virus to enter human cells more quickly and thus be more contagious.
On the other hand, Alvarez points out that so far this alternative has not been proven to have an effect on the effect of vaccines, and with the available information this seems unlikely.
In fact, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has confirmed that there is “no evidence” that the covid-19 vaccine developed by the two pharmaceutical companies Pfizer / BioNTech and approved by their experts for use in the European Union (EU) It will not work against a new coronavirus variant discovered in the United Kingdom.
Carlos Eduardo Perez is an infection scientist at the National University It highlights that in this case we have to talk about a different type of virus and not about new strains. He confirms that the virus was expected to mutate, because it is another challenging amendment, because it increases the transmission of infection, and thus increases the number of cases and a greater proportion of patients. “If this population is at risk, it could lead to an increase in deaths,” he says.
Perez emphasizes in saying that this alternative has a greater potential to infect new individuals, but not the most aggressive (aggressive). “However, we should understand that Deaths occur not only from the virus, but also due to the characteristics of the infected people, He indicated that in the case of the elderly or those with comorbidities, this may mean an increase in hospitalizations and deaths.
Faced with this, Perez asserts that despite increased transmissibility, known protection and self-care measures are still effective.