Covid-19 mutations worry the WHO and many governments

While, in the world, the fight against the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic is intensifying with lockdowns, curfews and vaccination campaigns, the emergency committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) looks, Thursday, January 14, on the new variants of the coronavirus, which worry the authorities.

Particularly contagious, British variants and South African of the coronavirus are swarming: the number of countries and territories where the variant initially spotted in the United Kingdom is found is 50 and it is 20 for the variant identified in South Africa, estimates the WHO, for which this assessment is probably underestimated.

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And a third mutation, originating in the Brazilian Amazon, whose discovery Japan announced on Sunday, is being analyzed and could have an effect on the immune response, according to the WHO, which evokes “A disturbing variant”.

To discuss, among others, these variants – one of the topics that “Require urgent debate” – the WHO expert committee, which normally meets every three months, was convened two weeks in advance. Recommendations for WHO and member countries will be released at the end of the meeting on Thursday, said a statement from the organization on Wednesday in Geneva.

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WHO China survey

China, where the epidemic appeared at the end of 2019, reported Thursday that a death from Covid-19 had been observed, the first in eight months. It was recorded in Hebei province, where several cities have recently been subjected to containment after the appearance of outbreaks of contamination. Chinese health authorities have reported 138 new infections, the highest daily toll since March.

This new death comes asa team of WHO experts arrived in the country in Wuhan on Thursday, where the virus was first reported at the end of 2019. Composed of thirteen scientists of different nationalities, it will be responsible for going back to the origins of Covid-19, as soon as the two-week quarantine in which were submitted to the experts.

Two of these thirteen experts are, however, still in Singapore to redo Covid tests. Yes “All members of the team underwent several PCR tests and antibody tests negative for Covid-19 in their country of origin before leaving on the trip”, WHO states that both of these people tested positive for IgM (immunoglobulin M) antibodies, a form of antibody that the body develops in response to the virus. Also, they need to be tested again for these antibodies, as well as for another class of antibodies called IgG (for immunoglobulin G).

Read our report: New virus outbreak turns China on

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The World with AFP

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