The coronavirus mutation identified in the United Kingdom is present in 50 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and the variant located in South Africa was detected in another 20 territories.
The institution also warned that a third “worrying variant” found in Japan may have an impact on the immune response and needs to be further investigated.
“The more the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads, the more chances it has to change. If there are high levels of transmission, we have to think that more variants will emerge, ”said the WHO.
Since it was reported to the WHO on December 14, the British variant VOC 202012/01 has been detected in 50 countries, territories and areas, he said..
The analysis of the results show that the age and sex of the infected people are similar to the other variants. The contact tracing data also reveals “higher transmissibility (secondary attack rate) when the index case has the variant strain.”
The mutation detected in South Africa, called 501Y.V2, reported on December 18, is now found in 20 countries, territories and areasthe agency added.
“Based on preliminary and ongoing investigations in South Africa, variant 501Y.V2 may be more transmissible than variants previously circulating in South Africa”, Specified the weekly WHO report. “Although this new variant does not appear to cause more severe disease, the rapid increase in the number of cases has put the health system under pressure.”
The spread of both variants is underestimated, the WHO warned, due to data distortion caused by countries with the ability to analyze virus sequencing.
Variants are different versions of the initial coronavirus that appear over time, as the virus mutates, which happens when it replicates. Until now, multiple SARS-CoV-2 mutations have been observed, most without consequence. But others can improve your survival, for example, by making you more contagious.
The variants that emerged in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil and Japan -the latter with the arrival of a family from the South American giant-, have in common a mutation called N501Y, which would explain their greater transmissibility. This is located in the “spike” protein of the coronavirus, a prominence that allows it to penetrate cells.
But for the E484K mutation, other types of suspicion weigh. Laboratory tests showed that with this, the organism seems to recognize the virus less, thus reducing its neutralization by antibodies.
(With information from AFP)