South African scientists have discovered a new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, with multiple mutations that are thought to be highly contagious.
The World Health Organization has designated it as a variant of concern, with many countries competing to contain it and banning flights from southern Africa.
Scientists are working 24 hours a day to analyze variants and try to understand how they work.
This is a brief description of what has been known about Omicron (a few days after its appearance), shared by South African scientists.
It is currently unknown where the variant came from, but South African scientists first announced their findings on November 25.
By that time, cases had been detected in Hong Kong and Botswana. The next day, Israel and Belgium also discovered this variant.
Scientists say, “A very rare constellation. mutation“November 23rd.
Some mutations are already known and affect transmissibility and antigenic escape, but many others are new.
“The most mutated I’ve ever seen,” said Professor Mosa Moshabela, vice president of research and innovation at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
He said, “Some of these mutations I’ve seen before, like Delta and Beta,” but some don’t, “I don’t know what these mutation combinations will translate into.” “.
Leading virologist Tuliode Oliveira said there were about 50 mutations in total, including 30 of the peplomer. This is the focus of most vaccines, virus Enter the cell.
With the increasing pace of new daily COVID cases in South Africa, scientists suspect that it may be caused by the infectivity of the new variant.
Official data show that not all cases are Omicron cases, but this week’s daily COVID positive rates rose from 3.6% on Wednesday, 6.5% on Thursday, 9.1% on Friday, and 9.2% on Saturday.
“Some of the mutations expressed have previously been shown to allow the virus to spread easily and quickly, so it is likely that (new mutants) will spread rapidly,” Mochabella said. ..
Some of the genetic mutations exhibited by the virus include those that are known to allow the virus to evade immunity.
It is unclear what effect it will have on the vaccine.
About the severity of MutantScientists say it was only revealed this week and there is little time for a thorough analysis.
© 2021 AFP
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