The nCoV variant in South Africa is more frightening than the variant from the UK

The nCoV variant in South Africa is more frightening than the variant from the UK 7
The nCoV variant in South Africa is more frightening than the variant from the UK 7

In fact, changes in viruses during infection are not new.

Since its appearance, the 501.V2 variant quickly became dominant in South Africa.

According to epidemiology and infectious disease expert Salim Abdool Karim, co-chair of the Covid-19 advisory committee, the viral load in people infected with the South African variant is higher than usual.

Currently, scientists are not sure whether 501.V2 makes patients’ symptoms more severe or not.

On January 4, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock expressed concern about the nCoV variant in South Africa.

John Bell, professor of medicine at Oxford University, also commented: `Both variants have many mutations. However, the South African variant has significant differences in protein structure.`

The South African variant 501.V2 carries three mutations (E484K, K417N and N501Y) in key regions of the gene – where the spike protein used to attach to human cells is produced.

Medical staff working at the South African Health Service.

`Thus, it helps nCoV overcome the immune barrier created by the vaccine,` said Francois Balloux, professor of biology, University College London.

Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, explained: `While changes in the UK variant do not affect vaccine effectiveness, the accumulation of multiple mutations in the South African variant causes

Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said it will take about 12-14 days to several weeks before scientists can answer the question `will the vaccine be effective on the new variant?`

The nCoV variant in South Africa is also more difficult to detect in PCR tests.

The South African variant was first detected in the Nelson Mandela Bay area in October. Several studies indicate that it has been present and circulating since August, then spread throughout the region, including the Cape

South Africa’s international travel ban was lifted on October 1, 2020.

The most effective way to reduce infection is to limit interactions.

It is likely that nCoV will continue to change, the British and South African variants are not the last two.

`This is a lesson for the rest of the world,` warns Ravindra Gupta, a professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge.

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