Covid-19 new strain just appeared in Europe and it has a significant rate of 70 per cent of transmission even higher than its origin kind. Strict restrictions have been placed in the United Kingdom that is referred to as the part of the Tier-4 restrictions. This also means that all of the flights going to and fro U.K will be cancelled. For Christmas, People are not allowed to be gathered in crowds and hence everyone this year would be celebrating the Christmas on their homes. Also, the virus transmission is said to be increased to about 70 per cent with this new variant. Lucy van Dorp who is an expert in the Microbial Genomics is asked about the new variant that is recently found in United kingdom.
Critical information about the new variant of SARS-CoV-2
The new variant is now being recognised as VUI–202012/01 or lineage B.1.1.7. Matt Hancock is the person who first spread the news about this kind of SARS-CoV-2. On September 20th, the first sample of the virus was taken. 14 mutation were taken and the spike protein included seven of them. Public Health England also confirmed the sequences with their individual investigations, the first sample was taken in kent on 20th of September as stated before. Denmark, Netherland and U.K have been the main instances where the virus has been identified. But mostly, in the U.K the instances of the virus has been predominantly found.
This the result of the data sharing, the effective surveillance techniques that have been used by the U.K. But now it has been realised that the new version of the virus is dominating over the old version, this also means that it is spreading at a faster rate. Therefore, in the U.K it is also noted that now this version of the virus is the main reason for the spread of many cases related to Covid-19. There can be other reasons for the increase in the number of cases. Because humans were trying to go about their normal lives but now it seems that this new version will affect the lives of more people very significantly. Therefore, not only this version but the human activities can also be responsible for the spread of the virus.
If this variant is more dangerous than the Origin Type
Chief medical officer, Chris Whitty noted that there is no evidence currently if this variant can be deemed as more dangerous than its origin type. This evidence has to be presented through either the increasing mortality rate or through the critical condition of the new cases of Covid-19. The mutations can happen through random errors, and these errors are made through the replication of the virus. This also happens through the antiviral proteins that are already being induced in the bodies of the infected human beings. Recombination is the technique that is also called as the genetic shuffling, the signs of recombination are being detected currently.
Impact of Viral mutations
It has also been recognised that currently there is no impact of the viral mutations, it has been assessed that for almost 500,000 genomes that were accounted from the first wave fo the virus, none of these genomes accounted the viral fitness which indicates their ability to reproduce. But in most of the cases, the combination of several mutations can cause serious damage and hence can make the viruses as an improved version of their older versions.
The Origin of the Variant
It has been noted that this variant must have originated because of the weaker immune system of people and that it has supported the origination of the current variant and its production also. But then again, there are no theories that can support the fact that it has been introduced from abroad, means a country other than U.k. On the other hand, it has also been noted that there are thousands of mutations that might be different from regular covid cases. But it can also be noted that the global transmission has very little diversity as far as covid recognition and its genomes are concerned.
The difference in this particular Variant
This variant is being identified in the spike protein of B.1.1.7 and therefore it is increasing in its frequency of infections and not only this it has also been identified in its chronic infections. By the recognition of the antibodies, chronic infections can also alter their antigenicity. with other mutations, the deletions could have been related, mostly in the binding region of the spike protein of coronavirus. These can also be included in those infections that were farmed mink. A truncated ORF8 gene has also been associated with this kind of variant, decreased diseased severity was also related to it as far as deletions in the particular region are concerned.
If Vaccine has to be altered according to the new Variant
it has been indicated that the effectiveness of the vaccine can not be reduced, but it has also been noted by various doctors that there is a need to alter the vaccines in order to completely reduce the risk of the new variant. Since the exact spike proteins have to be targetted in order to completely reduce the risk. Also, it has also been noted that for a long period of time, coronavirus has the ability to escape the immunity of the body of a human. Therefore, like vaccine has been upgraded for other viruses, there will also be a need to improve the vaccines according to the current variant.