What we know about new coronavirus strains so far

Four mutants of the coronavirus

Four coronavirus mutants are rushing to attack humanity: new strains of the virus have been found in the UK, Brazil, South Africa and Japan. What do we know about them?

The new British strain

According to the report from the British Expert Commission of Virologists and Epidemiologists (The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group/NERVTAG), the mortality rate from British coronavirus B.1.1.7 or VUI202012/1 is approximately 30 percent higher compared to SARS-CoV-2. Its appearance in the United Kingdom dates back to September 2020.

There are two stories circulating about the new virus strain. Besides the increased number of deaths, the British strain is much more contagious. Computer simulations have shown that this strain may contribute to the further development of the pandemic. The good news is that vaccines can subdue it and one develops immunity against it.

The new South African strain

Strain B.1.351 or 501Y. V2 that appeared in South Africa has attacked citizens of at least three dozen countries so far. As of the end of January, as Alexander Gorelov, deputy director for scientific work of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology at Rospotrebnadzor said, the South African strain was not found in Russia.

Specialists of the US-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention are confident that this type of pathogen first appeared in early October 2020 in the urban district of Nelson Mandela's Bay (South Africa).

Having become dominant in South Africa, the South African strain "traveled" to Australia, and proceeded to terrorize Western Europe:

  •     Great Britain,
  •     Germany,
  •     France,
  •     Belgium, etc.

Medics are mostly worried about the ability of this mutation to withstand all known vaccines against COVID-19. Scientists have no information that it affects the severity of the disease.

According to Daily Maverick, director of the African Health Research Institute, vaccine specialist Willem Hanekom, called the results of the third phase of clinical trials of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, which were published in The Lancet scientific journal, "convincing and positive".

New Brazilian and Japanese strains

In the Land of the Rising Sun, Japanese specialists noticed the appearance of the Brazilian strain B.1.1.248 or P.1. The place of its origin is believed to be the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, the city of Manaus. Two-thirds of the inhabitants of this metropolis have already suffered from the coronavirus infection. it is worthy of note that it was four Japanese tourists that brought the new strain from Brazil.

Mutations of this strain are similar to the South African one, but at present moment there is very little information about it, in comparison with others. Little is known about its morbidity, nor do we know whether the new vaccines can be helpful against it.

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Author`s name Igor Bukker