What we know so far

The laboratory technician will process the sample using a pipette device to test the new coronavirus Covid-19 at the Biogroup Institute laboratory in western London on January 21, 2021.

Justin Talis | AFP | Getty Images

London — A newly discovered mutation in the delta variant is being investigated in the United Kingdom with concerns that it could further transmit the virus and further weaken the Covid-19 vaccine.

Nevertheless, there are many unknowns surrounding this descendant or subtype of the Delta variant (formally known as AY.4.2), some called the new “Delta Plus” variant.

UK government health officials determine whether the mutation poses a greater public health risk than the delta mutant, which is much more infectious than the original Covid-19 strain (and its successor, the alpha mutant). It states that it is premature to do.

However, they state that they are very closely monitoring mutations. It currently accounts for 6% of UK Covid cases genetically sequenced during a rapidly increasing domestic infection.

Here’s what we know and don’t know about variants:

What is the new variant?

The virus is constantly mutating, and the coronavirus that emerged in China in late 2019 has undergone several minor variations that make the virus more infectious and effective in spreading. It was first seen in the alpha variant (first sequenced in the UK) that spread around the world before being deprived of the more contagious delta variant first discovered in India.

Called a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization in May, Delta remains globally dominant.

But last Friday, the UK’s Department of Health and Security released a report stating that “it is being noted that the newly designated Delta subline as AY.4.2 is expanding in the UK.” The agency said it is monitoring subtypes that include mutations in the peplomer proteins (A222V and Y145H) that the coronavirus uses to invade cells.

Why are you being monitored?

AY.4.2 has been identified in an increasing number of UK Covid cases and may be a factor in the country’s growing health crisis, which has prompted some physicians to demand reimbursement of Covid restrictions. Some suggest that.

read more: UK doctors are calling for an emergency return of Covid restrictions as experts monitor new mutations

“This subline is now increasing in frequency,” the UK Health Security Agency said last week. “In the week starting September 27, 2021 (last week with complete sequence data), this subline was generated. Occupied about 6% of all sequences that were made. In increasing orbit. This estimate may be inaccurate … Further evaluation is underway. “

read more: The United Kingdom is currently one of the highest Covid infection rates in the world. The reason is as follows.

The UK is currently experiencing a protracted and worrisome surge in Covid cases, with 40,000 to 50,000 new infections reported per day last week, experts say the UK is currently very vulnerable to Covid. I’m wondering why.

The delta subtype has been reported to be 10-15% more contagious than the standard delta variant, but it is too early to say for sure whether it is causing a surge in cases in the United Kingdom.

Why is it important?

AY.4.2 has been monitored, but that it has not been classified by WHO as a “variant under investigation” or a “variant of concern”, that is, it has not been identified as having the expected genetic alterations. It’s worth remembering. To affect viral properties such as infectivity, disease severity, immune avoidance, diagnosis or treatment avoidance.

It has also not been confirmed to cause serious community infections or multiple Covid-19 clusters.

Nevertheless, its status is subject to change after further monitoring, in more cases if the sequence continues.

Wife adjusts husband’s mask before entering a store in Hampshire, England

Peter Titmuss | Collection Mix: Subject | Getty Images

It is important to find potentially more contagious mutants as they can cause more Covid cases among unvaccinated individuals.

Most of the world remains unvaccinated (only 2.8% of people in low-income countries receive at least one Covid vaccine, according to Our World in Data), but in developed countries: More and more “breakthrough” cases are being seen. Immunity to Covid weakens about 6 months after being completely vaccinated.

Although not yet shown for the AY.4.2 subtype, more infectious variants may further impair the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Where do the experts say?

Health officials have said that they are currently calm about delta subtypes and that it is important to monitor mutations to avoid panic.

“The AY.4.2 variant has been the focus of attention lately,” said Rochelle Walensky, director of the US CDC, commenting on Wednesday’s “Delta Plus.” She added:

Israel, as well as the United States, said it had confirmed a case of the AY.4.2 variant of an 11-year-old boy who entered Ben Gurion Airport. On Thursday, Russia also said it had registered some isolated cases of the AY.4.2 variant. It is unknown to what extent subtypes have been found in mainland Europe.

An official spokesman for the British Prime Minister called for calm on Tuesday and told Sky News:[AY.4.2] This is something we are paying close attention to, “but emphasizes that there is currently no evidence that this variant will spread more easily.

“There’s no proof of that, but as you can imagine, we’re watching it closely and don’t hesitate to take action when needed,” he added.

British government officials impose Covid’s restrictions, even though medical professionals have asked them to do so as UK hospitals face overwhelming demand as winter approaches. Especially very reluctant.

On January 26, 2021, as the epidemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in London, UK, healthcare professionals transfer patients to the Royal London Hospital.

Hannah McKay | Reuters

Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, which helped develop the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine, said Wednesday that the Delta subvariety would not change the situation in Covid.

“It’s important to monitor the discovery of new varieties, of course, but that doesn’t mean that the new varieties will replace Delta,” Polard told the BBC Radio, Reuters reported. ..

“Sure, even so, Delta is very good at transmitting in vaccinated populations, and new ones may be a little better, but they dramatically change the situation from where we are. It’s unlikely. “

Meanwhile, Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London, told CNBC on Monday that subtypes “need to be monitored and controlled as carefully as possible.”

“Delta is currently the predominant mutant in some regions for about 6 months and has not been replaced by other mutants, so it is expected that delta will probably be represented. [the] Peak mutation performance achievable by the virus. AY.4 may have begun to question this claim. “

What we know so far

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