The new Coronavirus strain, how it originated, and what do you know about it so far?



The rapid spread of the new Coronavirus strain has raised the level of restrictions on mixing among millions of people as they prepare to celebrate the Christmas holidays.

The new situation prompted several countries to ban travel to and from Britain, whose authorities imposed the fourth level of measures to combat the Coronavirus.

However, how did the new strain of the virus evolve within months from its non-existence to becoming the most common form of infection in England?

Health officials in Britain believe that this new strain is more capable of spreading than the first strain, and although things are still in their infancy, it is shrouded in mystery and raises a long list of questions.

It is well established that viruses mutate all the time, and it is vitally important that we monitor virus behavior as it changes.

  • Why worry about the new Coronavirus strain?

This new strain combined factors that made it a subject of concern. The first of these factors is the speed of spread and the acquisition of previous versions of the virus, which gives the impression that it has control over the original strain.

The second factor is the ability of this new strain to develop genetic mutations that change an important aspect of the behavior of the virus, and the third is the ability of these gene mutations to enable the virus to infect cells more than before, which means an increase in the rate of susceptibility to infection.

Thanks to these factors, the spread is easy for Coronavirus in its new version.

However, we have no absolute certainty. New strains of the virus may become more widespread if the atmosphere is created for them in a place, time, and appropriate, as happened in London, which did not exceed until recently the second level of measures to combat the epidemic. Still, it moved in a few days to the fourth level.

More laboratory experiments are needed, but decision-makers do not have to wait for the results of those experiments to put in place precautionary measures to limit the spread of the new strain, Nick Lowman, an expert at the Covid 19 Genomics Foundation in the United Kingdom, told the BBC.

  • How fast is the new Coronavirus strain spread?

This strain was first discovered last September, and by November, it had a quarter of the number of infected people in London before this percentage reached two-thirds in mid-December.

It is not difficult to determine the extent of the new strain on swabs results in some medical centers in London.

Athletes try to compare the numbers in the field of different viruses’ ability to spread in an attempt to calculate the degree of superiority of this new strain of Coronavirus over other strains.

But the difficult thing is to separate human behavior patterns and the degree of a virus outbreak.

And the number cited by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggests that the new strain may be more likely to spread by as much as 70 percent.

Johnson said that this might increase the rate of an infected person’s ability to transmit the infection to others by 0.4.

The extent of the epidemic is inferred by determining the rate of the person’s ability to transmit the infection to others.

The 70 percent figure was revealed in a lecture by Eric Falls, a researcher at Imperial College London, on Friday.

Falls explained in his lecture, “It is too early to separate the matter … But from what we have seen so far, the new strain of Corona is spreading quickly, faster than the previous version of the virus itself. But we must continue to monitor the behavior of this new version.”. ”

There is no fixed number that specifies the degree of the new strain of Coronavirus’s ability to infect. Researchers point to numbers above and below 70 percent.

  • How and when did the new strain of Coronavirus spread?

It is believed that the new Coronavirus strain originated in the lung of an infected person in the United Kingdom or in another country with less ability to monitor the genetic mutations that the virus develops.

This new strain can be spotted in the United Kingdom, except Northern Ireland. However, they are abundant in London and the east and southeast of England.

Data from around the world shows that the registered cases of the new strain of the virus in Denmark, Australia, and the Netherlands are people from the United Kingdom.

Another similar strain of the virus appeared in South Africa. It shares some of its genetic characteristics with Britain’s strain, but they appear to be different.

  • Has the world known a similar scene before?

Answer: Yes; The virus, which was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan, is not the same virus that is now spreading across the globe.

And last February, the D614G gene mutations occurred on the first Coronavirus in Europe, and the new version expanded in the world.

Meanwhile, another version called the A222V appeared in Europe and has been specifically attributed to Spanish vacationers.

What do we know about new genetic mutations of the Coronavirus?

An initial study has detected 17 important mutations of the Coronavirus so far.

Changes have been observed in the spinal protein or receptors that the virus uses as a primary weapon to bind to human cell receptors before it penetrates them to recruit them to produce DNA. One of these changes is called the spinal protein N501Y, and another is called H69 / V70.

The virus is desperate to find a way to make it easier to penetrate the human body’s cells.

This latest change, H69 / V70, weakens the ability of the antibodies formed in survivors of coronavirus infection so that her forehead weakens in resisting any new attack launched by the virus on the body, according to Ravindra Gupta, a researcher at the University of Cambridge.

  • Where did the new Coronavirus strain come from?

The virus is experiencing genetic mutations at an abnormally accelerated rate.

The most likely explanation says that the new strain originated in the lung of a patient suffering from a weakened immune system that left him helpless in front of the Coronavirus, which in turn found in the lung of this patient a favorable colony for mutation.

  • Is the Coronavirus becoming more deadly in its new version?

There is no evidence for this, despite what is needed in terms of monitoring and follow-up.
However, the new strain’s ability to spread faster than its predecessors justifies the concern given the more pressure it puts on hospitals.

  • Do vaccines work with the new strain of coronavirus?

Yes, with a lot of assurance. Or at least for now.

The three leading vaccines provide a buffer against existing strains of the Coronavirus.

Vaccines help the immune system attack many different parts of the virus. Even if parts of the virus have genetic mutations, vaccines still do their auxiliary work for the immune system.

“But if we let the virus develop more genetic mutations, then we should be concerned,” says Gupta, a Cambridge University researcher.

The researcher warns: “The virus has taken two steps so far on the road to avoiding vaccine attacks by developing genetic mutations.”

This fact is perhaps the most worrisome, just as this new strain represents the latest expression of the virus for its ability to adapt and infect more and more people.

David Robertson, a researcher at the University of Glasgow, says: “The virus’s continued ability to develop genetic mutations that help it avoid vaccine attacks is to be expected.”

This scenario places us in a position similar to that of the virus that causes influenza, which means they need regular vaccine development.

Fortunately, our vaccines are easy to develop.

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