How do the new variants of covid-19 emerge?

Científicos trabajan en la investigación del SARS-CoV-2.


Scientists are working on the SARS-CoV-2 research.

Photo: RODGER BOSCH / AFP / Getty Images

The strain B.1.1.529, detected in South Africa, it was named as omicron by experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), who, in an emergency meeting, described it as a “worrying” variant.

According to preliminary evidence in the hands of experts, cited by NBC, there is “a increased risk of reinfection with this variant, compared to others ”.

In South Africa, was detected for the first time “in the middle of a rhythm of contaIt turned faster than in previous waves, which suggests that it can grow more easily ”.

As it spreads the coronavirus is evolving. Many of the newer variants, even those showing worrisome mutations, may disappear simply. Scientists pay particular attention to changes that may result in increased transmissibility or mortality, to determine what impact they may have on public health.

Viruses evolve

The WHO itself details that, Like all viruses, SARS-CoV-2 evolves over time, and while it replicates or makes copies of itself, “mutations” usually appear or small changes, and when a virus has one or more mutations, it is considered a variant of the original.

And when a virus circulates widely in a population, the chances that it will mutate increase.

Mutations generally have minimal impact on the ability of viruses to infect or cause serious health outcomes. But if certain properties are affected, such as a change in the severity of the disease it causes or the ability to spread, the impact can be great.

Omicron has about 50 mutations, more than 30 of which, according to South African genomic scientists, were found in the spike protein, the structure used by the virus to enter cells that attacks.

The Omicron variant is classified as a highly transmissible care virus. It is the same category that includes an old acquaintance, the delta variant.

It should be remembered that When the beta variant broke, scientists were concerned. However, this was not extended too much.

Experts say that, in the face of this variant, although there is still no reason to be concerned, it is essential to be attentive to possible new findings confirmed by official sources, keep the recommendations that we all already know and keep an eye on the announcements of the authorities of our countries. “At the moment there are many studies in progress. So far there is little information, but with these studies underway, we need researchers to have time, and the WHO will report as soon as possible as soon as it has information, “said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical leader for covid-19, in a statement.

Keep reading:
– More than three dozen countries have closed their borders for omicron, the new variant of the coronavirus
– The US will restrict travel from eight countries due to the new variant of the coronavirus
– Why is the coronavirus variant that emerged in South Africa causing so much concern?

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