August 8, 2022

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How harmful is mutated B.1.617 of coronavirus appeared in 44 countries?

How harmful is mutated B.1.617 of coronavirus appeared in 44 countries?

 

How harmful is mutated B.1.617 of coronavirus appeared in 44 countries?  According to data from the World Health Organization, India accounts for 50% of the world’s new cases of new coronavirus pneumonia and 30% of new deaths. The situation is not optimistic. One of the main culprits of the severe epidemic in India is the B.1.617 new coronavirus variant reported in February this year, which has spread to at least 44 countries and is listed as the fourth “worrying” variant by the World Health Organization.

Will this mutated virus further aggravate the global epidemic? Do we have effective countermeasures?

The CNN website pointed out that B.1.617 does show more contagious features, but more research is needed to confirm it. Indian officials claimed that this variant was the culprit in driving the second wave of the epidemic in India, and the WHO said that India’s epidemic prevention policy, especially the large-scale gatherings in the previous period, is likely to be the main reason for the spread of the epidemic.

Chris Whitty, chief medical officer of England, said that it has been confirmed that the transmissibility of the subtype B.1.617.2 of the mutant virus has surpassed that of the highly infectious variant B.1.1.7 originally reported in the UK. It is expected that this virus subtype may surpass the current main circulating variant B.1.1.7 and become the new dominant virus in the UK.

At present, in all continents except Antarctica, at least 44 countries have found this variant, of which India has the largest number of reported cases, and the United Kingdom ranks second. There have been cases of this variant infection in the United States, and the CDC still ranks it as a “concerning” level (one level lower than “concerning”), and this rating may change based on scientific evidence.

According to current information, although this virus is more contagious, there is no evidence that its risk of severe illness and death is higher than previously reported viruses.

Whether the vaccine can effectively prevent this variant is currently a topic that has attracted much attention. A recent study preprinted on this website biorxiv.org showed that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines seem to prevent infection with this variant. Researchers collected serum samples from 8 people who had recovered from COVID-19, as well as 6 volunteers who received two doses of Pfizer vaccine and 3 volunteers who received two doses of Moderna vaccine. These serum samples were combined with the new coronavirus variants B.1.617 and B.1.618. Perform a neutralization reaction. It was found that the neutralizing ability of the antibody was lower than that of the original virus. In general, the serum antibodies of vaccinated persons appear to be “much higher” than those of recovered persons. There are currently no real-world studies confirming the effectiveness of vaccines against variants.

British Health Minister Matt Hancock said that the AstraZeneca vaccine has a certain degree of preventive effect on this variant. Early laboratory results showed that the sensitivity of the antibodies to the B.1.617.2 subtype variant in the vaccinators was comparable to other The variants are similar. Although this variant has gradually become the main virus in some parts of the UK, the current newly-increased critically ill patients are still people who have not been vaccinated, and the variant is not the leading factor.

Whitty believes that the risk of B.1.617 may be between B.1.1.7 in the United Kingdom and B.1.351 in South Africa. The latter may be infectious to people who have recovered from infection and may escape the protection of vaccines.

 

At present, the Indian epidemic seems to show some signs of slowing down. The average number of confirmed cases in a single day exceeded 340,000 last week, and this Monday has fallen to less than 300,000. The number of new cases in Mumbai, the financial center of India, once reached 11,000 new cases per day, but now it has dropped to less than 2,000 cases, a drop of 70%. Mumbai’s success should be attributed to good lockdown measures and the health authorities’ attention to the epidemic. At the same time, New Delhi has also improved.

However, when the Mumbai epidemic declined, the number of new cases in Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, still exceeded 40,000. Indian mathematician Murad Banaji is not optimistic. In his view, the decline in the number of new cases across India may represent a decline in infection rates in some states with large populations and high detection rates, but it does not represent the overall situation in India. India has a population of nearly 1.4 billion, and we should be alert to the risk of each peak at different times. Maybe we are used to hundreds of thousands of numbers and become insensitive, but the relative change or decline of this huge number cannot reduce the scale of the epidemic in any way.

Experts also believe that the steady decline in the peak of cases may be due to the fact that the epidemic has exceeded India’s detection capabilities. While the number of cases has increased by 2 times and the number of deaths has increased by 6 times, the number of tests has only increased by 1.6 times. Laboratories in big cities have been flooded by the epidemic, and it takes several days from detection to diagnosis, so that many patients have started treatment before they are diagnosed. At the same time, the vaccination volume plummeted by 40%.

The virus has spread from cities to towns and rural areas, where sanitation infrastructure is scarce and testing data is obviously backward. Experts worry that India may never know the total death toll caused by the virus. According to the current situation, the data obtained by the reporter at the crematorium has exceeded the official release.

The most worrying thing is that experts predict that the outbreak of the epidemic in India is likely to cause the epidemic to spread to other neighboring countries with insufficient vaccine supply and weak health systems. These countries may have an epidemic situation similar to India. India has restricted the export of the COVID-19 pneumonia vaccine to these countries, and the continued spread of the epidemic may produce new variants, and eventually a variant that can resist the protection of the vaccine, threatening more countries.

Although it is difficult for the Indian authorities to confirm the scale of the epidemic, they do continue to take action. Many states in India add thousands of beds every week, transform stadiums into infectious hospitals, and purchase as much equipment as possible. Even the courts have also intervened in the issue of oxygen supply. India’s overseas aid continues to flow in. Over 11,000 oxygen concentrators, nearly 13,000 oxygen cylinders, and 34 million bottles of antiviral drugs have been continuously sent to different states.

 

(source:internet, reference only)


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