Teams of virologists around the world are racing to obtain the genetic sequence The new corona virus mutant omicronAnd try to find out what might happen next.
So far, research by Tulio de Oliveira, a bioinformatics scientist who directs the genetic sequencing institutions at two South African universities, has shown that the new mutant contains more than 30 mutations on the “Spike” protein, compared to the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus). emerging).
According to de Oliveira, the Omicron mutant already represents 75% of the SARS-CoV-2 genomes being tested in South Africa, which has also been detected in several other countries.
“It seems that it seems It (Omicron) is highly transmissible..in less than two weeksIt seems that the variant (of the Corona virus mutant) has become prevalent in South Africa, bypassing Delta.
Professor Jesse Bloom, a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, explained: “I expect the Omicron mutant to have a greater effect on neutralizing vaccine-induced antibodies and infection than anything we’ve seen so far.”
With the mystery of exactly how the omicron emerged, scientists believe that, like the beta mutant that also appeared in South Africa in 2020, the most reasonable explanation is that the virus was able to grow and develop steadily in the body of an immunocompromised person, and may be With 8.2 million people living with HIV (South Africa), more than anywhere else in the world, South Africas battle against coronavirus has been particularly complex, as these patients struggle to get rid of the virus. Which means it can stay in their bodies for a longer time.
Scientists confirmed that the travel ban would help slow the spread of the omicron mutant, but stopping it in its tracks is almost impossible, as Ravi Gupta, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, called for all travelers to be examined for the new strain, as well as the failure of the target gene “S”. Worldwide, a form of monitoring that can determine if a new mutant is rapidly increasing in prevalence in a given area.
The Corona virus has caused the death of at least 5,193,392 people in the world since the World Health Organization office in China reported the emergence of the disease at the end of December 2019.
At least 260,448,580 people have been confirmed infected with the virus since its appearance. The vast majority of those infected recovered, although some continued to experience symptoms weeks or even months later.
The figures are based on daily reports issued by each country’s health authorities and exclude subsequent reviews by statistical agencies that indicate much higher death numbers.
The World Health Organization, taking into account the excess mortality rate directly or indirectly related to Covid-19, considers that the outcome of the epidemic may be two or three times greater than the officially announced outcome.
A large proportion of less serious cases or asymptomatic cases remain undetected despite the intensification of examinations in a large number of countries.