Why not speak out about the new strain of COVID-19

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Experts say it is ‘very unlikely’ that the new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 will not respond to vaccines. VCG / Getty Images
  • A new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been identified in the south east of England, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
  • It is likely that this strain of the virus could spread more rapidly, leading to more cases.
  • There is no indication that it may cause more serious infection.
  • In addition, experts say it is “unlikely” that it will not respond to a vaccine.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a December 14 statement to Parliament that a new snort of coronavirus has been identified in the south-east of England.

He said the new strain of SARS-CoV-2 appears to be spreading faster than other strains of the existing virus.

To date more than 1,000 cases have been caused by the new coronavirus variant, particularly in the south of England, Hancock said. However, the numbers are “rising rapidly. ”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been notified of the development, he said, and Public Health England is continuing to investigate the situation.

Hancock also confirmed that there is no indication that the new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 is likely to lead to more serious disease.

Moreover, it is “very unlikely” that he will not respond to a vaccine, Hancock said.

However, it is important to be vigilant, he said.

Brian Labus, PhD, MPH, assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said there was no real explanation for what constitutes a “new” strain.

“In general, it means that the virus is different either in the way it spreads or in the way it interacts with the immune system, due to one or more mutations. , ”Said Labus.

Scientists are able to identify new strains because they routinely sequence the genetic material from the virus to observe changes, he said.

“When we see these changes in people who have a slightly different disease, or who can spread the virus to others, we would think that there is a new pressure,” Labus said. “It’s more about the impact of those changes than just getting the changes first. ”

No, Labus said.

He said that viruses go around all the time. It is a natural, normal occurrence that happens as the virus repeats. Just because there is a mutation does not mean there is cause for concern, Labus said.

“Many mutations do not affect the virus, as there is too much loss of genetic code. Some are harmful and make it harder for the virus to spread, and those will quickly disappear from the population, ”he said. “Those who help us survive or spread are easier to worry. ”

“If that strain spreads more easily or causes a more serious disease, it would be a cause for concern. But mutations that can do that are very rare, ”said Labus. “That’s why we haven’t talked about thousands of different strains of the virus with different levels and spreads. ”

Regarding the new pressure identified in the United Kingdom, Labus said that the mutations in the protein spike, which may allow it to spread more easily.

“If it spreads more easily, we’re going to be worried about it,” Labus said. However, “this is still being investigated. ”

Labus agreed with Hancock ‘s assessment, saying the new pressure is unlikely to affect which vaccines work.

“As we develop vaccines, we know that the virus is a mobile target, so that is built into the design,” he said.

“We do not yet understand what this change means, let alone whether it will affect the effectiveness of vaccination. However, it is unlikely to be, ”said Labus.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is important to be vigilant, no matter where you are.

Even if you have already been vaccinated, or have contracted COVID-19 infection, all recommended warnings must be followed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend wearing a mask, washing your hands, and moving physically to protect yourself and others.

The CDC says this should continue in the future.

We are still learning what type of immunization they will give and how long immunity lasts. And there is a possibility that you may still catch or spread the virus.

Until we know more, it is wise to continue to follow all warnings.