Scientists are closely tracking a coronavirus variant with a 'worrying' number of mutations. They don't yet know if it's more infectious.



A man gets a vaccine at a drive-through site in Gaborone, Botswana.

There is a variant with a worrying number of genes.

Experts are concerned that its genes may help it avoid the harmful effects of vaccines and treatments.

It has been detected many times. It is being closely monitored.

The coronaviruses variant with a "worrying" number of mutations has been detected in South Africa, and health officials are closely watching it.

The variant has a number of changes in the part of the virus that attach to human cells. There is a greater risk that the vaccines and treatments won't work against the spike protein if there is a higher number of mutations.

The experts are concerned that the virus might be more infectious and that it might be able to avoid the response of the immune system. It's not known if the virus is more deadly because of the mutations.

The director of South Africa's centre for epidemic response and innovation said that the vaccine is still a critical tool.

The high number of mutations could be of real concern to Dr. Tom Peacock, who is a researcher at Imperial College London and who posted about the variant on Github Tuesday.

The director of the University College London Genetics Institute said in a statement to the Science Media Center that the variant may have evolved from a chronic infection in an individual.

B. 1.1.529 was first detected in South Africa on November 11 and has been found in 77 other countries. The Hong Kong case was attributed to a person who traveled to South Africa.

"export to Asia" may suggest that it's more widespread than the sequence alone suggests.

Adrian Puren, acting executive director at NICD, said in a statement Thursday that experts were "working overtime" to understand the new variant and its potential implications.

The professor of clinical microbiology at Cambridge University said that the B.1.1.529 variant was worrying and that he had not said that since Delta. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the Delta variant has 11 to 15 different variations of its spike protein and some of them help it avoid the immune response.

Gupta said to get vaccine and mask up in public as the mutations in this virus likely result in high level escape from neutralising antibodies.

Dr. Groome said that individual compliance to preventative measures can have a great collective impact in limiting the spread of the new variant. She said that individuals should get vaccinations, wear masks, practice healthy hand hygiene, and gather in wellventilated spaces.

The World Health Organization and health officials from South Africa are due to meet on Friday to discuss the variant.

Business Insider has an original article.

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