A completely new coronavirus variant is being detected which is having a high number of mutations within the spike protein. One of the major concerns regarding this coronavirus variant is that it can completely evade the immune protection which is being induced by the vaccine. Although the implications of the discovery are unclear by the scientists and need further surveillance. We need to follow all the protective measures like mask-wearing, social distancing, and vaccination to help in limiting the spread of the new coronavirus variant.
Circulating Area of Coronavirus Variant:
The new coronavirus variant is named B .1.1.529, and it was first detected in the location named Botswana around 11th November. There are several other cases which also being identified in South Africa and also in a patient who is traveling to Hong Kong from the South Africa region. Its official statement was being released on 25th November from the institute for communicative diseases in South Africa confirming 22 positive cases which are been identified so far.
The symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, breathing issues, etc which are much similar to other variants of the coronavirus. This variant is more commonly known as Omnicon. The technical working group of the World Health Organization is designated for analyzing the variant of interest or variant of concern which is the major reason for it having a Greek letter assigned in the name.
The variant of interest will have genetic markers which will ensure the prediction which will affect the variant transmission. This will ensure the proper diagnostic procedure, vaccination work, and treatments. It is confirmed that it is mostly responsible for the proportion of cases being increased worldwide. The variant of concern will also meet all the criteria which will give evidence on the disease suspect ability and increased transmission ability.
This will help in taking the proper public health measures, vaccines, and diagnostics along with therapeutics which will be less effective against it.
Mutation of the New Coronavirus Variant:
The new coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 is recognized to have 32 mutations in the gene for the coronavirus spike protein. While comparing it with the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 which was first identified in Wuhan, China there are various other mutations also found in another variant of concern including the delta variant but many others are not available in it. According to the director of University College London genetics institute, UK professor Francois Balloaux, there is a large number of mutations which is being identified in a single burst.
It is a completely evolved chronic infection of an immunocompromised person and it is most possibly a problem in any untreated HIV or AIDS patient. Some of the mutants are also found in other variants of concern which includes N501Y mutation. It is having improved spike protein binding along with cellular receptors. Similarly, the D614G mutation is having enhanced viral replication and both of the above-mentioned variants can make the virus more contagious.
The various other mutation includes K417N and T478K mutations, this helps the virus completely neutralize the antibody which is being generated using the vaccination or any other previous infection. It is also most likely to be not recognized by all the neutralizing antibodies which are completely related to alpha and delta variants of coronavirus. It is even difficult for predicting the transmissible quantities in this stage which could be a difficult job for the scientists.
This could lead to the advanced third wave throughout the world which could take devastating effects on every corner.
Concerns Regarding the New Coronavirus Variant:
All the constellation of the mutation which is constantly happening and the introduction of a new coronavirus variant can be worrying at this stage. Although there is no reason to be more concerned unless there will be the cases of the variant which is rapidly increasing soon. We also need to understand that the new variants are also emerging in a frequent manner which is why we need to have a better surveillance system to defend against such a pandemic situation.
We also need to know that various new variants are also introduced after the proper usage of vaccination around the globe. We need to confirm that the new variant B .1.1.529 will transmit infrequent manner which will overshadow the delta variant. It is also possible that it will disappear without much requirements need four booster variants. Although due to the early recognition of the new variant we can easily calculate the impact of mutation in this variant.
Till now the vaccine is the critical tool for the proper protection against severe disease which includes the coronavirus.