coronavirus. Epsilon version arrives and worries virologists

Epsilon version: Virologist Fazzi talks about it in Pescar

A newer version of the coronavirus, called epsilon, worries virologists because it could make people who have been vaccinated or have already recovered. Paolo Fazzi, head of ASL’s complex operations unit of virology and microbiology in the Adriatic capital, said this at a hearing at the municipal environment commission in Pescara. There are only two recognized cases in Italy of this type coming from the poorest countries on the planet.

Types of interest, research of science
The epsilon version is part of the so-called “variations of interest” (VOI). According to the World Health Organization – explains the Italian Society of Medical Sciences (Sicmed) on its website – a variant is declared of interest: a) if it has mutations in its genome with known or suspected phenotypic effects and is caused by community have been identified as transmission / multiple cases / clusters of Covid-19 or have been detected in several countries; b) otherwise assessed as VOI by WHO in consultation with the Sars-CoV-2 Virus Evolution Working Group. The COVID version B.1.427 / B.1.429, now called Epsilon, was first identified in California (USA) in early 2021 and as “baptized” in March. Detecting the mutation was a research coordinated by biochemist Matthew McCallum of the University of Washington in Seattle, and published in the journal Science.

greater resistance to antibodies
The epsilon variant is still not very widespread in Europe and only two cases have been detected in Italy according to the international bank Gisaid, which collects genetic sequences of the virus. The study, published in Science, underscores the importance of sequencing as one of the most important weapons to combat the virus’s circulation. The analysis coordinated by McCallum, based on an analysis of 57 samples, found three mutations that made it resistant to antibodies and those found on the spike protein, the claw that the virus uses to enter cells. The data indicate that, with its three mutations, the epsilon variant is resistant to both antibodies generated by messenger RNA vaccines and to antibodies generated by SarsCoV2 virus infection. The published observations are based on analysis of plasma collected from 15 people vaccinated with two doses of Moderna, 33 from those vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer-BioEntech and 9 from those who were infected with SarsCoV2.

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Extensive in more than 40 countries
In May 2021, the Epsilon version was widespread in 34 other countries and it is now present in 44 countries, from the United States to South Korea, India and Japan, according to the Gisaid data band for the past few weeks. Cases were found in Europe in Denmark (37 cases), Germany (10), Ireland and France (7), Netherlands and Spain (5), Switzerland (4), Norway (3), Sweden, Finland and Italy (2). ), Belgium (1).

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