COVID-19 | New strain of coronavirus | United Kingdom | Paul Hunter: “This type of virus has been operational for three months, it is almost inevitable that it will spread globally”

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In an article for him Science Media CenterFamous British epidemiologist Paul Hunter said a few days ago that the appearance of the new amendment Coronavirus This time of year represents a “perfect storm” for the epidemic and is “desperately bad” news for efforts to control it. And not only The uk.

Look: “More than fear, a new version of coronavirus in the United Kingdom causes satiety and nervousness”

To me, the reports on the communicability of the new variant are far more disappointing than I had anticipated.“Says experts on the document in a respected British body. According to experts, this type of virus may be 70% more infectious, causing many countries to suspend their air, sea and rail connections. The uk.

In conversation with businessHunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East-Anglia, discusses the factors that make the situation most worrisome and questions the effectiveness of the travel ban in preventing the spread of a new version of travel SARS-CoV-2.

Although there are still many doubts surrounding the topic, experts point out that something is undeniable: we are still far from overcoming this epidemic and returning to normality in a certain way.

– How did you feel when you got the news about the new version of the virus? What is most worrying about this situation?

Actually, the news made me very sick. One of the first things Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said is that the new version has increased the R-value [tasa de reproducción del virus] At 0.4. In the recent closing of November we were only able to reduce the R value between 0.7 and 0.9, meaning that the spread of this type of virus would continue to increase even in a national bandh. This is not to say that such locks and restrictions are ineffective and can slow growth, but they cannot reverse it.

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Passengers are seen at London Heathrow Airport on Monday.  (Photo: EFE / EPA / Fesundo Arriazabalaga)
Passengers are seen at London Heathrow Airport on Monday. (Photo: EFE / EPA / Fesundo Arriazabalaga)

– Due to the new version of COVID-19, dozens of countries including Peru suspended flights with the United Kingdom. What do you understand by these measures? How important are they right now?

I understand why these countries are doing what they are doing. But this version of the virus has been circulating for almost three months and has spread to many countries in Europe till now. We know that it is in Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands. The variant has already spread to Australia.

Once this variant is in a country, the travel ban is not going to stop it from spreading, at least they can delay things for a few weeks. It is almost inevitable that this version will spread globally and cause serious problems in most countries.

– What does the new version tell us about the current state of the epidemic?

That we are still far from overcoming it.

– How do you think this will affect people’s daily lives?

This will likely delay our ability to return to normalcy for several months. Many more people will become infected and have to be hospitalized, as more people will unfortunately die as a result of this condition.

Passengers walk with their luggage at London's King's Cross station last Monday, as several EU countries began imposing travel restrictions with the United Kingdom.  (Photo: Reuters / Hannah McKay)
Passengers walk with their luggage at London’s King’s Cross station last Monday, as several EU countries began imposing travel restrictions with the United Kingdom. (Photo: Reuters / Hannah McKay)

– How can the development of vaccination be affected?

I doubt it has much effect. There is currently no evidence that available vaccines do not work against this variant, but work is underway to confirm this. If a variant arises that is not affected by the vaccine, it does not mean that we must return to the starting point. It is much easier to modify an existing virus to be effective against a newer version than to develop a vaccine from scratch.

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– What does the presence of a virus variant at this time of year indicate?

The presence of new variants of the virus is very frequent. There must have been thousands of mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 genome worldwide. But most of these mutations make little or no difference.

The probability of mutation occurring in a region depends mainly on the number of people infected. Very few infections, as a very low probability of a mutation. Many infections, so high probability of mutation. If we had done a better job of reducing the spread of infection during spring and summer, it might not have been the situation we were in today.

Paul Hunter is a professor of medicine at the University of East-Anglia.  He examines the transmission of emerging infectious diseases in low-income countries and the health effects of unsafe water.  (Photo: University of East-Anglia)
Paul Hunter is a professor of medicine at the University of East-Anglia. He examines the transmission of emerging infectious diseases in low-income countries and the health effects of unsafe water. (Photo: University of East-Anglia)

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