South African scientists warn of new variant of COVID-19 that could lead to immunosuppression and better transmission

“Initially they looked like cluster explosions, but since yesterday there are indications from our scientists in the gene monitoring network that our scientists are seeing a new variation,” Health Minister Joe Fahla said. It was not clear where the difference was. Currently – according to P.1.129. It is called – First Released.

So far it has been found in someone who has traveled from South Africa, Botswana and South Africa to Hong Kong, First said.

During a press conference, the geneticists said the variation contained an unusually high number of mutations, more than 30 of which occur in the main spike protein — the system used by the virus to enter attacked cells.

Professor Tulio de Oliveira, director of the Center for Response and Discovery for Infection, said the variance is “more mutant than we expected” and that it “spreads very rapidly and we expect to see the next health system strain in a few days.” and Week.”

“Try to avoid super-popular events,” he advised the audience.

Officials expressed concern that the mutation could lead to immunosuppression and greater spread of the virus, but said it was too early to say what kind of impact that would have on the vaccine’s performance. Officials said more studies are needed to understand the clinical severity of the variant compared to previous variants.

“The full meaning of this variation remains uncertain and the best tools we have are vaccines,” de Oliveira said. He said laboratory tests are still needed to test the vaccine and eliminate the antibodies.

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UK bans flights to 6 African countries

On Thursday, UK officials announced that six African countries would be added to the UK’s “red list” of travel due to concerns about the UK health agency’s variability.

UK Health Minister Sajid Javed said flights to the UK from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will be suspended from Friday afternoon and all six countries will be added to the red list. Those returning from their departure points will have to undergo 10 days of hotel isolation at their own expense.

“The UKHSA is exploring a new variant. More data is needed, but we are now taking precautionary measures,” Javid said, adding that the variant identified in South Africa may be “more contagious.” The Delta E strain “currently in our Vaccines that are nearby may be less effective.”

Javid said the UK had so far “not detected any of these new versions” in the country.

On Friday, South African officials will explain to the World Health Organization that B.1.1.529 is classified as a “variance in surveillance”.

South Africa is similar to most of the region affected by three significant waves of COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak. With the number of new infections now relatively low across the country and positive levels below 5%, public health officials are predicting a fourth wave due to an already slow vaccine boom.

CNN’s Duterte Mendonca contributed to this report.

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