The new COVID-19 strain has been given a name. What is known about him

The World Health Organization has named the newest strain COVID-19 B.1.1.529 – omicron (O). WHO experts recognized it as a threat. What is known about the new variant of the coronavirus?

Given the potential danger of mutating Botswana, Greece takes protective measures. South African travelers can enter our country only with the special permission of the local embassies, if there is a serious reason. In addition, arriving in Greece from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Eswatini, they must stay in quarantine for 10 days and do PCR three times – before the trip, upon arrival and during quarantine. All travelers must be vaccinated.

WHO experts, based on the experience of South Africa, suggest that strain Omicron spreads faster than all of its predecessors. Accordingly, it can infect a much larger number of people, including those who have already had other coronavirus variations. The organization calls on scientists from all countries to pay due attention to the study of Omicron, according to Reuters.

PCR tests are effective

Following the results of yesterday emergency meeting A technical advisory group on the evolution of viruses, WHO experts note that existing PCR tests recognize the new South African strain of COVID-19. The statement reads:

“Existing PCR tests still detect this variant of SARS-CoV-2. Several laboratories have indicated that a widely used PCR test does not detect one of the three target genes, so this test can be used as a marker for this variant until confirmed by sequencing. The new variant has the potential to spread more quickly, but it can be detected by S-gene loss during testing. “

Proliferation risk

Earlier it was reported that an emergency meeting of WHO was announced on November 26. Representatives of the organization intend to discuss the emergence of a new variant of COVID-19, found in South Africa. Specialists of the World Health Organization are monitoring the situation, but it is not yet known how much vaccination with existing drugs will be able to protect against infection with a new strain, and what treatment methods will be effective in this case.

British scientists on November 24 announced a new strain of coronavirus called B.1.1.529. It is potentially more dangerous than all others, as it contains the largest number of mutations. Many of them indicate high transmissibility and resistance to vaccines. The strain has more changes in the spike protein than all other COVID-19 variants. Scientists warn about the risk of its spread.

Now 10 cases of the “newest” strain have been found – in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong. However, it was reported yesterday that a patient with a new South African strain of COVID-19 has arrived. Egypt to Belgium, in transit through Turkey. According to experts, this option may be worse than all others, including the now dominant strain in the world “Delta”.

Omicron – what is known today

WHO has named the new strain of coronavirus B.1.1.529, which has been identified in South Africa, with the Greek letter omicron. The organization’s experts included him in the group of options of concern, citing the evidence presented. Strains belonging to this group are characterized by an increased transmission rate and an increase in virulence or a change in the clinical manifestations of the disease. These options can also reduce the effectiveness of existing vaccines and treatments. According to the organization, PCR tests recognize the omicron. The head of the organization, Tedros Adanom Ghebreyesus, called for a vaccination program around the world to be implemented as soon as possible and to protect the most vulnerable people.

The US commented on the possibility of a vaccine effective against the new strain. Andy Slavitt, a former adviser to the White House COVID-19 Working Group, said drugs against the Omicron strain would be ready by next summer. It takes pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna a hundred days to develop vaccines against a new variant. He noted that it will take time to produce, approve and distribute new vaccines. It will take about two weeks to evaluate the effectiveness of mRNA-based vaccines. That is, starting work in December, companies will be able to make new vaccines available worldwide by summer.

George Rutherford, professor of epidemiology at the University of California at San Francisco, says existing vaccines have been effective against various varieties of coronavirus. So far, there is no reason to believe that the new African strain will be an exception. To date, more than 7.3 billion doses of vaccine have been used in the world, but about 70% – in just ten countries. And therein lies a huge problem.

“Attention, the doors are closing”

CNBC TV channel, citing high-ranking officials from the US presidential administration, reported that the US authorities will impose an entry ban for residents of eight African countries from November 29 in connection with the spread of Omicron – South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. Other countries are also introducing restrictions.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced a ban on entry from Botswana, South Africa (RSA), Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe effective November 26. Before that, restrictions on air traffic had already been imposed by the European Union, Great Britain, Singapore and Japan.

Russia restricts the entry of citizens from a number of African countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia. From November 28, for an indefinite period, entry will also be restricted for residents of Hong Kong, Mozambique, Eswatini, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and foreigners who have been in these countries for the past 10 days.

Given the potential danger of mutating Botswana, Greece takes protective measures. South African travelers can enter our country only with the special permission of the local embassies, if there is a serious reason. In addition, arriving in Greece from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Eswatini, they must stay in quarantine for 10 days and do PCR three times – before the trip, upon arrival and during quarantine. All travelers must be vaccinated.

The first reports of infection with the new strain in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong appeared on 24 November. Later, news about the discovery of another variant of the evolution of COVID-19 appeared in Israel and Belgium. On November 26, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video message that the strain could spread around the world in the next few months. She underlined the seriousness of the European Commission to the news about Option B.1.1.529.





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