‘Super strain’ is a term used to describe a strain that is Covid, which has 32 mutations, has gone global and may be resistant to vaccines.
One of the identified cases is believed to have traveled abroad, and the potentially vaccine-resistant B.1.1.529 strain has twice as many mutations as the currently dominant Delta strain.
In three distinct nations, a novel, potentially vaccine-resistant Covid “super variant” has been discovered.
South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong have all found the B.1.1.529 strain, which includes 32 spike mutations. Currently, the overall number of confirmed cases is barely in the double digits.
However, the virus’s spike mutations, which are numerous and diverse, have aroused fears that it could re-infect completely vaccinated populations.
Scientists at the UK Health Security Agency are tracking the spread of the new strain, which is thought to have evolved from an older form known as B.1.1 (UKHSA)
The solitary instance in Hong Kong was in a person who had recently traveled from South Africa, prompting concerns that the variation could now be spreading through airline passengers.
On his return to Hong Kong, the afflicted traveler tested negative, but then tested positive on November 13 while in quarantine at a hotel.
The alterations in the new virus strain were “horrific,” according to Dr. Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College, who compared it to the currently dominant Delta strain, which has half as many mutations.
“Export to Asia suggests this may be more common than sequences alone would suggest,” he added. Also, the extraordinarily long branch length and large number of spike mutations indicate that this could be a serious problem (predicted escape from most known monoclonal antibodies).
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Dr. Peacock wrote: “Worth emphasizing this is at super low numbers right now in a region of Africa that is fairly well sampled, however it very very much should be monitored due to that horrific spike profile (would take a guess that this would be worse antigenically than nearly anything else about) and it very very much should be monitored due to that horrific spike profile (would take a guess that this would be worse antigenically than nearly anything else about).”
There has been a local spike in cases in South Africa, with confirmed infection increasing from 312 on Monday to over 860 on Tuesday, but it’s too early to say whether the new strain is to blame.
Officials and scientists at the UK Health Security Agency say there are presently no known cases of the B.1.1.529 variety in the UK. The news is summarized by Brinkwire.