The more contagious form of coronavirus has started circulating in the United States.
In Britain, where it was first identified, the new variant became the dominant form of coronovirus in just three months, accelerating that country’s growth and filling of its hospitals. It can happen in the United States itself, sparking an incredible increase in deaths and overwhelming the already stressful health care system, experts warned.
A version that spreads more easily means that people will be religiously required to follow precautions such as social disturbances, wearing masks, hand hygiene, and better ventilation – against the restrictions many Americans are already unwelcome. news.
“The bottom line is that everything we do to reduce transmission will reduce the transmission of any variant, including this one,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Georgetown University. But “it could mean that more targeted measures that are not like a complete lockdown would not be as effective.”
What does this version mean to be more communicable? What makes this variant more contagious than previous iterations of the virus? And why should we worry about a version that spreads more easily but doesn’t make anyone sick?
We asked experts to weigh in on the research developed in this new version of Coronavirus.
The new version tends to spread more easily among people.
Many forms of coronovirus have appeared since the epidemic began. But all the evidence so far suggests that the new mutant named B.1.1.7, Is more transitive Compared to previous forms. It first surfaced in the UK in September, but has already accounted for more than 60 per cent of new cases in London and neighboring areas.
The new version infects more people than older versions of coronovirus, even if the environment is similar. It is not clear what variant gives this advantage, although there are indications that it may infect cells more efficiently.
It is also difficult to say how much the new variant could be transmitted, as scientists have not yet done the kind of lab experiments that are needed. Most of the findings have been drawn from epidemiological observations, and “there are a lot of potential biases in all the available data,” warned Mughe Kevik, an infectious disease specialist at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and a scientific advisor to the British government. .
Scientists initially estimated that the new version was 70 percent more transferable, but A. Recent Modeling Studies That number was pegged at 56 percent. Once researchers sift through all the data, it’s likely that evolutionary biologist Trevor Bedford of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle said that this version would be only 10 to 20 percent more permeable.
Nevertheless, Drs. It is likely to hold fast and become a dominant form in the United States by March, Bedford said. Dr. Scientists like Bedford are closely tracking all known variants to detect any further changes that may change their behavior.
In addition to greater broadcast capability, the version behaves like earlier versions.
The new mutant virus can spread more easily, but in every other way it seems much less than its predecessors.
So far, at least, the variant does not make people sick or cause more deaths. Nevertheless, there is cause for concern: a variant that is more transmitted will only increase the number of deaths because it will spread faster and infect more people.
“In that sense, it’s just a number game,” Dr. Rasmussen said. This would have an impact “in places like the US and the UK, where the healthcare system is really at its breaking point.”
The routes of transmission – by large and small droplets, and small aerosolized particles grow in crowded indoor spaces – have not changed. This means that masks, limiting time with others and improving ventilation in indoor locations, will help spread all types of variants, as these remedies do with other variants of the virus.
“By reducing your risk for any virus, you’re going to reduce your risk of getting infected, and it’s going to reduce transmission at all,” Dr. Rasmussen said.
Infection with new variants can increase the amount of virus in the body.
Some early evidence from Britain suggests that newly infected people tend Carry an overdose of virus in their nose And throat than those infected with previous versions.
“We’re talking in the range between 10 times more and 10,000 times more,” said Michael Kidd, a clinical virologist at Public Health England and a clinical consultant to the British government who has studied the phenomenon.
Other explanations to find are – dr. Kidd and his colleagues did not even know when people with their disease were tested, for example, which may affect their so-called viral load.
Nevertheless, the search provides a possible explanation for why the new version spreads more easily. The more the virus irritates infected people in their noses and throats, the more they get out into the air and onto the surfaces as they breathe, talk, sing, cough or sneeze.
As a result, situations that expose people to the virus are more likely to sow new infections. Some new data indicates that people infected with the new variant spread the virus to more of their contacts.
As with previous versions of the virus, contact tracing suggested that about 10 percent of people who have Close contact with an infected person – Within six feet for at least 15 minutes – inhale enough virus to become infected.
“With the variant, we can expect those 15 percent,” Drs. Bedford said. “Currently risky activities become more risky.”
Scientists are still learning how the mutation has transformed the virus.
This version has 23 mutations compared to the version in Wuhan, China a year ago. But 17 of those mutations appeared suddenly when the virus deviated from its most recent ancestor.
Each infected person is a crucible, which provides opportunities for the virus to multiply. With more than 83 million people infected worldwide, coronovirus is mutating faster than scientists at the onset of the epidemic.
Most mutations provide no benefit from mutation viruses and dying. But mutations that improve the fitness or transmission capacity of the virus have a greater chance of catching them.
At least one of the 17 new mutations in the variant contributes to its greater infectivity. The mechanism is not yet known. Some data suggest that the new variant may bind a protein more tightly to the surface of human cells, allowing it to more easily infect them.
It is possible that the variant blooms in the nose and throat of an infected person, but not in the lungs, for example – which may explain why patients spread it more easily but not to diseases caused by earlier versions of the virus. Do not develop more severe than. Some influenza viruses behave similarly, experts noted.
“We need to see this evidence as preliminary and accumulation,” Dr. Kevic said of the mounting figures on the new version.
Nevertheless, the research so far stated an urgent need to cut the transmission of variants, adding: “We need to be more careful, and look at gaps in our mitigation measures.