Home / news / “The New Britain Dynasty” .. What does the emergence of mutations in the emerging corona mean?

“The New Britain Dynasty” .. What does the emergence of mutations in the emerging corona mean?

During the past few weeks, Britain has suffered from an incomprehensible towering jump in the numbers of daily cases, the country started the second Corona wave in August and reached its peak at the beginning of November, and with the gradual decline of cases things calmed down a little, but, surprisingly, it resumed In mid-November, as these words are being written, they reach a new climax, crossing the barrier of 30,000 cases a day.

But this time, epidemiologists noticed that this recent jump was caused by specific regions (1) in the southeast of the country, as it is usual for the country to register 100 cases per week for every 100,000 people, but those areas in particular have increased their infection rates to four times. This raised their attention to the possibility that this was linked to an emergency change in the nature of the virus itself, and with a DNA sequence examination of a random group of samples of the emerging corona, they found that they are facing a new form of the virus, with 17 mutations that we have not heard before!

It is similar to asking you to transfer a message consisting of several thousand English letters from one of the notebooks to the computer, it usually happens that you transfer one or more letters incorrectly, this is what happens in the case of the new Corona, as it is composed of a protein cover that surrounds part of DNA, which possesses a basic characteristic, which is its ability to replicate itself repeatedly, but it cannot do so on its own, must first enter a living cell, and then force its mechanisms to manufacture its own DNA.

But during the process of copying about 30 thousand characters related to the virus, but this time they are not letters in the understandable sense, but chemical units that follow on the viral DNA tape as you follow the viewer on a movie tape, it happens naturally (2) that one of the letters is deleted, or changed To another letter, or a new letter is added to the sequence, that is the mutation, and it is usually benign, does not affect anything, or may cause the virus to completely destroy.

In some rare cases, this mutation may be beneficial to the virus, improving its chances of survival, and it spreads more than its peers. In fact, mutations are the reason for the transmission of viruses such as the emerging corona from the animal world to the human world, where thousands of viruses enter our bodies all the time, but they pass peacefully because they are not able to recognize our body cells, but one of the mutations may occur that makes it possible for the virus to recognize On human cells and enters them to copy itself, here epidemics and pandemics begin. The same thing happens during the spread of the virus to humans, it may change through mutations to improve its spread (or vice versa).

The new strain of the virus was called “VUI-202012/01” or “B.1.1.7, we do not know much about it, but we know that it is not a“ Strain ”in the understandable sense. The word“ strain ”here may be used in the media to explain the idea that there is a change Noticeable in the virus, as for what happened is the closest thing to “branching” (3) (lineages) or a new (variant) variation of the virus. There are technical differences between the three definitions, but the difference in the end is that “strain” refers to a fundamental change in the virus .

Of course, there is a basic observation, which is that the number of mutations of this new variation of the virus is much greater than expected, 17 mutations, as mutations usually accumulate in the virus at rates less than that over time. This is mainly what worries scientists, because the large number of mutations means that the properties of the virus can change dramatically. In addition, among those mutations, (8) occurred in the spike protein – called the Hasakah protein – on the surface of the new corona, and the function of these protrusions is to associate with specific types of receptors on human cells in a manner similar to a lock and key, Then those receptors pull it into the cell, and that’s where reproduction begins.

Researchers from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention assume that the reason for this genetic jump may be a case of infection that remained for a long time with one patient with weaker than average immune capabilities, so the virus had the opportunity to mutate several times effectively, while bypassing the obstacles that the patient’s immunity and drugs put in front of him. For that long.

One of the assumptions also, but it is less likely, is that the virus has passed from an animal to humans, after another human being infected this animal with the virus earlier, and those mutations that occur during the transmission of the virus between two living organisms of two different species usually carry a greater number than Mutations, because the nature of the adaptations in each is different. There is a third weaker possibility related to the fact that the course of development of this strain only was not monitored by scientists over a long period of time, Britain is one of the countries in the world most analyzed and searched for genetic changes in the virus, 5-10% of “Covid-19” cases there To be DNA sequenced.

Mutations are “normal” for a virus, not the other way around. In fact, many do not know that there are (4) about 12 thousand species / variations (Variant) of the emerging corona that appeared due to tens of thousands of mutations that occurred to it after the first case declared in China in December 2019, which we will assume is the first transmission of the virus Animal to human. To date, each of these types differs from the other in the number of mutations that do not exceed 30 letters, so scientists believe that there are no “strains” of the new Corona, but it is one large strain that includes several variations.

Among all these variations, there were two cases that have attracted the attention of researchers and the public around the world recently, the first was when the government in the country of Denmark killed (5) about 15 million mink animals in the country because the new Corona virus was transmitted to it from humans, then it mutated within it. To five new variants, one of which was likely to be able to partially or completely neutralize the effect of the vaccine, and it had already been transmitted to about 400 Danish citizens.

As for the second case, it was called the “D614G” mutation, and with its spread in Europe, the team of scientists believed that it was more (6) capable of spreading by ten times more than normal, but that hypothesis is now less likely after additional studies, yet this mutation caused severe confusion around the world. Where people assumed prevalence was related to risk, when this was not true.

Until now, we do not know much about “B.1.1.7, when new changes appear in the virus, what worries scientists is the answer to three (7) important main questions that will fundamentally affect the course of our medical and non-medical dealings with it: Is it faster? Is it more dangerous? Will it affect the effectiveness of the next vaccine? The main answer to these three questions is “We do not know yet”, but there are more possibilities than others.

Where researchers tend to believe that these changes made the new corona more prevalent by a difference of 70% from the usual strains of the virus (less than twice), and it is believed that the reason for this is that changes in the itch protein have improved the ability of the virus to conform to the receptors in human cells, on the one hand. Else, these mutations may help the virus to hide better from the human immune system.

On the other hand, there is a tendency to answer “no” to the question of severity, as the examination of the infection census in southeast England showed that the virus is transmitted at a greater rate, but it did not detect any possible escalation in the severity of the virus, meaning that the number of cases that entered hospitals, Or those that entered the intensive care rooms, or the numbers of those who died, were within the normal rates.

There is also a tendency to answer “no” to the question of the vaccine, although vaccines mainly rely on mimicking the Hasakah protein, they produce antibodies that can interact with many regions in the Hasaka protein, so it is unlikely that these changes will only be able to stop the effect of the vaccine. However, we still need more examination to ensure the exact effect of this strain on the effectiveness of the vaccine.

It is believed that the first appearance of these mutations was last September, and when the tests were conducted in southeast England, more than 50% of some cities contained the new strain, which means that they are already roaming the country, but more importantly, the new strain was already detected in Several countries (8) such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium, therefore, the issue of the spread of this “strain” has become governed by its nature and not by the measures we take. If it is indeed rapid spread it will surpass other varieties and become the predominant in the whole world.

However, the strict fourth-level closure measures, and the closure of some countries (9), such as Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, for airlines with Britain, will slow its spread among the countries of the world, until vaccination campaigns enter a level that includes more people. , This may compensate for the spread difference if the strain is indeed more prevalent.

At this point, let us explain that all of the above events and results do not affect treatment or vaccination plans around the world, in fact scientists believe that previous unexplored mutations were the reason for giving the virus a greater ability to spread, which appeared in the escalation of the number of infections at the level of Scientist more than once, but this is not certain, it takes a lot of research to confirm these results.

In any case, we know that the new corona will continue to mutate, and new strains will emerge from it that require changing vaccines, and this is normal, and it is not a difficult task for vaccine companies and factories, but we humans are fortunate that this virus has molecular correction mechanisms It prevents it from mutating at great rates, and its mutation rates are almost half the rates of seasonal influenza, which gives some reassurance regarding vaccinations and treatment.

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Sources

  1. Rapid increase of a SARS-CoV-2 variant with multiple spike protein mutations observed in the United Kingdom 20 December 2020
  2. What happens if COVID-19 mutates?
  3. Preliminary genomic characterisation of an emergent SARS-CoV-2 lineage in the UK defined by a novel set of spike mutations
  4. The coronavirus is mutating — does it matter?
  5. Here’s why Denmark culled 17 million minks and now plans to dig up their buried bodies. The Covid mink crisis, explained
  6. The coronavirus is mutating — does it matter?
  7. Rapid increase of a SARS-CoV-2 variant with multiple spike protein mutations observed in the United Kingdom 20 December 2020
  8. Rapid increase of a SARS-CoV-2 variant with multiple spike protein mutations observed in the United Kingdom 20 December 2020
  9. Covid: Nations impose UK travel bans over new variant




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