The new strain of coronavirus is 70% more infectious. What do you need to know about him?

What is this new strain?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that a new variant of the coronavirus

identified in Britain in September.

Initially, the head of the COVID-19 mutation announcedUK Department of Health Matt Hancock earlier this week. It was identified in London, the counties of Essex, Kent and Hertfordshire, more than a thousand people were infected with the new strain.

Later, the mutation of the coronavirus, according to WHO, was also recorded in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia. The authorities of South Africa and Italy also announced the identification of a new strain in the country.

How is the new strain different from the previous ones?

A new strain of coronavirus is spreading across the UK. Its unofficial name is N501Y.

In a conversation with The Guardian, the Minister of Health said that experts have identified more than a thousand cases of infection with this type of virus in the south of England.

Why is the new strain dangerous?

  • It quickly displaces other strains of the same virus;
  • The mutation occurs in parts of the virus that are of particular importance;
  • Several of these mutations have already demonstrated in vitro the increased ability of the virus to enter cells.

According to the chief scientific adviser to the government, Patrick Wallance, the new coronavirus strain has 23 differences from the previous strain. In particular, some of them are “troubling”.

WHO Special Envoy David Nabarro noted that the coronavirus mutation found in the UK poses no greater danger to humans, although it may be more contagious

At the same time, so far there is no scientific evidence that the new strain will somehow react differently to the available vaccines.

When was it identified?

This new strain was first identified in September.

Already in November, approximately 25% of all infections in London were just this variant of the coronavirus. And by the middle of December their number became more than 65%.

Using the results of tests done at the British Milton Keynes Lighthouse Laboratory, we can see how this strain began to dominate laboratory analyzes.

Mathematicians are trying to calculate the behavior of other strains of the coronavirus in order to understand how much more aggressive a new one might be.

However, here it is necessary to take into account not only the behavior of the virus itself, but also how people will behave.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the newthe strain can be 70% more infectious, and it is for this reason that the reproductive index (which shows whether the number of infections is increasing or decreasing) can increase by 0.4

The data that are available in the public domain are completely insufficient to make a clear and unconditional conclusion that the infectiousness of the virus has become higher.

Jonathan Ball, professor and virologist at the University of Nottingham.

What do we know about mutations British strain?

In the published original transcriptanalysis of the new strain indicates potentially important changes in 17 characteristics. The changes concern the spike protein, with the help of which the virus enters the cell.

One of the mutations, N501Y, is responsible for the most important part of this spine, known as the receptor binding domain (RBD).

It is here that the thorn first comes into contact with the cell surface. Any changes that help the virus get in will likely give this strain an edge.

Another mutation (deletion H69 / V70) has been repeatedly recorded, for example in minks on farms in Denmark, because of it, a tiny part of the thorn is destroyed.

Research conducted by Professor Ravi Gupta of the University of Cambridge shows that in laboratory conditions, this mutation doubles the infectivity of the coronavirus.

What happens in the countries where the strain has spread?

In this regard, the country's government announcednew coronavirus restrictions: certain regions of England and London, in which the third level quarantine has already been introduced, are moving to the fourth level in accordance with the system introduced earlier in the country. This means the closure of all non-vital businesses. Residents of the capital and the English regions are advised to leave the house only when urgently needed.

Earlier, the British authorities planned to weakenrestrictions for the Christmas period, but now the prime minister "reluctantly" said that there would be no relief. Within the framework of the fourth level of restrictions, people are recommended to contact only the residents of their own households. On Christmas Day it will be possible to meet friends, but only on condition that this social circle is limited to two other households.

The mutated variant of the coronavirus was identified in the UK in September but has become widespread since mid-November, the Public Health England said in a statement.

In London and South East England December 19introduced the fourth (maximum) level of threat of the spread of infection, which implies a ban on the operation of stores that do not sell essential goods, hairdressers and gyms in addition to previously closed restaurants, pubs and cafes.

Flights from the UK for different periodssuspended Austria, Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Israel, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Canada, Colombia, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Netherlands, Romania, Turkey, Croatia, Finland, France, Chile, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Estonia ...

In addition, Israel has suspended flights with Denmark and South Africa, Switzerland - with South Africa, Turkey - with Denmark, the Netherlands and South Africa.

Reaction in the world

The Netherlands has banned passenger flights fromBritain. This measure will be valid until at least January 1. The French leadership decided to suspend the reception of flights from the UK for 48 hours. Israel has suspended flights from the UK, Denmark and South Africa. Germany will suspend passenger flights with the UK until 31 December. However, on the territory of Germany, according to the authorities, a new strain has not yet been identified.

Italy has imposed a travel ban from the UK.Flights to all British airports will end until 6 January. The Lithuanian government has suspended flights from the UK until December 31. Austria has decided to ban the arrival of passenger aircraft from the UK. Flights from Bulgaria to the UK and back will be suspended from 21 December to 31 January. The Czech Republic has introduced mandatory quarantine for arrivals from the UK. The country's health ministry later announced that the republic has suspended flights from the UK since Monday.

Spain will tighten control over the availability of tests forcoronavirus from arrivals from Britain. The government also called on the European Union to develop a coordinated response after the detection of a new coronavirus mutation in the UK. Saudi Arabia has closed all international flights for a week.

There are no decisions to shut down flights between Russia and the UK yet. Aeroflot said they have no information about the suspension of flights with the UK.

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