The new COVID-19 variant is discovered in the UK is spreading faster and causing a surge in the number of cases. However, the WHO believes that it can still be controlled as during the pandemic, the world has seen transmission rate faster than what we are witnessing at the moment.
The health officials, however, are worried about something else. They are exploring whether this new variant can be controlled using the vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Oxford-AstraZeneca.
It has been reported that the new variant, which was discovered in South Africa in mid-November and is similar to the new latest COVID-19 variant found in Britain has mutated further and can be the sole cause of more than 50% of deaths due to the coronavirus in the near future.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock while talking about the latest development in the COVID-19 situation commented that the South African variant can cause troubles in the future, much more than the UK’s.
The new strain is referred to as 501.V2, which had a mutation in spike protein called E484k. This mutation is not present in the UK’s new strain and unfortunately, the spike protein mutation has been showing a reduction in antibody recognition, which further helps the virus to bypass the immune protection provided by vaccination or any prior infection.
Since its first detection in mid-November, it has been at large. It is mutating faster and attacking in clusters. Tulio de Oliveira and his team at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal were the first ones to discover this variant in South Africa and raised an alert with the WHO officials.
This new discovery has alerted scientists around the world and raised their concerns regarding how to combat this disease if it continues to mutate at this pace. If the virus keeps on changing its genetics, then tests might not be able to detect it easily and vaccines might not work well.
The spread of the virus hasn’t been curtailed since it’s spreading like wildfire and has reached as far as Antarctica. The worrisome aspect is that if it keeps on spreading; it keeps on having more opportunity to change; thus, making the fight against the disease more difficult than ever. There’s also a possibility that it will become immune to the existing vaccines, but so far the WHO is certain that this situation can be controlled.