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Home / World / New evidence that British coronavirus variants are easier to spread has scientists really worried

New evidence that British coronavirus variants are easier to spread has scientists really worried



Public service signs at Chicago bus stations urge people to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Public service signs at Chicago bus stations urge people to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-1
9. (Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press)

The variant of the coronavirus that appeared in the United Kingdom now belongs to the world, and more and more evidence confirms some scientists’ early suspicions: it is a super spreader that can spread a pandemic and make it a less spreading virus Muscle into disappears.

Now that the new variant has established strongholds in the United States and more than 40 other countries, the race to contain it is underway. That game pitted people with vaccines, masks, and hand sanitizers against strains of the virus with a few genetic changes that caused people’s fear since they were discovered.

There is good news: Researchers who have measured and modeled the power of the British variant have found that there is no reason to believe that once it invades the human body, it will make people sick. Nor does it seem to reduce the time it takes for newly infected people to spread the virus-this development may cause a rapid surge of new patients.

Other new research further proves that the COVID-19 vaccine used in the United States and other regions should be able to withstand new variants.

But other findings are even more ominous. The two groups of researchers used many different methods to track the British variants and compare them with previous variants, and concluded that the rapid growth of new strains in the UK cannot be regarded as accidental.

Moreover, as the new strain spreads quickly in its homeland, it is expected to do better here. Once it is established in the United States (which prospect experts believe is inevitable), to thwart it, it will require stricter public health measures than those taken so far, faster vaccine launches, and a greatly increased willingness to immunize.

Derek Cummings, a biologist at the University of Florida, said: “We are losing competition with the coronavirus, which infects humans much faster than injecting vaccines into people’s arms and overcoming them. The distance between us and society.” “Now that this variant makes the game more difficult.”

According to the new research, the genetic changes of the new variant seem to increase its transmittance by approximately 56%, although it may be as low as 40% and as high as 70%.

With this competitive advantage, it will quickly become the most common pressure encountered in any region that gains a foothold. As a result, the number of coronavirus infections and subsequent diseases, hospitalizations and deaths will increase.

Ira Longini, an infectious disease modeler at the University of Florida, said: “The most important thing is that if you want to take over this new variant, it will be difficult to control it.”

He added that it will take over.

As demonstrated in the UK, the superpower of the new variant is its ability to pass through public health barriers and spread easily. It has been circulating for at least a month, and it may take longer to be discovered by keen (and well-funded) geneticists in the UK.

The travel ban is useless in enriching it. So far, this variant has been called B.1.1.7 by scientists, and it has now appeared in 47 countries, including Australia, Chile, and Japan.

The Port of Dover in England closed in December
After France issued a temporary ban on travel from the UK to stop the spread of the new coronavirus variant, the Port of Dover in England closed in December. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press)

Ronnini said that before 2009, disease hunters discovered several new genetically modified influenza strains, which eliminated the existing strains within a year.

He said: “I don’t see any way to stop it.” “It should be scattered all over the planet.”

What does this enhanced transmittance mean? Imagine a person without a mask. They have no immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. If a person carrying a typical strain walks in and mixes together for a few hours, two or three other people may be infected.

If the same party participant is infected with B.1.1.7, the virus will find 3.5 to 4.3 new victims in the same incident.

This difference seems small, but with the new generation of infection, its impact will be magnified. Within a month, a person with a UK variant may have 150 new infections, almost four times as many as 39 cases infected by someone with an older strain of the coronavirus.

In fact, the British variant may encounter more resistance in the United States. At this point in the pandemic, one in five guests has been infected and gained a certain degree of immunity, which may help. In addition, some social distancing is likely to be found, the party may be held outside, and many participants wear masks.

In this case, a person with a typical SARS-CoV-2 strain is likely to find that a person is infected. On a rare lucky night, two people will be infected. At this rate, the pandemic was growing at a relatively solemn rate, and a month later, a total of three people were infected.

B.1.1.7 Change this picture. Carriers on the same side will spread the infection to two other victims 1.5. One month later, the initial case resulted in 11 to 16 new infections.

In the competition between virus strains, this competitive advantage is very important. The goal of the virus is to find and invade new corpses. This variant manages to capture more variants, which in turn infects more corpses, will leap ahead of its competitors and establish its dominance.

In the short term, more timid strains have all been squeezed out of the landscape, and this new offender is hyping the epidemic.

For example, experts warn that the increased transmission capacity of B.1.1.7 will drive people who need to be vaccinated to achieve cattle immunity and stop the pandemic.

In order for the virus to protect new victims from infection enough so that the pandemic can continue and evolve, you need to enclose more carriers in an infectious environment, in other words, vaccinated People, they will block the virus and increase the difficulty of spreading. The better the virus’s ability to infect new victims, the more uninfectable people you need in the population to prevent it from infecting new victims.

Even before fully understanding the threat of B.1.1.7, US health officials began to estimate how many vaccines they would need to establish an estimate of herd immunity here. Although their early speculations accounted for about 70% of the population, experts including Anthony Fauci, the chief infectious disease expert in the United States, have raised their target to 85%.

However, in a survey completed in early December, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only 71% of Americans are definitely or likely to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Other recent surveys report that the proportion of willing Americans is only slightly higher than half.

In the UK, two groups of researchers used a variety of techniques to prove the increased infectivity of UK strains.

The first group is an influential team of infectious disease modelers from Imperial College London. They used gene sequencing technology to enable them to time-stamp infections and track the virus progress of the entire population. They compared the growth of B.1.1.7 in three different regions of England and found that the growth patterns of all regions were similar.

To further confirm, they checked hundreds of positive tests for coronavirus. In the basic genetic screening widely used to confirm infection, the UK strain triggered a telling signal that betrayed its unique change.

In this way, the location and growth rate of the new genetic variant, as well as its consistent ability to withstand other strains, also enable researchers to estimate the possibility of its spread. It tells them that this rapid growth cannot be explained by local conditions (such as a particularly vulnerable population of the elderly) or environmental conditions (such as cold weather forcing people to spend more time indoors), rather than existing strains.

Ambulances line up outside the Royal London Hospital
As the new coronavirus strain fueled a record COVID-19 surge, ambulances lined up outside the Royal London Hospital. (Dominique Lipinski/Associated Press)

The second group of researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine used many of the same techniques. They fit the outbreak data to a mathematical model to show that the footprints of B.1.1.7 in different regions are similar and explore possible reasons for the observed consistency.

They concluded that in the UK, the rapid increase in infections must be driven by one or more changes in the genetic code of the new variant, although they are not sure what caused the change.

This is an inference. But experts say this is a good choice.

Vladimir Minin, a biostatistician at the University of California, Irvine, said: “If you give me evidence from these studies, I will say I have not fully bought it.” “But the author has provided it. There is a lot of evidence that even the more skeptical among us cannot refuse. This is conclusive evidence. It is indeed a fast-spreading virus.”

In a country that is already trying to get people to wear masks, stay at home and avoid gatherings, vaccines seem to be the only way out. Dr. Marc Lipsitch, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Harvard University, said that the arrival of B.1.1.7 is stronger than ever before giving priority to the elderly and those most likely to be seriously ill or Dead people. In this way, he said, even if Americans cannot stop the spread of the more challenging virus, the vaccine can “undermine” its impact.

However, Cummings said, first of all, they must be given time to go to work. If more deaths are to be prevented, stricter public health work will be required.

This is a moment similar to the beginning of the pandemic, when Americans were asked to make sacrifices to “smooth the curve” so that hospitals had time to buy ventilators, protective equipment, and medical staff. This time, the curve that must be flat is steeper.

Cummings still said: “We shouldn’t raise our hands to say this is a reason for failure. Every week we get help. We have these public health tools, and we can all do something to delay the infection and give us more time. To take out the vaccine.”

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.


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