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Home / Health / Scientists have identified a strain of coronavirus that occurs more frequently in Spain and spread throughout Europe

Scientists have identified a strain of coronavirus that occurs more frequently in Spain and spread throughout Europe



Ludwig Burger

Researchers say that a strain of coronavirus that emerged in Spain in June has spread in Europe and now constitutes a large proportion of infections in several countries, emphasizing the role of travel in the pandemic and the need to track mutations.

The variant was first discovered among farm workers in the Aragon and Catalonia regions of eastern Spain, but no inherent danger was found.

The report, written by seven researchers with the support of public sector scientific institutions in Switzerland and Spain, stated that it has accounted for nearly 90% of new infections in Spain in the past two months.

It has been published on the so-called preprint server https://www.medrxiv.org/content/1

0.1101/2020.10.25.20219063v1.full.pdf, and is still awaiting peer review for publication in scientific journals.

They found that the strain had crossed the European border and accounted for 40-70% of Switzerland’s new infections in Switzerland, Ireland and the United Kingdom in September.

Scientists say that the characteristic mutations of the strain did not give it any obvious advantages, and its success may be attributed to the particularly mobile and sociable people who first discovered it.

However, in some places outside Spain, the driving process of this variant has its own dynamics, indicating that it may have a spread advantage.

The researchers wrote: “Even after the quarantine-free travel is suspended and the main summer travel period ends, its frequency in the UK continues to increase. Therefore, this variant may spread faster than the competitive variant.”

They say that across Europe, efforts to sequence viral genomes vary widely, which limits their research.

“In Europe, the rapid rise of these variants highlights the importance of genomic surveillance for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic… It is necessary to understand whether the new variants will affect the severity of the disease.” The World Health Organization said in July that there was no evidence. It shows that the mutation of the virus caused more serious diseases. It established a working group to better understand the behavior of mutations.

When all viruses infect the host, they will only replicate imperfect copies of themselves, but this tendency of random drift will vary between different types of viruses.

Coronavirus was also the cause of the SARS outbreak in 2002-2004. It is more stable than seasonal flu, which requires a new vaccine every year, for example.

(Reporting by Ludwig Berg; editing by Alexandra Hudson)


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