Next mutation puts researchers on alert

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A new mutation is currently keeping researchers busy. It is a subtype of the delta variant that dominates in Austria.

Corona has had a firm grip on the world for over a year and a half. Currently, a renewed increase in the number of new infections can be observed in many places. The fourth wave of Corona has now also arrived in this country. The reason for the increase in numbers is the much more infectious delta variant of the Corona virus, which has been dominant in Austria and also other European countries for weeks.

According to a report in the “Standard”, however, a subform of the delta variant is now causing headaches for researchers – AY.3. The spread of this variant can be observed particularly in the southern states of the USA. According to the study, 45 percent of new infections in Mississippi are due to this delta subform, while in Missouri the figure is 43 percent. This is shown by data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

A cause for concern is the fact that AY.3 has already arrived in Europe. The first cases have already been registered in Israel, Great Britain and Austria’s neighbor Germany. According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the proportion there is already 3.4 percent.

Whether this variant has already arrived in Austria is currently unclear. The Agency for Food Safety (AGES) does not yet have any data on this. However, it is said that virus sequencing is already being checked for this new variant. Information should be available in the course of the week.

The danger posed by the new variant of the delta mutation is not yet clear. However, AY.3 is another subform of Delta – there are currently 13 such subforms in total, all of which are grouped under the name “Delta Plus,” the report continues. These have an additional mutation of the spike protein, which is also found in the two Corona variants Beta and Gamma.

According to Christina Pagel, a mathematician at University College London who specializes in analyzing health data, it is difficult to assess how dangerous AY.3 is, but it is clear that this variant is “on the rise” in the United States – but together with the delta variant.

Overall, we still know very little about AY.3, but we have learned in the past that caution should be the top priority, the expert warns. On Twitter, she portrays: AY.3 “could be more transmissible than Delta, it could be more immune evasive. But it could also be coincidence. There is currently no evidence that AY.3 is more dangerous than Delta.”

Nonetheless, the mathematician is cautious: “We’ve seen this before, so we should learn more about the variant.”

In the meantime, however, researchers are also concerned about “Covid-22.” Sai Reddy of the elite Swiss university ETH has now warned about this new super mutation. The fear does not bode well: “Covid-22 could be even worse than what we are experiencing now.”

  • source: heute.at/picture: pixabay.com
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