NewsVirus variant from India under special observation

Virus variant from India under special observation

The much more contagious Corona variant, which was discovered in Great Britain, spread massively in Germany. Does that threaten to repeat itself with the mutant discovered in India?

Berlin (dpa) – The proportion of the Corona variant from India classified as worrying in the samples examined in Germany is still relatively low.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) puts it in a report for the week from May 3rd to 9th at two percent. The week before it was 1.5 percent. Meanwhile, according to the report, the proportion of South Africa variant B.1.351 increased from one to three percent after a long period of inconspicuous development. The dominance of variant B.1.1.7 discovered in Great Britain weakened somewhat – from more than 90 to 87 percent.

The proportion of the Indian variant is lower than in Great Britain, where it is currently found in around six percent of the samples examined, writes the RKI. It is feared that it could be more contagious than previous variants. It could also make the vaccination less effective. What one observes is “a slight restriction, but not a complete failure of the vaccinations,” said virologist Sandra Ciesek recently in the NDR. In the past few weeks, experts have emphasized that there are still a number of uncertainties based on the data available so far.

The mutant from India has several sub-variants: In Great Britain, B.1.617.2 is in focus as worrying. As of Wednesday, 2,967 confirmed cases were known in the country. That was a good 1,600 more than a week earlier. In Germany, where only a fraction of the positive samples are tested for variants, the sub-variant was found 37 times in a random sample in the week from May 3rd to 9th. This emerges from the RKI report. Since mid-April, however, the RKI has seen a sharply increasing share here. This sub-variant required “special attention”, it said.

In Great Britain, several cities in Central England are particularly affected, but also the West London district of Hounslow and the Scottish city of Glasgow. However, there are at least indications that the vaccinations might work against the variant: So far, the majority of people seriously ill with the virus variant had not yet been vaccinated.

The scientific advisory board Sage wrote in a current report that it was “realistic” that the variant could be up to 50 percent more contagious than variant B.1.1.7, which is already considered very contagious. British modelers therefore fear another wave of infections in the worst case, similar to the wave in winter with tens of thousands of deaths.

Gabriel Scally, a public health expert, told Sky News that everything should now be done to reduce new infections. Young people should be vaccinated as quickly as possible and citizens in quarantine should be given more support. “We also have to stop imports, which means that we need better border controls,” said Scally. Many of the cases of the variant that have occurred in Great Britain to date are traced back to travelers from India. The country has only been on the “red list” since the end of April, which requires hotel quarantine in England.

The federal government has been classifying Great Britain as a corona risk area again since Sunday, despite the low number of infections. The reason is the “at least limited occurrence” of the virus variant first identified in India, it said. According to WHO data, B.1.617 has now been detected in more than 40 countries.

In its weekly report, the RKI mainly looks at four variants that are considered worrying. In addition to those from India, South Africa and Great Britain, this also includes the mutant P.1, which circulates in Brazil (share: 0.3 percent). According to the report, there are also several other variants to be found that are currently under observation as so-called “Variants of Interest”. Experts focus on mutations that are associated with increased transmissibility and / or an altered immune response.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210520-99-669046 / 3

Current report from the Sage Scientific Advisory Board

WHO weekly update

RKI overview of worrisome variants

10. Virus variant report (PDF)

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