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English Variant SARS-CoV-2: why are you worried?

by | Mar 21, 2021 | Coronavirus | 0 comments

  1. What is the English Variant?
  2. Why Does He Worry?
  3. English variant and children
  4. How To Protect
  5. Efficacy of Diagnostic Means
  6. Medicines and vaccines

The sources consulted for this article are the World Health Organization (WHO) official sites and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The English variant is one of the three variants of SARS-CoV-2 that, from late 2020 to early 2021, is of particular concern in the US.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the current pandemic and respiratory syndrome known as COVID-19 tends to mutate, resulting in the so-called “variants.” While some mutations appear to be “insignificant,” mutations become of some importance in terms of health. This is the case with the English variant.

Note: the other variants are the Brazilian variant and the south African variant.

What is the English Variant?

The English variant is so-called that it has been isolated for the first time in Britain.

It is named by the United Kingdom as SARS-CoV-2 VOC 2012/01 (Variant of Concern, the year 2020, month 12, variant 01), but is also known as B.1.1.7 or VOC B.1.1.7.

In this variant, a mutation affects the viral protein called “spike,” which is the protein that allows the virus to “attach” to the host cells.

What we know from his discovery to date

The first survey of the variant took place in September 2020, and the United Kingdom reported its presence at the World Health Organization (WHO) in December 2020.

Initially, the variant appeared in the southeastern part of England. Within a few weeks began replacing the viral lineages circulating until then in this geographic area, including London.

Immediately after Christmas – approximately from 26 December 2020 onwards – the variant SARS-CoV-2 VOC 2012/01 has been identified almost throughout the territory by routine sampling and genomic tests carried out in different parts of the United Kingdom.

Turning to slightly more technical aspects, the tests carried out have shown that this variant contains 23 nucleotide substitutions. It is not phylogenetically related to the other variants in circulation in the United Kingdom until its first detection. Therefore, it is not yet clear how and where SARS-CoV-2 VOC 2012/01 originated.

However, the mutation that gave rise to the English variant, as mentioned, is of particular concern. Let us see why.

Why Do You Worry?

All the observations and studies made so far have shown that the English variant SARS-CoV-2 has a higher degree of transmissibility.

Also, it is assumed that this variant is likely to cause a more serious disease than other variants circulating before its appearance. In particular, based on preliminary analyzes in the UK, the advisory group dealing with threats of emerging new respiratory viruses. Known as NERVTAG acronym from New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group. In this field, advising the UK Government has stated that it is likely that VOC B.1.1.7 infection could be associated with an increase in the risk of Hospital treatment and negative pathology status to the infection caused by the unmutated virus. However, further studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis and are being carried out.

In a few lines, therefore, the English variant is concerned both by its increased transmissibility and its hypothetical capacity to give rise to a more serious disease.

English Variant and Children

Is it true that the English variant affects children in particular?

Despite what could be inferred from the news, there is currently no data to confirm that the English variant may affect the population of the pediatric age group more.

However, what is certain is that – with the English variant being more transmissible – there is an increase in contagion in all age groups and, therefore, also in children.

In any case, studies are being carried out on this issue.

How To Protect

How can we prevent the spread of the English variant?

The means to protect yourself are the same for any variant:

  • masks
  • social distance
  • and hand hygiene.

Of course, it is also essential to respect all the laws and restrictions currently in force.

Effectiveness of Diagnostic Means

Can the diagnostic tests used detect the English variant?

At the moment, the diagnostic tools used should have no problem catching the English variant.

Pharmacies and Vaccines

Are the drugs and vaccines available to date effective against the English variant?

Unlike other variants that are concerned – for the moment and based on the available data – the British vaccine does not seem to affect the vaccine’s effectiveness.

About the drugs used to treat the disease caused by the infection, the data available to date, unfortunately, are not in a position to provide us with specific answers.

The situation is still under development.

To explore:

SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Variant: What Are They And What Do We Know?

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