Health authorities for an unequal fight against Coronavirus and new virus variants. Despite the more stringent restrictions, the spread of infection is increasing again in a number of countries, and the British virus is most prevalent.
Discovered August 20, 2020 The British variant, B.117, of the Coronavirus for the first time. But it wasn’t until December, several months later, that information about the alternative became widely known. Until then, there was talk of the infection spreading effectively.
– It spreads definitely easier than previous variants. It is up to 75 percent contagious and causes more serious conditions. But we have no evidence that the mutation will be a problem for immunity or vaccination, says Brian Qiancio, head of the monitoring division of the European Union’s infection control unit, ECDC, when he presented the agency’s latest statistics.
Fresh Numbers From the infection control authority it appears that the British variant has spread to all European Union countries and a total of 24,000 cases have been identified, but the numbers are underestimated. Once established in a country, it quickly becomes dominant. In the United Kingdom, the six-week process went from the first confirmed case to the surrogate case.
At present, the British variant dominates the spread of infection in at least ten European countries: Great Britain, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Israel, Spain and Portugal.
In addition to the British, virus variants of Brazil and South Africa have been identified in recent months. These spread far less than the British variant in Europe. The alternative is available in South Africa in 18 European countries And the Brazilian variant, which appears to be able to re-infect humans, was discovered in nine European countries.
The same development can now be seen in Sweden.
Sweden closed its borders Against the UK on December 21 to banish the virus variant, but the measure was not enough. Five days later, the first case was detected. Since then, the disease has spread rapidly and in 16 of the 18 regions it accounts for more than half of the cases. According to state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell at the Swedish Public Health Agency, the British alternative “will dominate the spread of infection” in Sweden in the future.
The type of Brazilian virus was first detected in February in Sweden. The injured had no travel ties to Brazil. And according to Anders Tegnell, the prevalence of the variant is very low. This also applies to the B.1.351 South African variant.
The state of knowledge about these two variables is much worse than that of the British.
To control and reduce infection, more stringent measures are required, says Bruno Qiancio, and he highlighted Denmark as a successful example.
There is an important message that even if the variants are more contagious, they respond to the same procedures we used and are using for the common virus. But when it is contagious, that means measures must be tightened, he says, and continues:
Look at Denmark, between September and January, it saw a big increase in confirmed cases, an increase never seen before. But with tightening measures, expanding contact tracing and identifying groups, the country has managed to push infections to even lower levels.
One of the concerns of the British alternative It may be more deadly than other virus variants. Two new studies are published each week, the first in the journal British Medical Journal And the last in Temperate nature, Indicates that this is the case. According to studies, the British variant is about 60 percent more lethal than the previously original virus variant.
– The first study showed that the British virus variant is 1.6 times more lethal than the original virus. But one must remember that the death toll is low. Their number has increased from two to four per 100,000, but there are still more people that could be affected. This suggests that the British alternative is more lethal, says Ali Merazimi, assistant professor of clinical virology at the Karolinska Institute.
At the same time, he notes, it is a question of very low mortality rates.
A: These are very low numbers, but still an increase. And if you assume the British alternative is better at spreading in terms of the fact that it may also be a little more dangerous, then the risk is higher for a small group, says Ali Merazimi.
Matte Salberg, Professor of Virology At Karolinska Institutet, vaccination is believed to be the way forward – even if it turns out that not all vaccines provide equally good protection against different variants. A study shows, for example, that the Astra Zeneca vaccine is ineffective against the South African variant.
All vaccines protect against the British variant. The problem is the Brazilian and South African variants. Based on a host of different studies, most vaccines are still likely to protect against serious disease and death. On the other hand, it can be difficult to suppress and stop the spread of the infection, but overall, that’s just a guess, he says.
Reports of suspected serious side effects and deaths related to the Astra Zeneca vaccine have caused concern among many. But Matti Salberg believes that one must balance risk with benefit.
Regardless of today’s strains prevalent in Sweden, the vaccine has the potential to save lives and keep people away from healthcare to a greater extent than if we had not been vaccinated, says Matti Saalberg.
Read more: New study: the British alternative leads to more deaths
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