Researchers in Indonesia have announced that they have discovered “the most mutated version” of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) ever recorded.
The mutant COVID-19 strain, a morphed version of the post-vaccine Delta variant, was collected from a patient swab in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. At least 37 of its staggering 113 unique mutations affect the spike protein, which the coronavirus uses to latch onto humans. Meanwhile, the post-vaccine Omicron variant carries an estimated 50 mutations.
Indonesian experts claim that this currently unnamed mutant strain could be the “most extreme” form of COVID-19 discovered to date.
Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick in England noted that the biggest fear of health experts is of a new variant like the mutant strain in Indonesia emerging quietly. But he hedged this statement by noting that this new variant will only become a concern if it spreads rapidly. Right now, it is unclear if the new strain has the potential to infect others widely.
A lack of proper genetic surveillance infrastructure to pick up emerging COVID-19 variants that could be resistant to established immunities was leaving many places in the world, like third world Indonesia, without the proper defenses to face new threats. He added that it could be difficult to predict if new COVID-19 outbreaks are because of a new and potentially more dangerous variant.
Countries like the United Kingdom have already substantially reduced the amount of genetic analysis they are conducting as the pandemic slows down. But COVID-19 continues to surprise the rest of the world and Young warned that “being complacent is dangerous.” It also highlights the problem of “living with the virus.”
As COVID-19 spreads and continues to mutate, it will eventually cause severe infections in the most vulnerable. The virus will also increase those suffering the burden of the “long-term consequences of infection.”
Although COVID-19 mutates constantly, chronic infections had increased potential to encourage it to better adapt to slip past the human immune system. Experts are worried about chronic infections because the virus is mutating in someone who has already generated immunity. This means the virus “almost has to have mutations that can escape that immunity.”
Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, warned that the new variant was “unusually mutated.” Despite this, he concluded that such extended mutation often came at a price for the virus itself – which means people shouldn’t worry too much about the new COVID-19 strain.
No need for lockdowns despite possible severity of mutant COVID strain
Health experts say there is no reason to worry because data suggests there is no proof that the new variant will take off. But even if it did, it wouldn’t be enough to trigger another round of lockdowns worldwide.
The new virus was submitted to a global COVID-19 genomics database early in July.
Experts think it could be produced by a case of chronic infection. This occurs when one patient, instead of beating the virus after several weeks, suffers an extended infection that can last up to months. (Related: New Arcturus strain of COVID-19 RESISTS antibodies, spreads rapidly across many countries.)
Chronic infections often spread to patients with a compromised immune system, such as people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, which makes them less able to successfully protect themselves against the virus.
Scientists are worried about these infections because they create the perfect conditions for COVID-19 to mutate, which could then allow it to get past the body’s defenses. In theory, this could produce a strain that can easily sneak past the body’s natural immunity or that from COVID-19 vaccines.
Mutations on the spike protein, like those on the newly observed COVID strain, are the ones researchers are worried about. This is because COVID vaccines are based on this portion of the virus.
Young explained that it remains to be seen if the newly discovered strain had any potential to infect others. He added that people shouldn’t panic because the new strain from Indonesia must first beat other variants in circulation, like omicron descendants, to become established.
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Watch Dr. Jane Ruby discussing the MERS COVID scare in the video below.
This video is from the High Hopes channel on Brighteon.com.
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