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A new variant of Covid-19 has been discovered by researchers at the University of Edinburgh. It would be similar to the South African and Brazilian variants, and therefore more resistant to current vaccines. Five cases have already appeared in France.

In a study published on February 15, researchers at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, announced that they had discovered a new variant of Covid-19. Comparable to the Brazilian and South African variants, it would therefore be less sensitive to currently available vaccines. 142 cases of this “Scottish variant” have so far been detected worldwide, including 5 in France.

According to Public Health England, characteristic mutations of this new variant include “the E484K mutation of the Spike protein, which is present on a number of other variants of concern”, such as the South African variant. This mutation of the Spike protein (the “spines” visible on the surface of the coronavirus) would facilitate the entry of the virus into the cells and limit the effectiveness of the antibodies as recalled. West France, which could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines currently administered around the world.

“We do not yet know to what extent this [nouveau] variant will spread, but if it does, it can be assumed that immunity to any previous infection will be blunted, ”explained Simon Clarke, associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading in the United States. Guardian.

This is the natural functioning of this type of virus […] if a very different variant appears, we can always change the vaccine formula

Asked about RT France, the infectious disease expert Bahrat Pankhania, however, relativized the potential gravity of the situation: “we suspect that variants will appear, it is the natural functioning of this type of virus”, He said before recalling that, despite these variants, most vaccines remain effective and protect against serious forms of the disease. “If a very different variant appears, then we can always change the formula of the vaccine”, in order to make it effective against that specific variant, the expert said.

In addition, the health authorities of the United Kingdom have always indicated according to West France that “there is currently no evidence that these mutations are at the origin of more serious diseases or greater transmissibility”.

Called “B.1.525”, this variant whose origin is not yet known was identified for the first time on December 15, 2020 in the United Kingdom. It is now present in at least 13 countries: United Kingdom (44 cases), Denmark (35), Nigeria (29), United States (12), Canada (5), France (5), Ghana (4), Australia (2), Jordan (2), Singapore (1), Finland (1), Belgium (1) and Spain (1).


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