Over 450 cases of the South Africa coronavirus variant 501Y.V2 have been diagnosed in Israel so far, and health professionals estimate that dozens more are being infected each day.
The Israeli Health Ministry’s committees on vaccinations and the pandemic said two weeks ago that the B.1.351 or 501Y.V2 variant was spreading beyond control.
Sixteen cases of a new variant, VUI-202102/04 (lineage B.1.1.318), have been identified in the UK. The variant has been designated a Variant Under Investigation (VUI) by Public Health England (PHE).
Cases of this variant, understood to have originated in the UK, were first identified on 15 February through genomic horizon scanning. All individuals who tested positive and their contacts have been traced and advised to isolate.
Following assessments, the variant was designated a VUI on 24 February. It contains the E484K mutation, which is also found in 2 existing VUIs present in the UK, but does not feature the N501Y mutation, present in all variants of concern (VOCs).
The addition of this variant as a VUI means there are now a total of 4 VUIs and 4 VOCs currently being tracked in the UK.
A new study has shown people previously infected by the Covid-19 variant 501Y.V2, originally identified in South Africa, have better immunity against other coronavirus mutations, experts said Wednesday.
The findings, from preliminary research by the team of South African scientists who identified the variant dubbed 501Y.V2, raise hopes that vaccines modelled on the strain could protect against future mutations.
Identified late last year, the variant fuelled South Africa’s second wave of infection and delayed the start of vaccinations in February.
Scientists said Wednesday plasma collected from people infected with the variant had “good neutralising activity”, including against “first wave” viruses and potentially other variants of concern.
After the antibodies were tested against the original strain and another identified in Brazil, “results are showing a clear sense of direction”, virologist Tulio de Oliveira said in a video conference.
Medrxiv preprint “Escape of SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 from neutralization by convalescent plasma”
The school had to close last Friday, just under a week after it opened. The boy’s classmates and teachers and their families are affected by the quarantine. Two kindergarten groups also had to be isolated as a precaution because a sibling of the student was being looked after there. Where the boy was infected is unclear, said a community spokeswoman.
Because the boy’s teacher also tested positive , their contacts and their families also had to be in quarantine. However, it is still unclear whether the infection is a virus mutation.
A multivariant of the British, South African, and Brazilian corona variant has been detected in a sample taken from a person who came to Trondheim from abroad.
There has been no further spread, municipal chief medical officer Tove Røsstad told newspaper Nidaros.
“We were informed of this after the person in question had finished his isolation period. It was a person who came from abroad and who tested positive at the border,” Røsstad noted.
According to Røsstad, the virus sample had some elements from the Brazilian variant, from the British variant, and the South African variant.
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine had a 72 percent overall efficacy rate in the United States and 64 percent in South Africa, where a highly contagious variant emerged in the fall and is now driving most cases. The efficacy in South Africa was seven percentage points higher than earlier data released by the company.
The vaccine also showed 86 percent efficacy against severe forms of Covid-19 in the United States, and 82 percent against severe disease in South Africa. That means that a vaccinated person has a far lower risk of being hospitalized or dying from Covid-19.
The presence of variants in Moselle, France, continues to worry. After his visit last Thursday, Olivier Véran indicated this Tuesday afternoon, during questions to the government at the National Assembly that “more than a third of the cases in circulation are of South African origin”. The department is the “only place in the territory “where such a rate is observed,” said the minister.
According to Isabelle Lux, assistant to the town hall of Metz, contacted by CheckNews “more than 40% of the variants are South African or Brazilian on all the positive results for Sars-Cov-2 in Moselle between the end of the last week and the start of this week”.
Note that the incidence rate of the Moselle has climbed since the end of January to exceed the national average. Between February 6 and 12, it was 281 per 100,000 inhabitants against 189 on average in France.
Preliminary reports from South Africa suggest people with prior Covid infection could be reinfected with a new, more infectious variant of the virus, the World Health Organization said.
Initial findings also show Covid vaccines may be less effective in protecting against new strains of the virus, but vaccination may reduce the severity of infection, WHO said.
Vaccination may also decrease the spread of new Covid variants, according to WHO.
Here, we first investigated cross-species receptor usage of multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants that emerged during the pandemic. We found that, in contrast to an early isolate WHU01, the circulating variants B.1.1.7/501Y.V1, B.1.351/501Y.V2, and P.1/501Y.V3 were able to use rat and mouse Ace2 orthologs as entry receptors, suggesting that rats and mice might be able to harbor and spread these variants.
Fauci: “When we were communicating with our many scientific and public health colleagues in South Africa, they were telling us over the phone ‘something strange is going on right now, we have people who were infected several months ago, who now with this new strain are getting reinfected, which is telling you that the immune response induced to the first infection wasn’t good enough to prevent the second infection”
An early analysis in Britain found that the Novavax vaccine had an efficacy rate of nearly 90 percent. But in a small South Africa trial, the efficacy rate dropped to just under 50 percent.