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Dominant coronavirus mutant has ghost of pandemic past – why that’s bad for omicron survivors – Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon 2022-05-26 20:11:28 –

(AP) – The currently predominant coronavirus variant in the United States is a member of the Omicron family, but scientists say it is a more serious disease because it spreads faster than its predecessor, Omicron, and is better at evading immunity. Says it can cause.

why? It is the dominant variant of the country in the middle of last year as it combines the characteristics of both Omicron and Delta.

A genetic feature reminiscent of the pandemic’s past, known as the “delta mutation,” states that the virus “seems to be able to escape existing immunity from vaccination and previous infections, especially when infected with Omicron waves.” The doctor said. .. Wesley Long, a Houston Methodist pathologist in Texas. That’s because the original Omicron strain that swept the world was free of mutations.

Omicron’s “subvariant” (known as BA.2.12.1, involved in 58% of US COVID-19 cases last week) that has become established in the United States is not the only infection affected by the delta mutation. .. Genetic alterations are also present in the relatives of Omicron, who dominate together in South Africa, known as BA.4 and BA.5. They have exactly the same mutations as Delta, but BA.2.12.1 has almost the same.

This genetic change is bad news for those who have captured the original Omicron and thought it was unlikely that they would soon be infected with COVID-19 again. Most people aren’t sure which variant caused the disease, but the original Omicron caused a huge wave of cases from late last year to early this year.

For a long time, laboratory data suggest that previous infections with the original Omicron are less protective against reinfection with new mutants, but mutants are specific to everyone and the situation. Even so, there is no real risk of reinfection.

But with a twist, people who were previously ill with Delta may have some additional armor to get rid of the new mutants. A study Released prior to review by other scientists by researchers at Ohio State University, COVID patients undergoing intensive treatment for delta infections neutralize newer variants than those who captured the original Omicron. We have discovered that it induces excellent antibodies to the disease.

“In Ohio, research author Shan Lu Liu, who co-directs the virus and new pathogen program in Ohio, said,” In Ohio, Ohio, Omicron-infected antibodies are resistant to submutants compared to Delta. Does not seem to be adequately defending. “

However, Liu said the level of protection provided by the Delta infection depends in part on when someone was ill. That is because the immune system weakens over time.

People who became ill with Delta should not consider themselves vulnerable to new subvariants, especially if they are not vaccinated, Long said. “Not everyone says it’s safe.”

One bright spot? Booster shots can provide strong protection against new mutants, Liu said. In general, vaccines and previous infections can protect people from the worst consequences of COVID-19. At this point, scientists say it’s too early to know if the establishment of new mutants in the United States will significantly increase new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Scientists are still trying to figure out how powerful these new variants are. Long said he had never seen anything to answer that question, but Liu said the new data indicate a more serious illness. Liu said the subvariants have properties that suggest that they spread more efficiently between cells.

The virus “hides inside the cell and spreads through cell-to-cell contact,” Liu said. “It’s even scarier because the virus doesn’t come out because the antibody works.”

Dr. Eric Topol, head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said the new mutant certainly doesn’t appear to be less toxic than previous versions of Omicron, and whether it’s more toxic “will be revealed in the coming months.” Said.

In the meantime, scientists expect the latest powerful mutants to spread rapidly as they are more contagious than their predecessors.

Although it is difficult to track all cases of COVID in the United States on home tests, data from Johns Hopkins University show that cases average close to 107,000 per day, up from about 87,000 two weeks ago. .. In addition, the number of new hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients has been on the rise since mid-April. according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I hope we don’t see the increase in hospitalizations we saw in the previous wave,” Long said. “But with COVID, whenever many people are infected, it’s just a number game. Some of them will get worse. Some of them need hospitalization. Unfortunately, some of them will die. “

Dominant coronavirus mutant has ghost of pandemic past – why that’s bad for omicron survivors Source link Dominant coronavirus mutant has ghost of pandemic past – why that’s bad for omicron survivors

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