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What is a beta version?This is what we have ever known

At Segurde Carafel Beach in Spain, where beta cases are on the rise, people enjoy the sun and warm weather.

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While the world is busy working on the Covid-19 wave caused by the highly infectious delta mutant, there is growing concern in parts of Europe about the beta mutant found in South Africa.

Last week, the British government announced that travelers from France to the United Kingdom must be quarantined even if they are fully vaccinated. That was because he was concerned about “the persistent existence of beta cases in France.”

France defended its case record, noting that most of the beta cases were in the overseas territories of La Reunion and Mayotte, which are located in the Indian Ocean rather than in mainland France.

On Tuesday, France’s European Minister Catherine Beaune described Britain’s actions as “excessive,” and on Monday, France’s British ambassador, Catherine Colonna, showed data showing a decline in beta cases. Was quoted.

There has long been concern that the Covid vaccine, developed last year, may not be very effective against beta mutants and may evade antibody drugs.

So does the UK government have the right to worry? CNBC has more details on what we know about beta.

What is a beta version?

Like all viruses, the coronavirus has been mutated many times since its emergence in China in late 2019, but some mutations are far more important than other viruses and are the former predominant strains. There are also alternatives to.

For example, the alpha variant, first discovered in Kent, England, gained global dominance earlier this year before being robbed by the first detected delta variant in India.

Unlike other “variant of concern”, beta mutants emerged at about the same time as alpha, but were similarly unable to take off, confined to South Africa and surrounding countries, and were detected last fall. It was.

Nevertheless, there are cases detected all over the world. The latest World Health Organization weekly report on Tuesday showed that beta was detected in 130 countries and seven new countries last week.

Why are you worried about it?

This variant, also widely known as B.1.351, has some important mutations in the viral spike proteins (E484K, K417N, N501Y), which not only makes it more susceptible to infecting people, but also. Treatment can be difficult. Prevent with Covid vaccine.

WHO states that beta mutants are associated with increased infectivity, increased risk of in-hospital mortality, and evidence that they can neutralize antibodies to Covid.

In its latest weekly report, WHO states: Canadian study published in July However, no peer review has analyzed data from more than 200,000 Covid-19 cases. The risks associated with mutant strains containing the N501Y mutant (ie, alpha, beta, gamma mutants) compared to non-mutant strains of Covid are important. The risk of hospitalization, intensive care unit admission and death is much higher.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also classifies beta as a variant of concern, stating that it is associated with an increase in infection rates of about 50%. According to the CDC, lab studies suggest that certain monoclonal antibody treatments may be less effective in treating cases of Covid caused by the following mutations: “A specific substitution or combination of substitutions in a peplomer.” They include the combination of K417N, E484K, and N501Y substitutions found in beta variants.

Is the vaccine effective against it?

The Covid vaccine is currently available and is mainly used in the West. Modana, PfizerBioNTech And AstraZeneca-The University of Oxford is all highly effective in preventing severe Covid infections caused by a small number of concerned mutants, including beta, and has been proven in studies that reduce hospitalization and mortality.

However, WHO said Tuesday that “protection against severe illness is maintained” but “protection against symptomatic illnesses and infections may be reduced” for beta variants.

Lawrence Young, a virologist and professor of molecular oncology at the Warwick Medical College at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, told CNBC on Wednesday: For quite a long time. “

“We know that we have a high ability to resist vaccines, especially all the data from South Africa, which raises concerns about vaccines. [the beta variant] Ability to avoid vaccination in populations that are only partially or unvaccinated. “

WHO said two recent studies in the United States and Qatar provided further evidence of solid performance of mRNA vaccines against alpha and beta variants (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines).

In the first, yet unpeer-reviewed US study, the overall vaccine efficacy of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after two doses to prevent hospitalization when tested against all variants was 86.9. It turned out to be%. In the study data, mutants were the most common type, accounting for 59.7% of the sequenced viruses.

Second study, Published in Nature Medicine Journal on July 9th from QatarThe effectiveness of Moderna against infection from beta variants was found to be 61.3% after the first dose and 96.4% after the second dose. Efficacy against severe, serious, or fatal Covid disease from Covid infection, primarily alpha and beta mutants, was 81.6% and 95.7% after the first and second doses, respectively.

where is it?

WHO map showing the worldwide epidemic of variants

World Health Organization

In South Africa, mutations accounted for 5.3% of sequenced virus samples. Gisaid said sampling and reporting biases can distort data and does not represent an exact epidemic of Covid variants.

So does the UK have the right to ask arrivals from France to quarantine? Young is not convinced, and the move is due to “panic” rather than reason.

“Looking at beta infection rates across Europe, Spain has a much higher rate. Recent data show that Spain has more than 20% of positive cases, compared to about 3.8% in France,” he said. Said.

“There are many contradictions, and I dare to say” knee cramps. ” I don’t know why France was chosen this way. “

What is a beta version?This is what we have ever known

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