The B.1.1.529 variant has 32 mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that most vaccines use to prime the immune system against Covid. Mutations in the spike protein can affect the virus’s ability to infect cells and spread, but also make it harder for immune cells to attack the pathogen, the message reads.
Dr. Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, believes that such characteristics of the virus and its danger could be a cause for serious concern among scientists.
However, Peacock does not rule out that this version of Covid-19 may be just a "strange cluster", which is not very transferable.
Only 10 cases in three countries were confirmed by genomic sequencing. However, some researchers believe that a number of mutations contained in this strain may help it to avoid the effects of immunity.
This variant was first discovered in Botswana, where three cases have been sequenced so far. Six more infections have been confirmed in South Africa and one in Hong Kong in a tourist returning from South Africa.
According to the University of East Anglia (London Zoological Society), a new species of coronavirus was discovered in bats in Britain.
In October, British doctors observed a growing incidence of the new kind of coronavirus, the AY.4.2 variant. It is also known as Delta Plus mutation.