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No new corona variant reported in China

The fact that the big corona wave in China after the strictest quarantine rules were lifted from the beginning of December 2022 may lead to the emergence of virus variants that are dangerous for other countries seems unfounded for now.

Corona infections in China reach their peak

Concerns about new corona variants from China

A recent study in Beijing in the medical journal The Lancet showed no new mutations in SARS-CoV-2.

No new coronavirus variant reported in China

“Genomic analysis of 413 new Covid-19 infections in Beijing since China lifted its strictest pandemic regulations shows that they are all caused by previously known strains. Between November 14 and December 20, 2022, it caused more than 90 percent of local Infections in Beijing.” . micron subvariants BA.5.2 or BFD.7″ wrote the world-renowned medical journal, which published the scientific study.

China ends most restrictive corona measures in December

After nearly three years of zero Covid policy, including extreme restrictions for 1.4 billion people, China lifted the most restrictive measures on December 7 last year. The result – mainly due to the incomplete vaccination strategy in previous pandemic years – was a rapidly increasing number of cases.

Years of genome studies on circulating corona strains

George Gao of the Microbiology Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues have been conducting genome studies on circulating SARS-CoV-2 strains for years. “Of course, given the impact of virus variants on the course of the pandemic, it is important to investigate whether new mutations have emerged since recent changes in China’s strategies to prevent new infections and control disease,” the scientist said.

More infections lead to more gene mutations

Due to evolutionary biology, more infection with a pathogen “automatically” leads to more gene mutations. This can also lead to the emergence of new virus strains that evade natural immune protection or are caused by vaccination. In principle, resistance to existing antiviral drugs (Paxlovid, Molnupiravir, Remdesivir) will also be possible. “Passive vaccination” with certain monoclonal antibodies against individual virus variants has repeatedly been rendered ineffective during the Covid 19 outbreak due to new strains of pathogens.

Corona diseases increased in China in November 2022

Chinese scientists therefore randomly selected 413 new virus samples from a total of 2,881 virus samples in the study and decoded their genetic material. This started on November 14, 2022, when the number of cases in Beijing skyrocketed, and lasted until December 20 last year. 350 of the virus samples came from the Beijing region and 63 from abroad. “After November 14, 2022, the dominant virus strain was BF.7, accounting for 75.7 percent of local infections. Another omicron subvariable, BA.5.2, was responsible for 16.3 percent,” the Lancet said.

Virologist: “This data from China was urgently needed”

South African virologists Wolfgang Preiser and Tongai Maponga, from the University of Stellenbosch, reassured the results: “These data from China were urgently needed for new variants. The increase in morbidity is most likely due to the rapid cessation of previously effective control measures.” However, an uncertainty remains: in a large country with a large population like China, it is not so easy to draw conclusions about the state as a whole from a region. In any case, the situation should be further monitored.


Source: Vienna


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