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Covid: New B.1.529 Variant of 'Significant Concern', It Could be Easily Transmissible

One of the UK’s most highly regarded microbiologists, whose laboratory at Cambridge University is at the forefront of the UK’s research into Covid-19, says the new variant of Covid-19 discovered in South Africa, B.1.1.529, is of “significant concern to the scientific community”. Prof. Ravindra Gupta, Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Diseases, says this is because the mutations on this variant are more numerous than other variants and, therefore, it’s likely to be both more transmissible than earlier variants, including Delta, and also more resistant to vaccines.

In an 11-minute interview to Karan Thapar for The Wire, Prof. Gupta said B.1.1.529 has 50 mutations in all, with 30 in the spike protein, which is the area most vaccines target and also the route the virus uses to enter the body’s cells. This could make B.1.1.529 more resistant to known vaccines (which are anyway developed on the Wuhan variant) than other variants including Delta.

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