Two mutations of the new coronavirus have taken root in both the United Kingdom and South Africa.
Sweden has suspended flights from the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, the type that is most prevalent in South Africa appears to be more contagious, he writes Watchman.
If we compare our data with those in the UK, this variable appears to be more effective when it comes to person-to-person spread, which is not good. That means we need to get better at stopping it, Richard Lessels, one of the researchers studying the alternative in South Africa, tells the paper.
They are also looking at whether the variant discovered there, 501Y.V2, could re-infect people who already had COVID-19.
Our variant raises a few more questions when it comes to vaccines, says Lisels.
Hit hard in the second wave
The British variant N501Y includes changes to the nail protein that the virus uses to attack cells.
In South Africa, the variant appears to make it easier for the virus to enter cells. About 200 cases have so far been confirmed, and are now spreading from the inland coasts, writes The Guardian.
There are no signs that the new substitute is causing more serious disease, but the concern is that hospitals may become overburdened if it turns out that the new alternative has spread and that the infection is spreading faster. The number of infections in the country has increased rapidly since the beginning of December.
“Preliminary data shows that the virus in the second wave is spreading faster than the first wave,” Salem Abdul said at the South African government’s advisory committee on Covid-19.
Sweden does not have direct flights from South Africa.