The so-called alpha variant of the coronavirus, which dominated the spread of infection in Sweden last winter and spring, was more contagious than the original variant – and the delta variant, which now dominates, is more contagious than the alpha variant.
Trinidad and Tobago: Is the virus becoming increasingly contagious?
In order to successfully control the spread of infection, the new variant must be more contagious. This virus mutates all the time. But there is no direction. Mutations happen randomly, but if the chance is tried several times, the probability increases that a variant will only succeed with this. This is evolution. Darwin in a nutshell, says Ono Weingreen, professor of theoretical biology at Linköping University.
Trinidad and Tobago: Could the virus suddenly become 10 times more deadly?
– No, this probability is probably not high. I don’t think the virus itself would be completely different. But if the virus becomes more contagious, it often means that the amounts of virus have become larger, and if you have more viruses, you often get sicker. This way, it can be more dangerous.
However, he does not consider it impossible for a variant on which vaccinations do not depend.
We have never had such a wide and even spread of infection worldwide before, as we have now, at the same time that so many are vaccinated. It’s a very special situation, says Ono Weinergren.
Problems arise when many vaccinated people experience a high prevalence of infection, which is prompted by their lack of vaccination. The more such encounters occur, the more likely it is that a variant will appear so that the vaccines do not bite.
– I haven’t counted on it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we’d be there in a year or so. Because we’ve never had this big meeting before, says Ono Weinergren.
Early in the pandemic, Ono Weinergren calculated that between 10,000 and 20,000 Swedes would die as a result of the virus. So far, 14,692 people have died of COVID-19 in Sweden, according to statistics from the Swedish Public Health Agency.
Do not worry
What worries researchers most is the genetic changes that occur in the virus called the nail protein, which the virus uses to bind to and enter our cells.
In order to track the variables of most concern, the European Infection Control Agency (ECDC) has prepared four different lists in which the authority lists the variables of concern, the variables of interest and the control variables.) in addition to the variables that were, but are no longer significant (de-escalation variables).
In the most worrisome list of them all (variables of concern) there are currently five variants: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta plus an unnamed variant of alpha. There are six variants in the interest list, and up to 24 variants in the watchlist.
My variant was recently rewritten. It contains five nail protein mutations, but so far it’s only on my list of interests. Slightly less than 20 cases of this type have been detected in Sweden, but this variant is not a major concern for the Swedish Public Health Agency at the moment.
The concern is that there is no spread of infection at all. We are monitoring all variables that the WHO highlights as being of particular interest. Karin Tegmark Wiesel, chief of department at the Swedish Public Health Agency, said recently that there is no concern about this particular variant (my).
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