Why is South India famous

Variant already proven in Europe : New mutant in India in 70 percent of the cases - this is known from B.1.617

On Thursday, the Indian health authorities reported over 314,000 new infections with the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus. In no other country in the world is the number of infections currently increasing so rapidly. Variant B.1.617 is currently found in almost 70 percent of the virus samples that are genetically decoded.

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It was first registered in India, but has since reached over 20 other countries and, in March, also reached Germany.

So far, B.1.617 has not been classified as worrying, but the variant is under observation. There are a number of unanswered questions: whether it is more easily transferable or causes more severe courses of Covid-19.

Two of the genetic changes in B.1.617 suggest that it may be less sensitive to antibodies. This means that the variant could infect people who have recovered from Covid-19 or who have been vaccinated with previous vaccines, and treatment with artificially produced therapeutic antibodies could be less effective.

Two mutations are responsible, which slightly change the structure of the prickly protein with which the virus docks on human cells. Antibodies that were formed against the original variant can bind more poorly to the changed form.

[More on the subject: fear of corona mutants - what you need to know now about the new virus variants]

Similar changes are already known from the South African and Brazilian variants B.1.351 and P.1. B.1.617, like these variants, could not be neutralized as well by antibodies.

Another mutation has already been found in the British variant B.1.1.7. It could affect how the viruses attach to cells. However, more research is needed into their effects.

Naming the variants after the countries in which they were first registered is common, but not scientifically justified. The country in which they originated can hardly be traced and is not decisive for their further distribution.

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