After India, will the next lethal wave of the emerging corona virus “Covid-19” be in Africa? Why? How are the mutated strains classified? How many doses of vaccines have been given globally so far?
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The number of confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus worldwide has reached 156.9 million, and the number of deaths is 3.27 million.
We start with Africa, where the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned today, Saturday, that the continent could witness a wave of infections from the Corona virus similar to the record wave currently sweeping India.
Dr. John Nkengasung, Director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is affiliated with the African Union, said that at a time when the continent has witnessed fewer injuries and deaths compared to Europe and other regions, where the pandemic enters a second year, the presence of mutated strains and low rates of vaccination can Changes this.
Nkengasung was speaking during a joint meeting of African Union health ministers via cyberspace.
In the year in which the first cases of Coronavirus were recorded in Africa, 52 out of 54 countries witnessed a second wave of infections, and the second was more severe than the first in most cases. And 13 countries witnessed a third wave of injuries.
Epidemiologists fear that an upward trend in infections in some regions could bring another climax. Last month, Central Africa witnessed an increase of 64% in injuries, the southern part witnessed an increase of 4% and North Africa 0.2%.
Nkengasung pointed to the similarities with India, where the number of daily deaths had decreased from 1,000 per day in September 2020 to 150 in March 2021, rising to current records of about 3,700 deaths per day.
West Africa witnessed a 10% decrease in daily injuries, while East Africa recorded a 16% decrease, despite suffering a third wave.
Officials praised the countries’ commitment to measures such as wearing masks and social distancing rules.
The continental vaccine platform has secured 220 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and most African countries have signed the COVAX initiative to provide vaccines to poor countries, but the slow and uneven distribution of doses poses a threat to increased infections. .
Only 1.14% of Africa’s population has received the vaccination.
Moreover, the presence of new strains can accelerate the spread of the Coronavirus, as some have shown their ability to weaken the effectiveness of antigens and vaccines.
So far, 4 countries from the continent have detected the common strain in India, according to the director of the African Centers for Disease Control.
Africa has recorded more than 4.6 million Covid-19 cases, and more than 123,600 deaths.
4000 deaths for the first time in India
We return to India, where official data today showed that more than 4 thousand deaths related to the emerging corona virus were recorded within one day, and more states have announced closures to contain a deadly second wave of the pandemic in the country.
The Federal Ministry of Health stated that at least 4,187 people died during the past 24 hours, as a result of Corona, bringing the total deaths in the country due to the pandemic to 238,270.
This country recorded 401,78 cases of the virus during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to nearly 22 million. Saturday is the third day in a row that daily Corona injuries exceed 400,000. India was the first country to exceed this number on May 1.
Experts expect the current wave of the pandemic in India to reach its peak in the middle of this month.
How are mutated strains classified?
In an article published in the French newspaper ” Le Monde “, the author, Basma Sikouk, said that the World Health Organization classifies the mutated strains into 3 categories after being monitored in international databases, which include those of the Global Initiative for Avian Influenza Data Exchange:
- Variants of concern linked to the virus strain. They are usually among the most virulent or resistant to diagnostic tests, treatments, or vaccines.
- Variants under surveillance (the strain of interest) whose effect on public health has not yet been established. In contrast, it can be found either in many cases of infection or in the country of its origin.
- Variants under evaluation whose public health implications remain undetermined.
According to the French Public Health Authority, the mutated strains of concern currently in this country are the British, South African and Brazilian mutant strains. Meanwhile, the Indian mutated subspecies is also being monitored.
The British metamorphic subspecies
In December 2020, the United Kingdom reported the presence of this highly pathogenic mutated strain. And it has spread to 139 countries, where it currently accounts for 83% of “Covid-19” cases in France.
In this context, Vincent Marichal, professor of virology at the Sorbonne University, said, “This virus that can easily infect humans tends to reproduce faster, and this is the case of the mutated British strain.”
The British strain contains the N501Y mutation.
This increase is transmissible from more than 43% to more than 90% compared to the original virus due to a mutation in the spike protein. In this context, said Jean-Claude Manujuera, head of the biological emergency response unit at the Pasteur Institute, “The 501 mutation is associated with a greater attachment of the virus to its receptors on the surface of the cells that it wants to infect.”
The author noted that, during its weekly epidemiological report, the World Health Organization confirmed that vaccines are generally effective against the British mutated strain.
South African modified subspecies
According to the Health Organization, the South African strain first appeared in South Africa in late 2020 and has now spread to about 87 countries. Like the British mutant strain, this strain contains the N501Y mutation, which makes it more contagious, as well as the E484K (E484K) mutation, which makes it more resistant to certain vaccines. This could be the cause of infection again. And according to the Scientific Council, these strains are the most “escaped” immunosuppressants.
Brazilian metamorphic subspecies
The Brazilian strain is more contagious because it contains the N501Y mutation, not to mention the E484K (E484K) mutation, which makes it more resistant to certain vaccines.
In this context, the Scientific Council says, in its report issued on April 16, that a large proportion of patients suffering from a severe form of “Covid-19” are under the age of 50 in Brazil.
In contrast, the resistance of this strain to vaccines remains lower than that of the South African strain. The Scientific Council notes that “the effectiveness of vaccines against the mutated Brazilian strain remains guaranteed, but to varying degrees.”
Indian metamorphic subspecies
According to global health data, the Indian mutated strain was first discovered in India in October 2020, where it is currently spread in 17 countries. For its part, the organization confirms that most of the discovered cases originated from India, the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore. On April 29, last April, 3 cases of the mutated Indian strain were discovered in France.
The Indian mutated strain contains 15 mutations, two of which are common in the other mutated strains. Although classified as a controlled mutant, it is somewhat similar to the known strains of concern, even if it does not contain the 501 mutation.
The Scientific Council states that the E484Q mutation is similar to and different from the E484K mutation at the same time. Therefore, we can expect the effectiveness of the vaccine to be guaranteed to varying degrees. However, it is not possible until now to predict the extent of their proliferation capacity or the rate of their immune escape.
The author concluded with what was said by Manujuera from the Pasteur Institute, which emphasized the urgent need for vaccination, especially as “the whole world is in a race against time, as there should be the largest possible number of people who have been vaccinated before new mutated strains emerge.” Therefore, the more the virus spreads, the more it reproduces, which increases the likelihood of strengthening mutations of the virus, and makes the fight against it more fierce.