Next Covid Variant: The coronavirus developed to become more dangerous, according to a recent lab study using samples from an immunocompromised individual over a six-month period. This finding suggests that a new variant could result in severe sickness than the already predominate omicron strain.
An African laboratory in South Africa carried out the study. The investigation employed samples from an HIV-positive person and was carried out by the same lab that will test the omicron strain against vaccinations for the first time in 2021.
The virus initially produced the same degree of cell fusion and death as the omicron BA.1 strain, but as it progressed, those degrees increased to resemble the initial coronavirus variant discovered in Wuhan, China.
The laboratory study suggests that the disease might keep evolving, and a new version might be more deadly and severe than the comparatively mild omicron strain. The report, however, has not yet undergone peer review and is based only on laboratory analysis of a single person’s samples.
At the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, the study’s principal investigator is Alex Sigal. Sigal and other researchers have previously hypothesised that variants like beta and omicron, which were both first discovered in southern Africa, may have originated among immunosuppressed people like HIV-positive individuals.
They claim that the prolonged time it takes for these people to recover from the illness permits the illness to adapt and improve its ability to evade antibodies.
The analysis “may indicate that SARS-CoV-2 evolution in long-term infection does not have to result in attenuation,” the researchers said in their findings, which were released on 24 November.
“It may indicate that a future variant could be more pathogenic than currently circulating omicron strains,” the analysis said.
According to Christian Drosten, the foremost virologist in Germany, there is also concern that China, where the zero-covid policy has so far prevented transmission, may produce a new variation if illnesses take hold and there is a sharp increase in cases.
The elderly in China do not receive a large percentage of Covid-19 vaccinations, and the government has only used domestically produced vaccines that have not demonstrated superior efficacy to those produced by Pfizer and Moderna.
The virus was initially discovered in late 2019 in the central city of Wuhan, and as of today, the only other significant nation currently attempting to stop its spread is China.
On Monday, the number of new coronavirus infections in the country reached a record-high 40,347, including 36,525 cases with no symptoms. Beijing, the nation’s capital, reported 2,086 new local Covid-19 cases in the 15 hours leading up to 3 p.m. (0700 GMT).