Turkish experts warn of mutated viral strains

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ANKARA

Turkish experts have warned of three new strains of coronavirus from England, South Africa and Brazil that are now threatening the world due to its high transmission rate.

A team of top medical experts in Turkey carried out a detailed assessment of the mutations and concluded that all three variants are likely to spread across the world in a short period of time.

The British variant, known in medical circles as the “variant of concern” was first detected in the second half of September last year.

It quickly spread to southern England and became the dominant virus, especially in December, despite strict measures in place.

In addition, the death rate of the mutated virus is higher. Studies have shown that it affects all age groups and that its response to the vaccine is poor.

The increase in the number of cases has put pressure on the healthcare system, leading to an increase in the number of critically ill patients and deaths.

The mutated virus, which has spread to many countries, has increased its share in intra-community transmission, notably in Ireland and Portugal, as well as in Switzerland and Denmark.

It is feared that the variant virus will become the dominant strain in mid-February. In Turkey, there are currently 128 cases – including 114 in the UK – of the new strain.

South Africa

According to the assessment, the second variant was detected during the second wave in South Africa in December 2020.

The first studies have shown that this variant can be resistant to neutralization by natural infection and post-vaccination antibodies.

The contagiousness of this variant, now dominant in South Africa, has increased, but it has not yet been determined whether it causes a change in the course of the disease.

This variant, observed in “travel-related cases”, has been detected in 31 countries to date. Some of these have led to clusters of cases with no travel history, particularly in England, France and Israel.

Brazilian variant seen in Japan and South Korea

The Brazilian variant coded “P1” is common in the state of Amazonas.

According to the assessment, herd immunity has been achieved for COVID-19 due to widespread infection in this region, but a sudden increase in cases and re-infections has become a cause for concern.

Its ability to re-infect people who have already recovered from COVID-19 has intrigued doctors.

The effects of the Brazilian variant on disease course and death rates have not yet been determined. It has also been detected in Japan and South Korea in people returning from Brazil.

* Written by Handan Kazanci

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