Covid-19: in New York, a new variant raises the concern of the authorities

The appearance of new variants of the coronavirus is not surprising, but some of them can complicate the fight against the epidemic. After the rapid spread of the British variant, then the appearance of the South African, the Brazilian and a California variant, a new variation of Sars-CoV-2 would have been detected in New York. Its name: B.1.526.

Two studies published last week, but not yet peer-reviewed, thus highlight the detection of two mutations that are repeated in the New York region: E484K, which has already been observed on the Brazilian and southern variants. -africain, and S477N, which may be able to alter the way the virus attaches to human cells.

Today, this variant represents about 27% of the viral sequences identified in New York, according to American researchers. That is an increase of 12% in two weeks. “We have detected cases in Westchester, in the Bronx and Queens, in lower Manhattan and in Brooklyn. So it seems to be widespread, it is not just a cluster,” explains the New York Times Dr David Ho, Director of the Aaron Diamond Center for AIDS Research at Columbia University and Co-Director from one of the two studies.

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“When several mutations occur on the RNA of the virus, we speak of a variant, explains the Parisian Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute for Global Health and professor at the Faculty of Medicine in Geneva. N501Y.V1 (called the British variant) has nearly twenty, 501.V2 (South African) 23 “. At the moment, it is not known how many mutations are in B.1.526.

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Vaccine resistant?

It would also be more resistant to the antibodies developed against the virus. “Like the South African variant, it seems to bypass the antibodies that we produce to protect us from the virus,” notes epidemiologist Philippe Amouyel, interviewed by BFMTV.

This variant could complicate vaccination campaigns around the world, as scientists fear that it has developed better resistance to vaccines developed to combat the original strain of the virus. Studies have yet to determine precisely the consequences of this mutation.

Last week, the country passed half a million deaths from the coronavirus, and still remains the one with the highest number of deaths. However, an improvement is starting to emerge with epidemic indicators which have started to fall again over the last two weeks, with a 30% drop in the number of cases but also in hospitalizations, as well as a 25% decrease in the number of cases. death, underlines BFMTV. Hoping that this variant does not worsen the situation.



Bruno Tertrais, geopolitical analysis specialist, deputy director of the Foundation for strategic research and senior fellow at the Institut Montaigne.By Bruno Tertrais

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