More deadly and contagious: American scientists have reported a new mutation COVID-19

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More deadly and contagious: American scientists have reported a new mutation COVID-19

New York variant of coronavirus “iota” is almost twice as deadly as Wuhan

The iota variant of the coronavirus detected in New York is in some cases 82% more fatal than the original variant from Wuhan. A preprint with preliminary results of the study was published by scientists from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the School of Public Health. Meilman at Columbia University.

The iota variant (also referred to as B.1.526) was discovered in the United States in November 2020. The World Health Organization classifies it as of interest for observation. For their studies, American scientists used nine cases of the spread of the virus in New York to assess the contagiousness (infectivity) and lethality of the mutation.

From the preprint, it follows that the rate of spread of coronavirus in the area of the city where the iota variant was found was significantly higher than in other areas of New York. Over time, it only increased – the contagiousness of the mutation was 15-25% higher than that of the previously identified variants of the coronavirus. Scientists believe that the iota variant can overcome immunity in people who have previously had COVID-19 in 10% of cases.

The researchers report that they also found a higher IFR (infection fatality ratio) in the new variant. Among patients aged 45-64 years, mortality increased by 46%, among patients aged 65-74 years – by 82%. People over the age of 75 died from the iota variant 62% more often than from previous mutations of the coronavirus.

The authors of the preprint warn that immune escape (the ability to overcome the immunity developed to the coronavirus, including resistance to antibodies) of the iota variant and other mutations can neutralize previous medical advances and, in general, increase mortality from COVID-19. In this regard, scientists from the United States remind that timely monitoring of coronavirus mutations is critical in the fight against the pandemic.

According to the latest WHO data, 4.3 million people died from coronavirus in the world with 203.3 million infected, the mortality rate of the virus is about 2.11%. Thus, the lethality of the iota variant, described by scientists from the United States, can reach 4% in some cases. Even at the beginning of the pandemic, WHO compared the parameters of coronavirus and influenza, reporting that ordinary seasonal flu causes estimates in less than 1% of cases.

At the end of July, the UK Government Emergency Advisers Group (SAGE) presented several scenarios for the development of a pandemic. One of them involves the emergence of mutations SARS-CoV-2, whose lethality can reach rates similar to other zoonotic viruses. For example, with the MERS-CoV virus, which caused the outbreak of SARS in 2012: about 35% of those infected died from it.

Russian virologists reacted ambiguously to the predictions of the British. Doctor of Biological Sciences Alexei Agranovsky noted that even if such a scenario comes true, the more deadly variants of the coronavirus are unlikely to become dominant, since they will lose in infectiousness to other mutations of the coronavirus.

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