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South African variant

(18 Posts)
MawBe Mon 04-Jan-21 22:36:05

Just when we thought it was safe to at least think about coming out of the water perhaps by the Spring......
THE Covid variant circulating in South Africa could be resistant to the vaccine, a leading expert has suggested, but cautioned it could take just six weeks to develop a new jab if needed.

Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford, said his “gut feeling” was that the vaccines already on stream would be effective against the new UK strain first identified in Kent

But he said: “I don’t know about the South African strain, I think that’s a big question mark

South Africans were placed on lockdown last week after Cyril Ramaphosa, their president, said that a new variant – 501.V2 – seemed “more contagious” than the virus from the first wave

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said on Dec 23 that two cases of the South African strain had been identified in the UK. The cases and their contacts were quarantined and the Government placed strict restrictions on travel from South Africa

Anyone who had been in contact with someone who had been in the country within the last two weeks was told they must quarantine

Sir John told Times Radio he was more concerned about this strain than the UK one “by some margin”. “The mutations associated with the South African form are really pretty substantial changes in the structure of the protein,” he said. He added that the strain had mutated in the part of the virus that allows antibodies to stick to it

Mamardoit Tue 05-Jan-21 05:00:41

Terrifying isn't it. I can cope with the thought of it taking me and DH but really am worried about a strain of this killing younger adults or children.

Why is anyone being allowed to travel anywhere. No one needs to go abroad and even local travel needs to be restricted.

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 05-Jan-21 07:19:30

Why on earth don’t we close the borders no point being an ‘island Sovereign State’ if we don’t use it.

I’m more worried out our GCs now than I have been throughout all of this, as they both have underlying health conditions, as have my ACs. I worry about DH and myself of course but we can control what we do as we are able to stay at home.

Lucca Tue 05-Jan-21 08:08:16

Agree. Time to be a bit tougher and close the borders. Stop being a crowd pleaser.

MamaCaz Tue 05-Jan-21 08:47:57

When you say "close the borders", I presume you mean to passenger travel, and not to all freight too?
There would be total chaos (food shortages etc.) within days if there was a blanket closure of borders that included the latter.

I agree with a ban on passenger travel in and out of the country - though I imagine it would have to be very long-term if it was to do any more than just delay the inevitable. This virus isn't going away anytime soon, and any such bans would have to stay in place until the virus was beaten or under control world-wide, if they were to achieve anything, wouldn't they?

I can only see short-term border closures being worth doing when a new, potentially more dangerous strain of the virus is detected, to help contain it's spread while the scientists have time to assess its risk and decide what, if any, longer-term measures need to be taken.
But I am no expert. Those are just my musings as a layperson.

MamaCaz Tue 05-Jan-21 08:48:45

Apostrophe alert!

Whitewavemark2 Tue 05-Jan-21 08:57:39

We will know pretty soon as they can model the virus to the vaccine to see if the vaccine will be effective.

They may have already done do?

Does anyone know?

Tweedle24 Tue 05-Jan-21 09:05:48

I have already commented about this on another site.

I heard a South African epidemiologist on the radio this morning talking about this strain. There is concern that the vaccines are not effective on this mutation.
Very worrying.

Tweedle24 Tue 05-Jan-21 09:07:38

Sorry! Meant to add that the reason is that the current vaccines are all aimed at a certain spike in the virus which is one of the things that has changed during the mutation.

Alegrias1 Tue 05-Jan-21 09:36:30

I did not hear the epidemiologist on the radio Tweedle24 but I heard Professor (Mahdi (sp?) on the news last night talking about it. No-one with any medical or epidemiological knowledge has ever said that the vaccines will be ineffective against the SA strain, but that is what is being reported by the press in their usual manner of trying to make a bad news story out of everything.

The new strain might be more resistant to the vaccine but the expectation is that the vaccine is so effective that we have some "room" to play with. Here is a link to some comments on this by people who know what they are talking about, without the spin put on it by the press. The press really need to take a look at themselves and how they are reporting all this.

With respect to closing the borders, we've already stopped flights from South Africa. Closing the borders completely is impossible. We'd starve.

lemongrove Tue 05-Jan-21 10:07:39

Good post Alegrias
The last thing we need is for panic, and although the SA mutation sounds worrying, it’s hopeful that we can keep it out of the UK.The two SA visitors here were quarantined.

Mamardoit Tue 05-Jan-21 10:10:37

I'm sure when they say close the boarders not people mean for holiday makers. Of course freight traffic is different.

No one needs to go abroad for a holiday.

Mamardoit Tue 05-Jan-21 10:11:05

most people

Callistemon Tue 05-Jan-21 10:19:13

I did not hear the epidemiologist on the radio Tweedle24 but I heard Professor (Mahdi (sp?) on the news last night talking about it. No-one with any medical or epidemiological knowledge has ever said that the vaccines will be ineffective against the SA strain, but that is what is being reported by the press in their usual manner of trying to make a bad news story out of everything.

He will certainly know what he is talking about.

The name sounded familiar (my DN has mentioned him) and so I looked him up.

Hetty58 Tue 05-Jan-21 10:22:53

Stopping travel from SA is not very effective when people travel all over the world. Why is the SA variant now suddenly in the news - as if it's a 'new' thing? It's been around for a while.

David0205 Tue 05-Jan-21 10:31:11

We simply don’t know which if any vaccine will be effective against any new variant of Corona Virus. That why there has never been a cure for the Common Cold which is also a Corona virus because it mutates so quickly.

When enough immunity is established either through vaccination, or natural exposure the virus will die - until another virulent strain appears

Alegrias1 Tue 05-Jan-21 13:18:58

Sorry David0205 but a lot of your post is inaccurate. There's never been a cure for the common cold because it has never been a necessity to find one, either economically or for purposes of public health. Many different viruses cause the common cold, including rhinoviruses, adenoviruses and, of course, coronaviruses. But the absence of a vaccine for the common cold is not because of its rate of mutation. Its because its not been worth developing one.

However I think the scientists who developed the vaccines we already have for Covid have a pretty good idea now how to develop vaccines for all sorts of mutations of the virus.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 05-Jan-21 13:24:54

DD said that if it is simply (?) a question of tweaking the vaccine to a spike it is easily doable. However she then went on to talk about folds and other things that lost me.

But the upshot is that it seems that at the moment the vaccine producers can cope.