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The world froze in anticipation of a new strain of coronavirus from Japan



The world froze in anticipation of a new strain of coronavirus from Japan

How does it differ from those already identified

New strains of coronavirus appear with enviable regularity in all corners of the planet. The latest “newcomer” is revealed in Japan. Scientists from the Land of the Rising Sun suggest that this mutation may be resistant to the vaccines developed to date. Where the new strain came from is not yet reliably known, but presumably it was brought from Bangladesh

The emergence of new strains raises the main question: will vaccines protect against them? And is it possible to create a universal protection against all mutations for the future?

The new Japanese strain differs from those previously identified, including from the currently of particular concern British and South African strains. More than ninety residents of the country have already been infected with the “Japanese”. By the way, vaccinations are not yet carried out in Japan. But just the other day, the first vaccine against a new coronavirus infection was approved for use here (according to the contract, the country will receive 144 million doses of the drug). First of all, medical workers will be vaccinated here, and then citizens over 65 years old. In addition, local scientists are also working on a vaccine, but research has so far been carried out only on mice.

… Recently, the new coronavirus mutates more and more rapidly and creates more and more problems. For example, the British vaccine proved to be effective against a new British strain, but categorically does not work against a very similar strain identified in South Africa. In this connection, the South African authorities refused to supply a batch of vaccine from Foggy Albion, which, alas, does not make any difference in the other hemisphere. However, they say that vaccines from other manufacturers are effective, including against the “South African”, and the point is in fact as a British vaccine.

In any case, all countries of the world are seriously concerned about the identification of new mutations. For example, India is organizing a laboratory for sequencing genomes from passenger samples right at the airport. Sequencing on high-precision devices will allow you to quickly identify strains with new mutations. And scientists from Cedars Sinai Medical Center have identified the most common SARS-CoV-2 strain in Southern California at the moment – CAL.20C. The “Californian” has three mutations in the S-protein, but it is not yet clear whether he has a higher contagiousness and virulence. “As long as SARS-CoV-2 spreads, it will accumulate mutations. That is why global monitoring and vaccination are so important. Each new strain must be tested for resistance to existing monoclonal antibodies and sera to understand the effectiveness of vaccines,” says biologist Elena Kleschenko.

The main question facing scientists around the world today is: is it possible to create a single vaccine (or a pan-SARS-CoV-2 vaccine) that could work against all SARS-CoV-2 strains that have already been identified and will only appear? “Those that are used now will work right now, but not always,” I am sure famous epidemiologist, doctor of medical sciences Mikhail Favorov… – And yet I believe that the creation of a universal vaccine is possible. But there is still a lot of work to be done, and work in different directions, which requires funding. “

Researchers are now starting to develop prototypes for a pan-vaccine. Dr. Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, believes scientists should immediately join forces in this direction.

… The coronaviruses discovered back in the 1960s were not a priority for vaccine manufacturers until last year. For decades, they seemed to only cause mild colds. But in 2002, a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV emerged, causing deadly pneumonia. Scientists tried to make a vaccine for him. But it didn’t work out. The dangers of coronaviruses became even more apparent in 2012 when a second species emerged from bats, causing another deadly respiratory illness called MERS. Researchers have begun work on MERS vaccines. But even here the work was suspended. The coronavirus, which disappeared from the field of view, has not become a priority. And now the situation has changed dramatically – the word “coronavirus” has not left the news feed for more than a year.

And today, scientists recommend preparing for outbreaks of other coronaviruses in the future. Including fatal ones. Bats and other mammals abound in strains and species of this vast family of viruses. Some of these pathogens will inevitably cross the species barrier and cause new pandemics. It’s just a matter of time.

Finding a universal vaccine can take a long time. And yet, her appearance will help the world to be ready for the next coronavirus, which, no one doubts, will definitely appear.