what we know so far

Previously removed from Portugal’s green list for travel, UK transport secretary Grant Shapps, blamed it on a new variant of the coronavirus. “There is a kind of mutation in Nepal that is different from India that has been noticed,” he said in a in this recent conversation.

This is the first time most people have heard of a “mutation in Nepal”. In fact, the World Health Organization says that “no new variant of SARS-CoV-2 has been identified in Nepal”.

And, according to Public Health England (PHE), there is no “Nepal variant of interest” or “variant of concern”. So what do these different Shapps say? Is it really there?

The “Nepalese variety” has become a distinct delta – the first seen in India and now accounts for 90% of cases in the UK – including a mutation known as K417N. The K417N mutation is in the spike protein (the mushroom -shaped growth on the upper part of the coronavirus that helps it enter human cells).

The first five cases in England followed on April 26 2021, according to a recent PHE report, and contacts of travelers to Nepal and Turkey.

At the most recent count, there were 36 cases of the “Nepal variant” in England. Most of the cases were in young people, with two cases in people 60 or older. Of the 36 cases, 11 were “travel companions” (six were travelers and five cases were among travelers contacts).

The vaccination status of 27 of the 36 recorded “Nepal variant” cases is known, and is reflected in the record of 18 cases of people who were not vaccinated. Only two cases were in people who received the same dose of vaccine and had more than two weeks between the second dose before being tested positive. No deaths were recorded from this species.

Grant Schapps explains why Portugal was taken off England’s green travel list.

Why worry?

Despite the small case of “Nepalese variety”, people’s concern is the combination of the delta’s most successful variant (which has killed hundreds of thousands in people of India) plus the K417N mutation, found in the beta variant-the variant first seen in South Africa, and gamma, the variant first seen in Brazil.

Even if the beta variant isn’t found anywhere near as transferable as the delta variant (see how easily it was removed from the alpha variant in the UK), it’s the K417N mutation in beta that is thought to help the virus to prevent the neutralization of antibodies – an important part of the defense of our immune system. This means that vaccines and prescription drugs may be ineffective, and increase the risk of recurrence, as has happened in many areas in Manaus, Brazil, with gamma variation.

So you can see why the PHE is watching the situation. However, in the absence of epidemiological and laboratory evidence that the “Nepal variant” is much more susceptible to, decomposed or more resistant to vaccines than the delta variant, thus, the “Nepal variant” will remain on the list. to worry – at least for now.

However, how it will play out over the next few weeks and months, however, is anyone’s guess. But one thing is for sure: if the delta plus K417N joins the World Health Organization or list of various PHE concerns, it will not be called the “Nepal variant”. It will be taught a Greek letter. Names of the other stigmatize countries has been phaseout, but Shapps probably didn’t get the memo.

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