Scientists tracking the epidemic of COVID variants warn that the blockade will be lifted too soon.
They warn that by relaxing the restrictions before the daily cases are “less than a few thousand”, a more sinister version of the virus can escape and cause new outbreaks.
Steve Patterson, a professor of genetics at the University of Liverpool, told Sky News in an exclusive interview: “The virus doesn’t care that we want to meet friends. It will find new ways to transmit or evade immunity.
“To give public health and genomic sequencing the opportunity to locate where the virus is mutating and where new variants are beginning to spread, we can afford to reduce cases before taking our foot off the brakes. Is really needed.
“It should be thousands of lows per day.
“Otherwise, the incident will happen again where we don’t want to be.”
The 7-day rolling average for positive cases is currently around 12,000.
Professor Paterson’s lab is part of COG-UK, a lab consortium that tracks the rise of new variants.
He said the Joint Biosecurity Center is paying attention to the outbreak in Bristol. In Bristol, the more contagious Kent mutant has evolved again, adding the same mutation that helps the South African version of the virus evade the immune system.
To date, there have been more than 20 cases and surge tests have been conducted to identify who has the virus.
“A lot of resources are being put into monitoring to see if it’s increasing in frequency, and the data we get over the next week or two weeks really tells us,” says Professor Paterson.
He said the increase in immunity from previous infections or vaccinations is putting pressure on the virus to mutate to survive.
“The virus has constant mutations and evolution as a weapon that we can use to counter what we are doing against it, so we need to keep an eye on its genetics.
“We need to see if evolution brings us another surprise, which often happens,” said Professor Patterson.
A new study just published in Nature shows how fast the virus mutates-in the body of chronic patients. COVID infection.
Professor Ravi Gupta, a clinical microbiologist at the University of Cambridge, was involved in the treatment of men with a poor immune system. Within days of being given plasma antibodies by a patient who had recovered from the disease, the virus mutated in an attempt to avoid treatment.
“It’s noteworthy,” he said.
“Within a week, its composition has changed. Billions and billions of virus particles have changed.”
Professor Gupta said his sightings (the first real-time study of viral evolution) provided insight into how new mutants would be cultured in some patients.
“In our individuals infected with the first wave in 2020, it took four months for the virus to evolve to a significant extent,” he said.
“Looking at the emergence of UK Kent variants, the first sequence [of the new virus] It was September.
“It fits very well with the first wave of infection in April, it takes months for the virus to evolve and mutate, and once it gets enough mutations to make it more infectious, it leaks to the community. I will.
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“The second wave started around September, which may be the reason why the community started to detect it.”
Professor Gupta said precautions should be taken when treating COVID infections in patients with impaired immune systems.
“We need to look at any negative complications. [of treatment] The possibility is to carry out relevant surveillance and treat in an isolated room rather than in an open ward. “
“Don’t underestimate the virus. You’ll find new ways to avoid antibodies and immunity. Other mutations that aren’t always predictable will occur.”
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