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New variant (C.1.2) may be more infectious, evade vaccines: Study

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New variant (C.1.2) may be more infectious, evade vaccines: Study

As per a study, a new variant of S-CoV-2, the virus which cause Covid-19, has been detected in South Africa and many other countries around the world which could be more transmissible and evade protection provided by vaccines.

Scientists from National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) in South Africa said the potential variant of interest, C.1.2, was first detected in the country in May this year.

The scientists added that C.1.2 has since been found in China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, England, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland as of August 13.

The new variant has more mutations than other variants of concern (VOCs) or variants of interest (VOIs) detected worldwide so far, the researchers said.

The study found consistent increases in the number of C.1.2 genomes in South Africa each month, rising from 0.2 per cent of genomes sequenced in May to 1.6 per cent in June and then to 2 per cent in July.

“This is similar to the increases seen with the Beta and Delta variants in the country during early detection,” the authors of the study said.

Virologist Upasana Ray noted that the variant is a result of numerous mutations accumulated in C.1.2 line in the spike protein which makes it a lot different than the original virus that was identified in Wuhan, China in 2019.

“It could be more transmissible and has potential to spread fast. Since there are so many mutations in the spike protein, it could result in immune escape and thus a challenge for the vaccination drive worldwide if allowed to spread,” Ms Ray from Kolkata’s CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, told PTI.

“Thus, controlling the transmission step itself by strictly cutting down the spread by following appropriately COVID-19 control measures is absolutely important,” Ms Ray, who was not involved in the study, said.

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Airborne transmission of Covid-19 random, social distancing alone not enough to control spread: Study

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A new study new study has shown that the airborne transmission of Covid-19 is highly random and suggests that social distancing alone is not effective in controlling its spread, reiterating the importance of vaccination and face masks.

“One part of the way that this disease spreads is virology: how much virus you have in your body, how many viral particles you expel when you speak or cough,” said Dr Shrey Trivedi, the Indian-origin first author of the study published in the journal ‘Physics of Fluids’ this week.

“But another part of it is fluid mechanics: what happens to the droplets once they’re expelled, which is where we come in. As fluid mechanics specialists, we like the bridge from virology of the emitter to the virology of the receiver and we can help with risk assessment,” explained Trivedi from the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge.

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France likely to announce Covid-19 booster shots for all adults: Report

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As per reports, France is expected to announce that Covid-19 booster shots will be made available to all adults, as well as stricter rules on wearing face masks and more stringent health pass checks to curb a new wave of infections.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government on Wednesday said it would focus on tougher social distancing rules and a faster booster shot programme and that it wanted to avoid the lockdowns being imposed once more by some other European countries.

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Air pollution linked to increased risk of getting sick from Covid-19: Study

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According to a study conducted in Spain, long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with an increased risk of developing Covid-19 among people who get infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The research, published in the journal Environment Health Perspectives on Wednesday, provides further evidence on the health benefits of reducing air pollution, and highlights the influence of environmental factors on infectious diseases.

“The problem is that previous studies were based on reported cases, which had been diagnosed, but missed all the asymptomatic or undiagnosed cases,” said study first-author Manolis Kogevinas from Barcelona Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain.

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