The British government, in charge of the rotating presidency of the G7, announced on Sunday the convening an “emergency meeting” of your health ministers to address the issue of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
“An emergency meeting of the G7 health ministers will be convened on Monday, November 29 to discuss developments on Ómicron.”The UK Health Department said in a statement, after several cases were reported in Europe.
The WHO stated on Friday that the newly discovered strain is a worrying variant, but scientists are still trying to assess its dangerousness.
The United Kingdom is one of the countries that have announced Omicron cases in their territory, including Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, although most European countries have closed flights from southern African nations, where the variant was first identified.
The head of the World Health Organization in Africa on Sunday urged countries to follow the science instead of imposing flight bans in an attempt to contain the new variant. “With the Omicron variant now detected in various regions of the world, the imposition of travel bans targeting Africa undermines global solidarity,” said WHO Regional Director General Matshidiso Moeti.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa became the region’s latest leader on Sunday to denounce the flight ban and the economic damage it is causing to affected countries.
For her part, the president of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, declared this Sunday in Riga that The new variant of the coronavirus opened a “race against time” and underlined the need to “buy time” by speeding up vaccination and reducing contacts.
“We take this Omicron very seriously. We are now in a race against time, because we do not know everything about this variant, but it is a variant of concern, “he said at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Latvian President Krisjanis Karins. .
Stated that science needs between two to three weeks to have a “complete picture” on “the characteristics of the mutations” of this new variant. For this reason, he added, it is necessary to “use time” to take precautionary actions, noting that the “highest priority” now is to reduce contacts, vaccinate and administer booster doses “as much as possible” and comply with the regulations of social distancing, hygiene and use of a mask.
The first image of the Omicron variant shows many more mutations than the Delta. The omicron variant of the coronavirus that causes covid-19 has many more mutations than the delta strain, according to a first “image” of it, made and published by the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome.
In this three-dimensional “image”, similar to a cartography, “It is clear that the omicron variant has many more mutations than the delta variant [que presenta asimismo un gran número de mutaciones], mostly concentrated in a zone of the protein that interacts with human cells“Explained the team of researchers in a statement published this Sunday. A research team from the prestigious Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome published studies that show what the new strain of COVID-19 is like.
“This does not automatically mean that these variations are more dangerous, simply that the virus has once again adapted to the human species, generating another variant.”, The researchers specified. “Other studies will tell us if this adaptation is neutral, less dangerous or more dangerous.”
The research team at the prestigious Bambino Gesù establishment focused on the search for mutations at the level of “the three-dimensional structure of the spike protein”, explained to AFP Claudia Alteri, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Milan and researcher at the aforementioned Roman hospital.
This protein, which is the part of the virus “that is studied with the most attention”, is “responsible for the recognition of the human receptor and for the entry of the virus into cells.”. “It is in the spike that monoclonal antibodies and, of course, vaccines act,” he stressed.
The image was made “from the study of sequences of this new variant contributed to the scientific community” and mainly from “Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong”.
“This image, which represents a bit the map of all the variants, describes omicron mutations but does not define the role“That they have, according to Claudia Alteri.
“From now on, it will be important to define, through laboratory experiments, whether the combination of these combinations can have an impact on transmission or the efficacy of vaccines, for example,” he said.
(With information from AFP and EFE)