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Friday, June 18, 2021

Scientists fear that the ‘daughter virus’ can push the pandemic to another level

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Scientists have discovered a new variant which is a result of the recombination of the UK and the Californian variant of coronavirus, also known as ‘Daughter Virus” and that seems to be more dreadful.

The two most deadly variants have combined to form a new variant. The merger of the UK and California variants of coronavirus was discovered in the Los Alamos National Laboratory of California by computational biologist Ms Bette Korber.

While the scientists are afraid that this combination would lead to a new phase in the already fluctuating dynamics of the pandemic, the severity of the harm that can be caused by the recombinant mutation is vague until now.

In a conference held by the New York Academy of Science, Bette Korber said that she had seen the mutation of the variant quite clearly.

The combination carries two variants namely the B.1.1.7 variant also known as the Kent variant of the UK, while the other one is a California variant known as B.1.429.

The UK variant leads to a rapid transmission and is known to be highly infectious. The California variant, on the other hand,  poses threat by developing resistance to antibodies. While explaining this unusual mutation Ms Bette Korber said: “This kind of event could allow the virus to have coupled a more infectious virus with a more resistant virus.”

Studies have also found that some individuals can be infected with two varied strains of the virus. A professor in biology at Temple University of Pennsylvania, Sergei Pond, said that “we may be getting to the point when this is happening at appreciable rates.” Prof. Pond is someone who identifies recombinants by analyzing as many as a thousand genetic sequences.

He also explained that there is no proven large-scale spreading of the recombinant virus. “But coronaviruses all recombine, so it’s a question of when, not if,” he added.

A virology expert from the University of Liverpool, Dr Marcus Blagrove was a part of the research that tried to predict the next spot where the coronavirus could emerge. He said of the recombinant that coronavirus can be formed as a result of mutation between two viruses that are already existing.

“So two viruses infect the same cell and they recombine into a ‘daughter’ virus that would be an entirely new strain,” he added.

The UK variant has been found to be spreading rapidly in the country and is highly transmissible. The severity of its contagious nature is observed to be nearly 70% greater than the original strain.

Reportedly, in their quest to find the reason behind the drastic increase in the number of infections, Californian scientists were doubtful of a homegrown strain to be responsible for the multiplication of cases.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the current variant of California was discovered while the researchers were tracing the variant that possibly emerged from the UK.  The paper also cited a possibility of both- UK and California variants belonging to the same “family tree” that has spread across the states in recent months.

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