What is mutated

Great Britain, South Africa, Brazil, India Coronavirus Mutations: You Should Know That

Viruses are constantly mutating, and the coronavirus is no exception. Corona mutants are reported from all regions of the world. As recently the variant B.1.617 in India. The country is currently being hit with full force by a new corona wave. For this reason, Germany has imposed an entry ban on India. In this country, the so-called British corona mutation B.1.1.7 dominates. We clarify what this means in the most important questions and answers about coronavirus mutations.

What do we know about the new variants?

New mutations appeared several times in the past year in different countries, in Brazil, Australia, the USA. But they heaped up in Great Britain and South Africa out - as twins! The two variants have almost the same change on the outer shell. They are differentiated by their names, which consist of numbers: B.1.1.7 for the English mutation and B.1.351 for the variant from South Africa. Out Brazil a third strain is reported: P.1.

In Great Britain, B.1.1.7 has displaced the old strain of the coronavirus, and the British mutation has long been the dominant variant in Germany as well. More than 90 percent of corona infections come from variant B.1.1.7. out. Several cases of the mutant B.1.351 that emerged in South Africa have also been recorded in Germany. From the Brazilian P.1. however, only individual cases, this also applies to the Indian variant B.1.617. But: The trend is increasing.

The Brazilian and Indian mutation in Germany

The mutant P.1, which appeared in Brazil in December, has already been discovered in Japan and here in Germany. Like its "cousins", P.1 is said to be more contagious, but not more deadly. However, the first findings from virologists are worrying. They say that P.1 could be resistant to corona antibodies. The cause is another mutation in the genome, called E484K.

Because in the Brazilian city of Manaus, in which three quarters of the population have already gone through an infection and therefore herd immunity should be given, there was an outbreak. Recovered, formerly infected people could become infected a second time with this form of the coronavirus.

The variant B.1.617 from India combines two mutations. It is also more contagious than the original tribe. It is currently unclear whether it is also more dangerous. According to the Robert Koch Institute, however, it could be that the vaccination protection could be lower. Reliable data are still lacking, as the mutations in the amino acids first have to be analyzed.

Are the mutations more harmless or more dangerous?

The new variants are said to be up to 70 percent more contagious than the original. And up to 64 percent more deadly. The so-called R-value increases by 0.4 to 0.7, London researchers have calculated for B.1.1.7. The R-value measures how quickly the infection spreads.

If Covid-19 breaks out, the disease does not take a more severe course in the mutant either. But because more people can become infected with the virus much faster, they also spread it faster, so that "vulnerable groups", ie the old, the sick and the weak, are statistically more easily infected with the new virus variant. And Covid-19 is potentially dangerous, especially for older people and people with previous illnesses. So more deaths can be expected.

According to information, more younger people in South Africa have been infected with the new, native virus variant, and they also suffered more often from a severe course of the disease.