Wwhat else? What is still supposed to happen? After the chattering, panicky reactions to the virus mutant VUI-202012/01, the question must be asked that the world can find a healthy balance between the extremes. Hysteria doesn’t help anyone, but playing it down is even less effective. Least of all the most vulnerable. The danger did not only come into the world with the new variant. And the danger is not over because the governments react with flight bans and border closings.
According to all that is available in terms of epidemiological data, the mutant of the coronavirus, which was first noticed in southern England, has been circulating for months. It has only now been noticed because Great Britain – unlike most other countries including Germany – has established an effective network for the genetic recording of Sars-CoV-2 isolates from patient samples. If you don’t look, you won’t find anything, this lesson will make sense to everyone after the long debates about virus tests and case numbers. That would be a good approach for a “coordinated European” response. The information this research network has provided on the mutant so far is quite a bit – but still too little and uncertain overall. The scientists have communicated their previous findings to the British government, which has set up its own task force and informed the World Health Organization, that there is “moderate trust” in their own assessment.
These more than a dozen changes could be systemically relevant
But what does that mean: moderate trust? It is said that the findings so far are incomplete and that the data required for a final safety assessment are still missing. One thing is clear: such a mutant with many different mutations, of all things on the spike protein that is crucial for infection, is unusual – and should also be taken seriously. In other words, these more than a dozen changes could be systemically relevant. In some experiments these changes have already shown that the growth in the cell culture and thus the replication of the virus is increased. The mutant apparently multiplies faster in the artificial system of a laboratory and produces more virus particles. At the same time, the mutant also contains “weakening” traits that could impair the ability of the virus to bind to human cells.