B.1.1.7 spreads: mutants make up almost half of the cases


B.1.1.7 spreads
Mutant accounts for almost half of the cases

It is happening in rapid succession: at the end of January, the mutant B.1.1.7 was only detected in six percent of the positive corona samples. A few weeks later it is already 46 percent. According to the current RKI report, other variants only play a subordinate role in Germany.
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the spread of the corona variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in Great Britain, has increased further. According to an RKI report, their share in a sample of almost 25,000 positive cases from the past week is around 46 percent. At the beginning of the survey, around a month ago, the RKI had put the proportion of mutants at six percent, two weeks later it was 22 percent. Estimates that about half of the cases now go back to B.1.1.7 were already known on Tuesday.

The RKI shows how often worrying corona variants are currently occurring in Germany.

(Photo: RKI)

The share of 46 percent relates to retests of several laboratory groups for key mutations of the variant. According to the RKI, it “cannot be safely transferred to all Sars-CoV-2-positive samples in Germany”. The report is based on other data sources: if you look at complete genetic analyzes, which are carried out less often but are considered clear evidence, around 22 percent are mutants.

The rapidly growing trend in the proportion of variants is observed regardless of the method used. The RKI writes that a further increase in the proportion of B.1.1.7 can be expected. It is a more contagious variant that, according to initial studies, also causes severe disease more often. It is expected that containment of the pandemic will become more difficult as it spreads.

According to the RKI report, other variants that are circulating in South Africa and Brazil have so far played a subordinate role in this country. These two variants are also classified as worrying by health authorities: Unlike the British variant, there are indications that Sars-CoV-2 convalescent or vaccinated people are less well protected from infection with the modified virus.

More hospital stays and deaths expected

The virologist Christian Drosten said on Tuesday in the “Coronavirus Update” at NDR-Info: “We actually have no reason to fear that the South Africa variant will increase as much as the England variant in a population that is not immune.”

According to a current “Science” study in Great Britain, B.1.1.7 made up around 95 percent of new infections as of mid-February. The authors write that it has spread to over 80 countries. For Great Britain, they come to the conclusion that the number of hospital stays and deaths from Covid-19 this year will exceed the values ​​of 2020 if strict control measures are not taken and vaccination is not accelerated.

The mutant now also dominates in Denmark. So far, it has been detected in more than 5,000 Danes, and in the previous week it was discovered in around 75 percent of all analyzed corona samples.

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