The variant of Covid identified in South Africa, in respect of which i vaccines are “almost certainly” less effective according to the University of Oxford, it worries Europe. L’Italy immediately stops the arrivals of those who have been in the last 14 days South Africa, Malawi, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia ed eSwatini and the EU Commission announces that it will shortly propose a similar measure, already adopted yesterday by the Great Britain e Israel. The Germany for now it is limited to suspending flights from South Africa, as well as the France. The Spain it will also block air connections with Botswana (as well as with South Africa).
Also Israel, where the first case of the South African variant was detected in a citizen returning from Malawi and 2 other people are also considered suspected cases, said ‘Red countries’ South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and eSwatini. In addition to the stop of flights, the stop of entry into Israel of citizens of those countries was also established and the forty for those who return, including the vaccinated. “We are one step away from a state of emergency”, announced the premier Naftali Bennett. In Belgium, local media confirm a first case: a young adult woman who developed symptoms 11 days after traveling to Egypt via Turkey. It had no connection with South Africa or with any other country in the south of the African continent. The patient had a high viral load at the time of diagnosis. She wasn’t vaccinated nor had it been infected in the past.
“I signed a new one order which prohibits entry into Italy to anyone who has been in the last 14 days South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini“, Announced the Minister of Health on Friday morning, Roberto Speranza. Our scientists are hard at work studying the new variant B.1.1.529. In the meantime we follow the path of the maxim precaution“. Among other things, in addition to the ban on re-entry, the ordinance provides that anyone who has been to the eight countries in question and has already returned to Italy must undergo a molecular swab and remain in isolation for the next ten days, before performing a new swab. control. In the meantime, the Spallanzani institute has set up a task force “to analyze the data that refer to the international level” and to “prepare the sequencing of the strains for the purpose of virological surveillance. Thanks to the intervention of the Foreign Ministry, the institute got in touch with the Italian ambassador in South Africa, Paolo Cuculi, who is facilitating contacts with Nicd (The National Institute For Communicable Diseases, ndr) South African. The institute itself communicates it.
Meanwhile, from Brussels, the Slovenian presidency of the EU Council has called a meeting of theIcpr (the mechanism of the Council with member states for crisis response) to discuss the European Commission’s proposal to activate the “emergency brake” common to flights from southern Africa. After gathering the ambassadors of the 27 member countries, the IPCR approved – as far as we know – the Commission’s proposal. There is, therefore, the green light for the coordinated stop of European countries to flights from southern Africa. Brussels is also in contact with Eurocontrol and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) which are preparing a recommendation for airports in the EU on the issue. Also for tonight at 6 pm, von der Leyen has called a meeting of the task force internal to the Executive.
Me too’World Health Organization announced that an expert meeting of the Technical Advisory Group will be held in Geneva today, but warned that “it will take several weeks to understand the impact”. The goal is to clarify if we are facing one variant of “interest” or a variant of “concern”. But it will take several weeks to know what that potentially means in terms of contagiousness and the impact on diagnosis, therapy and vaccines. While Pfizer has announced that it is studying the variant that it is feared could evade the vaccine and expects to have the first results “within two weeks at the latest”. At the same time, the pharmaceutical company made it known in a note that it could – if needed – prepare a new vaccine in about 100 days: “In the event that an escape variant from the vaccine emerges, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to be able to develop and produce a tailor-made vaccine against that variant in about 100 days, subject to regulatory approval “.
At the European level, however, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Ecdc) considers it probable, on the basis of the available evidence, that “the new variant detected in South Africa”, B.1.1.529, “Is associated with a very high level of transmissibility and significant immune escape”. So far, however, “there is no evidence of changes in the severity of the infection.” “On 25 November 2021 – explains the body – the ECDC designated the variant of Sars-CoV-2 belonging to the Pango lineage B.1.1.529, as a variant of interest (Voi). There is concern that the high number of changes in Spike proteins could lead to a significant change in antigenic properties of the virus “. The World Health Organization (WHO) Virus Evolution Technical Group is meeting today to discuss the variant. “Based on this, the ECDC will decide on the reclassification of this variant”.
Moreover, the biologist James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute of the university of Oxford, said i vaccines against the coronavirus they will “almost certainly” be less effective against the new variant. According to Naismith, mutations in the variant suggest it could spread faster. And therefore “he will inevitably reach the United Kingdom”, but “the travel ban will delay his arrival by perhaps a few weeks”. Meanwhile, the fear of possible repercussions on the economy has sunk i markets: at the start of the session the Bags in the wake of the poor closing of the Asian markets. From the United States, the White House adviser for Covid Anthony Fauci he said he was concerned but stressed the importance of obtaining more information to initiate any travel restrictions.