Covid is not defeated and is finding new ways to strike. Under observation after the contagion boom in Britain are mutations and sub-variants of the virus. To go into detail is Silvio Brusaferro, president of the Higher Institute of Health (Iss), during his speech at the national conference of the SSP Foundation (School of Public Health) “The pandemic seen through the eyes of …”, organized in Venice at the Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista.
Among the various surveillance systems, explained Brusaferro, “we also have variant monitoring. We have seen how Sars-CoV-2 is evolving. In the beginning we started with a totally new virus that we have surveyed and evaluated, and then progressively we we had to compare with its variants. Competitive variants, which overlapped and today characterize the epidemiological picture. If at the beginning of the year we had the “dominant Alpha variant,” today we are with the Delta and we are evaluating possible sub-variants of the Delta “.
In short, the situation is constantly evolving and among the latest mutations of the virus the most updated data date back to 21 October, the date on which in Italy there are 93 sequences of a particular sub-variant of Delta, the AY.4.2, according to the Gisaid platform. The spotlight on this coronavirus sub-lineage has turned to the British situation. In the United Kingdom, in fact, 15,201 sequences of AY.4.2 were recorded on 21 October, i.e. 93.8% of the total of those recorded in Europe, which in turn account for 99% of the total world.
But what are the potential effects of the new Delta mutations? In Italy, compared to all the sequencing at a global level “, declares Brusaferro, 93 sequences of AY.4.2 were recorded. They were 86 according to the numbers updated to October 19, announced by Brusaferro himself last Friday during the usual press point on monitoring Covid of the control room.
“In the coming days we will also share the environmental aspect” in the monitoring of Sars-Cov-2, “that is the search for variants in wastewater. All the Regions are working, there is a strong network and it is important for Sars-CoV- 2, but also in perspective: putting together monitoring systems is an element that helps us to guarantee the population also in the future a better quality of life and a life in terms of safer health “, then announced the president of the Higher Institute. health care.
“If we compare our numbers with those of other neighboring countries, even in Europe, they are positive numbers, which indicate an ability to control the circulation of the virus. But we must not forget that we live in an interconnected globe and we are reactivating interconnections” he said. Brusaferro said again, who warned: “Just look” beyond the Adriatic where there is a particularly critical situation in the Balkans, we don’t need to go a long way “.
Returning to variant AY.4.2 it should be emphasized that the suspicion of the experts is that the sub-lineage is more aggressive than the Delta. “It is a possible example, but it must be demonstrated, of how the AY.4.2 virus tries to escape vaccines with all its mutational load”, geneticist Massimo Zollo, of the Federico II University of Naples and coordinator of the Ceinge Covid-19 Task Force. “If the hypothesis were to be confirmed, the epidemiological situation could worsen if the number of unvaccinated people were still high. People already vaccinated with a low or absent antibody response could also be affected”, the opinion of the ‘ expert.