Markets, medical experts and governments are raising concerns over the latest Coronavirus variant.
As the public in the United States gathers in observance of Thanksgiving, South African experts and global governments are alarmed at the B.1.1.529 variant of the Coronavirus. Enough concern has been raised to shutdown air-traffic partially between UK/Europe and parts of Africa. The new variant was reported Wednesday, 8:11 pm PST and will eventually receive a Greek letter name, according to Bloomberg News.
First spotted in Botswana, the B.1.1.529 variant appears to have more of the protein spikes associated with more aggressive viruses, like the Delta variant. Roughly speaking, the spike protein allows for the virus to penetrate the cellular membrane of a healthy human cell. Afterwards, it inserts RNA into healthy human cells, which then causes issues in vulnerable lung tissues e.g Covid-19.
The B.1.1.529 variant is thought to have evolved from an untreated HIV/AIDS patient, according to Francois Balloux via Bloomberg News. Unfortunately, people who are immunocompromised can carry the coronavirus for longer periods of time, allowing for significantly different variants to emerge and eventually infect others.
This when paired with the fact other healthy individuals who are unvaccinated will contract this variant makes for a perfect storm of conditions to raise the prospect of a new wave of Covid-19 infections.
India Increases Testing, Israel Reacts
The country of India is now increasing testing for foreign travelers out of fear that this deadlier, more transmissible than the Delta variant will reach its already vulnerable populace.
Israel is also testing for the variant.
Affects Those Under 25
In places with fewer vaccinations, the populace under 25 is expected to see a spike of B.1.1.529 infections. For instance, South Africa has around 1/4 of its under 25 populace vaccinated and it is this population most affected with the variant in Gauteng. South African authorities have several confirmed cases, with laboratories expecting to confirm additional ones after sequencing is performed on new samples.
According to South African public health authorities:
“This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations, and thus, has serious public health implications for the country, in view of recently relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of international travel.”National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) via OdhisaTv
Flights Between South Africa, UK Halted
The UK is now banning flights from six African countries. A strict quarantine will take place from these six countries: South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana – the original site for the variant – Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini.
Shares in Intercontinental are now down 6.7 percent in stock futures after a busy holiday season in the US, according to Dow Jones. If past behavior is an indicator, travelers will now do a double take on travel plans globally and in the domestic US as Christmas travel was gearing up as a windfall for airlines, hotels and oil companies/gas retailers.