Professor comments on emerging COVID-19 Variants around the World

Professor comments on emerging COVID-19 Variants around the World

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As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world, experts are at the upper hand of making said-be comments about the new emerging Variants, one being SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7.

Professor David Hayman from the School of Veterinary Science at Massey University says the new UK Variant is spreading rapidly and due to the nature of that, control must be implemented to detect every Variant of the virus.

“The evidence really does suggest that this variant is more transmissible than the previous viruses circulating to date. The rise in cases in the UK is very worrying. There is less information on the South African viruses also detected,” Prof. Hayman said.

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“Control becomes harder because of the higher infectivity. This will really test the border processes, and the staff working there will need all the support they can get.”

He says the molecular tests used to detect the Coronavirus (COVID-19) need to be addressed regarding the diagnostic capabilities.

For example, a different type of vaccination could sufficiently differentiate effectiveness and reinfection could become more likely due to new Variants.

“Both reports suggest that, while different, the variants are close enough to the other SARS-CoV-2 variants that there should be very little if any loss of diagnostic capability by the molecular tests or changes in immune response,” Prof. Hayman said.

A suggestion was made that New Zealanders must play a role in using the COVID-19 Contact Tracer App to reduce the spread of the virus locally and globally.

“It is clear that we need to reduce infection globally as much as possible to prevent the likelihood of additional variants arising,” Prof. Hayman said.

“Moreover, this is a really important time to remind everyone that we still need to be living under the Level 1 guidelines, so recording where we visit and ideally using the COVID Tracer app, practising good hand hygiene, staying at home and getting tested if you are unwell are all really important.”

“We want to do everything we can to prevent any onward spread should it slip through the border controls and enter the country.”


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