What do we know about the new Covid variant B.1.640.2 and its potential dangers?

In summary, a new variant of the coronavirus, called B.1.640.2, has been identified in France. This variant has more mutations than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and is not as contagious as the other variants. Monitoring data from France suggests that this variant is not spreading as quickly as the other variants.
  • #1
Sagittarius A-Star
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TL;DR Summary
Covid Variant B.1.640.2
paper said:
For twelve SARS-CoV-positive patients living in the same geographical area of southeastern France, qPCR testing that screen for variant-associated mutations showed an atypical combination. The index case returned from a travel in Cameroon.

...
This genotype pattern led to create a new Pangolin lineage named B.1.640.2
Source:
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.12.24.21268174v1

Even more mutations than omicron
This new mutant, called B.1.640.2, has 46 mutations in an "atypical combination," several more mutations than omicron, which has 37, according to a preprint study that has not yet been peer-reviewed.

According to this study, the two already known spike protein mutations N501Y and E484K are also found in the new corona variant. The N501Y mutation, for example, was detected very early in the alpha variant. It causes the pathogen to bind more strongly to human cells and thus to spread more easily in the body.

E484K is one of the escape mutations located directly in the spike protein and thus probably affects the COVID vaccines' effectiveness.

Little known about danger and origin
But what these mutations mean and whether the new Coronavirus variant B.1.640.2 is actually more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus cannot yet be said with any real confidence, due to the lack of available data and the small number of cases.

We do not yet know anything about the origin of this new variant either. The fact that B.1.640.2 has now been detected for the first time in a returnee from Cameroon does not mean that the variant has also emerged in the central African country.
Source:
https://www.dw.com/en/new-corona-variant-identified-in-france/a-60329823
 
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  • #2
Note that the parental lineage of B.1.640.2, B.1.640 was first identified in September 2021 (e.g. see https://www.deseret.com/coronavirus...vid-19-variant-france-spike-protein-mutations) and classified as a variant under montoring by the WHO on 22 Nov 2021 (see https://www.who.int/en/activities/tracking-SARS-CoV-2-variants/). Detection of B.1.640.2 predates detection of Omicron (B.1.1.529) by almost 3 weeks, but while Omicron has surged worldwide, B.1.640.2 has not, suggesting that it is not as transmissible as Delta or Omicron (source). Consistent with this suggestion, Nextstrain data show a relatively low prevalence of this variant in France since fall 2021 with no signs of a rapid increase in prevalence:
1641331866833.png

(image source, Nextstrain data).

Additional monitoring data from France suggests B.1.640 and related sublineages are not spreading as quickly as Omicron:
1641333040582.png

https://www.epicx-lab.com/uploads/9/6/9/4/9694133/inserm_omicron_frequency_20211222.pdf
 
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Likes Sagittarius A-Star, jim mcnamara and atyy
  • #3
Ygggdrasil said:
Consistent with this suggestion, Nextstrain data show a relatively low prevalence of this variant in France since fall 2021 with no signs of a rapid increase in prevalence

You are right. In addition, today I found interesting information about activities of one of the authors of the above mentioned paper:

Wikipedia said:
He gained significant worldwide attention during the COVID-19 pandemic for promoting hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the disease, despite the lack of good evidence for its effectiveness and the NIH and WHO's opposition to its use for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients.
...
He defended chloroquine as a benchmark drug for lung diseases, saying that it had suddenly been declared dangerous after having been safely used for 80 years.[49] Following reports and a complaint filed in July by the French-speaking Society of Infectious Pathology (Spilf), the departmental council of the French Order of Physicians opened a formal case against Didier Raoult.
Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didier_Raoult
 
  • #4
Apparently Omicron variant most likely branched in 2020 perhaps in an animal host. It is more similar to Alpha. Here is my source (with CDC paper ref there)
this guy is really good IMHO/
 

Related to What do we know about the new Covid variant B.1.640.2 and its potential dangers?

1. What is the new Covid variant B.1.640.2?

The new Covid variant B.1.640.2, also known as the Delta variant, is a strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that was first identified in India in December 2020. It is now the dominant strain in many countries and is considered more transmissible than previous variants.

2. How does the Delta variant differ from previous Covid variants?

The Delta variant has several mutations in the spike protein, which is the part of the virus that helps it enter and infect cells. These mutations make it more contagious and may also affect the severity of symptoms and the effectiveness of vaccines.

3. What are the potential dangers of the Delta variant?

The Delta variant is more transmissible, which means it can spread more easily from person to person. This can lead to a higher number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. It may also cause more severe illness, especially in unvaccinated individuals.

4. Are the current Covid vaccines effective against the Delta variant?

Studies have shown that the current Covid vaccines are still effective against the Delta variant, but may not be as effective as they are against other variants. However, getting vaccinated can still provide protection against severe illness and hospitalization.

5. How can we protect ourselves from the Delta variant?

The best way to protect ourselves from the Delta variant is to get vaccinated, wear masks in public settings, avoid large gatherings, and practice good hygiene such as frequent hand washing. It is also important to follow guidelines and restrictions set by local health authorities to prevent the spread of the virus.

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