New #BotswanaVariant With 32 ‘Horrific’ Mutations is The Most Evolved Covid Strain EVER – Says #ImperialCollege Scientist.

πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ 🦠British experts have sounded the alarm over a new Covid variant believed to have emerged in Botswana that is the most mutated version of the virus yet.

Only 10 cases of the B.1.1.529 strain, which could eventually be named ‘Nu’, have been detected so far, but it has already been spotted in three countries, suggesting the variant is more widespread.

It carries 32 mutations, many of which suggest it is highly transmissible and vaccine-resistant, and has more alterations to its spike protein than any other variant.

Professor Francois Balloux, a geneticist at University College London, said it likely emerged in a lingering infection in an immunocompromised patient, possibly someone with undiagnosed AIDS. He said it was likely the variant would be much more able to dodge antibodies than Delta.

Dr. Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College who first picked up on its spread, described the variant’s combination of mutations as β€œhorrific”.

He warned that B.1.1.529 had the potential to be β€œworse than nearly anything else about,” including the world-dominant Delta strain.

However, Scientists said that its unprecedented number of mutations might work against it and make it “unstable”, preventing it from becoming widespread.

“For the time being, it should be closely monitored. But there’s no need to be overly concerned, unless it starts going up in frequency,” said Professor Balloux.

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