Covid: should we be worried about the mutant circulating in the south-east of England?

THE CHEKING PROCESS – A new variant of the Sars-CoV-2 virus has infected 1000 people in a few days in around 60 localities.

THE QUESTION. “We have identified a new variant of the coronavirus which may be associated with faster spread in the south-east of England”, Announced on November 14 in Parliament Matt Hancock, the British Secretary of State for Health. About 1100 cases infected with this strain have been identified in recent days in around sixty localities, according to the UK Public Health Agency. Can this mutation make the virus more contagious, more dangerous or jeopardize the effectiveness of vaccines?

CHECKS. In the collective imagination, the term “mutationHas always a negative connotation. However, in the world of coronaviruses, this is not the case. “These RNA viruses almost make mistakes every time they replicate. As a result, they are mutating all the time, this is quite normal», Explains Étienne Simon-Lorière, virologist at the Institut Pasteur. This natural process is of little concern to scientists because in the vast majority of

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