How To Tell Coronavirus Variants Apart

Naked Genetics


Hello and welcome to the program. This month we are looking at the most critical variants of the corona virus. And finding out how to tell whether they're fleming covid vaccines plus the cost of catching a serial killer. Dna with four strands instead of two and a mutant. Fish whose fins have started turning into limbs. I'm phil sansom and this is naked. Genetics to extend any talk of new. Corona virus. Variance is slightly misleading. Looking for new new variants is not looking for needle in a haystack. Because there are thousands and thousands of new mutations in the virus and so looking for once important can be very challenging. That's sharon peacock speaking to chris. Smith on the naked scientists in january. She runs a consortium called covid. Nineteen genomics uk or k. They feverishly sequence the full genetic code the whole genome of the samples of current virus. They sent and so far. They have more than two hundred thousand sequences under their belt. The point she's making is that it's easy to find a new variant. It's much trickier to find a variant. This both new and more dangerous. There are a few methods festival we can expect between populations. We can also look at the population of genetic information that we have a to demonstrate whether for example a particular lineage or line is expanding more rapidly than we expected but experiments really critical hit. They provide crucial evidence. And there's different types of departure experiments that we want to do festival we'd look out. The virus interact with cells grown in laboratory album more likely to adhere to those cells in an entry into them. We also want to see how the virus interacts with. Antibodies that have been raised by people had a natural infection within that connected to see whether the interaction is what we'd expect to. Not all of these techniques became very useful in the uk at the end of last year when they discovered what later came to be known as the uk variant the kent variant or variant. Be one seven. It was only really in mixed late november when it really became clear that they seem to be spread of cases in the south of england whereas they was spread in other parts of the country that were under similar. Carter lockdown rose their range of explanations for that but one of them is the guy could be a somewhat different than its behavior and so at that point in the beginning of december analysts to understand the genomes very well realized that the to relate could be related and increasingly transmissible virus linked to very specific gene. Be one one. Seven genome is specific by twenty three mutations. And it's also not clear where exactly it came from. It wasn't particularly related to other variants going around the uk that was in december. A few days later south africa announced they'd found their own concerning variant then within the space of a month. Two more were found in brazil. Turns out pandemic gut punches. Sometimes come like buses. But sharon would question the way we've been referring to them. I think it's really important that we avoid labeling variants based on where they'd been first detected because whether it be i detect it doesn't necessarily mean where they've emerged and nobody can really be held responsible for an active nature from mutation. Sharon peacock had of coq. Uk so bearing that in mind can decode the scientific names. These variants have gone. They tend to be complicated because genetics is complicated. And the w. h. o. Hasn't yet come up with a standard naming system into this void. A few main systems have emerged. The open access gifts aid uses one system. The group next strain that we featured on naked genetics. Back in april uses a second. The third is my favorite. And it's where the name be. One one seven comes from. It's a system proposed left year with the acronym name penguin. Here you'd find the vary based on events in its pass. Those events will usually be it arriving in a new place and expanding and multiplying through the area using the pangolin website. We explain why it's called. B one one seven. Be an escape from china at the end of twenty nineteen. The first one is a big expansion through europe at the time of the italian outbreak. At the start of two thousand twenty the second one is a more specific european wave and the seven means this bad needs variant

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