The increased of the Coronavirus in China raises the possibility of infection with the new Coronavirus


The increased spread of the Coronavirus in China raises the possibility of infection with the new Coronavirus.

Could the outbreak of COVID-19 in China unleash a new surge of Coronavirus into the world?

Scientists don't know, but they worry this might happen. It could be similar to the omicron variants circulating out there now. It could be a mixture of breeds. Or something completely different, as they say.

China has a very large population, and there is limited immunity. "And it looks like this is where we might see an explosion of a new variant," said Dr. Stuart Campbell Ray, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University.

Each new infection presents an opportunity for the Coronavirus to mutate, and the virus is spreading rapidly in China. The country of 1.4 billion people has largely abandoned its "zero COVID" policy. Although reported vaccination rates are high, booster levels are lower, especially among the elderly. Homegrown vaccines have proven less effective against serious infections than Western-made mRNA copies. Many were given more than a year ago, which means that immunity has diminished.

"When we see large waves of infection, it is often followed by the emergence of new variants," Ray said.

About three years ago, the original version of the Coronavirus spread from China to the rest of the world and was eventually replaced by the delta version, then Omicron and its descendants, which still plague the world today.

Many of the current Omicron variants have been discovered in China, including BF.7, which is very adept at evading immunity and is believed to be driving the recent surge, said Dr. Shan-Lu Liu, who studies viruses at Ohio State University.

Experts said that partially immune populations like China are putting selective pressure on the virus to change it. Ray compared the virus to a boxer who "learns to evade the skills you have and adapt to get around them."

One big unknown is whether the new variant will cause more severe disease. Experts say there is no inherent biological reason for the virus to become milder over time.

"A lot of the moderation that we've seen over the past six to 12 months in many parts of the world is due to the buildup of immunity either through vaccination or infection, not because the virus has changed" in severity, Ray said.

In China, most people have never been exposed to the Coronavirus. China's vaccines are based on older technology that produces fewer antibodies than mRNA vaccines.

Given these facts, Dr. Jagandeep Kang, who studies viruses at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, said it remains to be seen if the virus will follow the same pattern of evolution in China as it did in the rest of the world after that. Vaccines came out. "Or will the development pattern be completely different?" she asked.

Recently, the World Health Organization has expressed concern about reports of a serious illness in China. Around Baoding and Langfang outside Beijing, hospitals run out of intensive care beds and staff as severe cases rise.

China plans to trace virus centers around three hospitals in each province, where samples will be collected from irregular patients with severe disease and all those who die every week, said Xu Wenbo of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

He said that 50 of the 130 copies of Omicron discovered in China led to the outbreak. He said the country is creating a national genetic database to "monitor in real time" how different strains are evolving and the potential impacts on public health.

At this point, there is limited information about the viral genetic sequence originating from China, said Jeremy Luban, a virologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

"We don't know everything that's going on," Le Pen said. But it is clear that "the epidemic is not over yet."

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