Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, December 2 Topic: Researching and judging Omi Keron: What is the risk of the new mutant?

How to prevent and control?

  Xinhua News Agency "Xinhua Viewpoint" reporter Dong Ruifeng

  Recently, a mutant strain of the new crown virus appeared in some countries, and the World Health Organization listed it as a mutant strain that “needs attention” and required countries to strengthen monitoring and sequencing.

Up to now, except for Hong Kong, other provinces and cities have not found the import of this mutant.

  The National Health Commission organized experts from the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention to research and judge that my country’s prevention and control strategy of "external defense import, internal defense rebound" is still effective for the Omi Keron mutant.

Researchers are closely tracking and analyzing the risk of transmission and the impact on existing vaccines and drugs.

How threatening is the new mutant?

  Flight bans, travel restrictions, border blockades... Many countries that have previously loosened control have upgraded the epidemic prevention measures for the Omi Keron mutant.

  What are the new characteristics of the new mutant?

How big is the threat?

  Xu Wenbo, director of the Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, introduced that the Omi Keron mutant strain also has some important amino acid mutation sites in the first 4 "need to pay attention" variants, including cell receptor affinity, virus replication ability, and immunity. The site of enhanced escape ability.

  At the same time, epidemiological and laboratory monitoring data showed that in South Africa, where the Omi Keron mutant was first discovered, the number of cases of the mutant strain surged in a relatively short period of time, partially replacing the delta mutant strain.

  "This suggests that the potential spread of the Omi Keron mutant strain is significantly enhanced." Xu Wenbo said, but as of now, there is no systematic research data on the spread, pathogenicity, and immune escape ability of this mutant in the world, and it is expected that it will be needed. Several weeks to do further research and judgment.

  Some international prevention and control experts said that it is not clear how much the Omi Keron strain poses to public health.

However, unlike the Delta strain, the Omi Keron strain has received widespread global attention as soon as it appeared, which may help people take earlier measures to curb the spread of the epidemic.

Are the drugs and vaccines still effective?

  Studies have shown that the presence of K417N, E484A, or N501Y mutations in the S protein of the new coronavirus indicates an enhanced immune escape ability.

  "Omi Keron mutant strain also has the above-mentioned triple mutations." The Chinese Center for Disease Control experts analyzed and pointed out that in addition, the mutant strain also has many other mutations that may reduce the neutralizing activity of some monoclonal antibodies.

"The superposition of mutations may reduce the protective efficacy of some antibody drugs against Omi Keron mutants."

  "Specifically, the degree of impact of a certain antibody needs to be verified by experiments." Qian Zhaohui, a researcher at the Institute of Pathogen Biology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said. In addition, related mutations have little effect on small molecule drugs in theory, and the actual situation is still Need further research to confirm.

  Is the current vaccine still effective against Omi Keron variants?

Due to the lack of sufficient data, the international health community is still unable to give an accurate answer.

However, some foreign researchers predict based on existing information that the existing vaccine is still highly effective in preventing hospitalization and severe illness.

  Experts from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention also responded to this: the ability of the new variant strain to escape the existing vaccines requires further monitoring and research.

  The above-mentioned experts also introduced that my country has prepared preliminary technical reserves and research on multiple technical routes including inactivated vaccines, protein vaccines, and carrier vaccines for the Omi Keron mutant strain, and some companies have begun relevant preliminary design.

  In addition, can the current nucleic acid detection reagents still detect the Omi Keron mutant?

Xu Wenbo said that the genome analysis of the Omi Keron variant showed that its mutation site does not affect the sensitivity and specificity of mainstream nucleic acid detection reagents in my country.

What should we do if the new coronavirus continues to mutate?

How to prevent, control and respond?

  "Research shows that the mutation frequency of the new coronavirus is about three parts per million, and the emergence of new mutant strains is normal." Qian Zhaohui said.

  The researchers pointed out that although the new coronavirus continues to mutate, the mutant strain is still a new coronavirus, and overall there will be no subversive changes.

  Mass vaccination is recognized by the scientific community as a powerful means to reduce the mutation rate of the new coronavirus and ultimately end the pandemic.

Previously, the World Health Organization had warned that the longer the inequality of vaccine distribution lasts, the greater the spread of the virus and the greater the possibility of more variants of the virus.

  Although the severity of the new variants is unclear, my country has never relaxed, scientifically and accurately implemented a set of prevention and control strategies and measures to ensure that the hard-won prevention and control results are consolidated.

  Experts from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that wearing a mask is still an effective way to stop the spread of the virus, and it is also applicable to the Omi Keron mutant.

In addition, it is necessary to wash hands frequently, ventilate the room, monitor personal health, and reduce unnecessary entry and exit.

  When dealing with imported delta mutants, many provinces in my country have effectively controlled the epidemic within a period of about one incubation period.

In this process, a lot of prevention and control experience was summed up, which can also be used to "counter" the Omi Keron mutant.

  According to the conclusion of the National Health Commission, these experiences include: focusing on the early, small, and basic, to improve the ability of epidemic prevention and early detection; after the outbreak, make full use of the golden 24-hour disposal time at the beginning of the epidemic, and give full play to the original situation. On the basis of the role of the detection team, further play the role of the circulation and supervision team; before the epidemic has spread, or the infected person does not have the ability to spread, find the close contact and sub-close contact, and control the possible infection in advance...

  "Adhering to the people's supremacy and life supremacy is the fundamental starting point and goal of all our prevention and control measures." Ma Xiaowei, director of the National Health Commission, emphasized that at this stage we will still adhere to the "dynamic reset" strategy.