What we know about new types of delta could lock up Israel

What we know about new types of delta could lock up Israel
A senior health official warned last week that a new tribe in the delta could force Israel closer to Israel.

Director of the International Relations Department at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Asher Shalomon told the Knesset’s Law and Constitution Committee, citing AY3, which is believed to have originated in South America and was first discovered in the United States.

Just two days later, the ministry announced that 10 cases of AY3 had been identified in Israel, eight among people who had recently returned from abroad and two who appeared to have contracted the infection in the country.

What do we know about AY3 and could it be the straw that broke the camel’s back and caused another Israeli closure?

“AY3 is a subtype of the delta variant, which falls under the category of what we call Delta-Plus variants,” said Professor Cyril Cohen, head of the Immunotherapy Laboratory at Bar Ilan University. “They all represent a mutation called 417, which is suspected of helping the variant escape the antibodies.”

All viruses tend to mutate constantly. While most mutations are unaffected, a combination of mutations can generate a new variant and cause the virus to produce a different protein. In the case of the coronavirus, the most important protein to consider is the spike protein, which is on the surface of the virus and allows it to enter host cells and cause infection.

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Variants are a concern when they increase the transmissibility of the virus because they tend to cause more severe symptoms or appear more resistant to antibodies.

“We saw that the strain was almost non-existent in the United States as of May, and now it accounts for about 13% of all cases nationwide, and in some individual states like Mississippi and Missouri, up to 43%-45% of all cases.” . Cohen.

When asked if he thinks the alternative has arrived in Israel and that the country is more at risk of closure, the professor said he thinks we haven’t reached that point yet.

“We need to closely monitor what is happening and see if it spreads in Israel,” he said. “We were in a similar situation with the original Delta: It was already in Israel in April, but it lay dormant until the number of cases suddenly started increasing in June,” he said.

Harel’s rescue flight brings back Israeli coronavirus patients from Iceland. (Credit: IMA – Medical Travel)

However, the problem Israel faces is that with 7,000 to 8,000 new virus carriers, the country is identified every day and is unable to perform genetic sequencing of all new cases, but only for a statistical sample, leaving health authorities unable to fully identify variants . can check.

“When we had fewer cases, we were able to solve almost all of them,” Cohen said.

As for how worried the variant would be if it spread, Cohen said it’s too soon to know because the information is still very limited.

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“My impression is that when it comes to antibody protection, it won’t be all or nothing, but rather we will maintain some form of protection even if the vaccine is less effective,” Cohen said.

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