New variant coronavirus: many challenges according to Dr Tayeb Hamdi

Morocco has recorded a first case of the new variant which has appeared in Great Britain, hence the fear that the Kingdom may experience more contamination from this new strain of virus in the coming days. In an interview with our colleague Amal Knin from the Arabic-speaking desk, Tayeb Hamdi, doctor and specialist and researcher in health policies and systems, explains the most important characteristics of this strain, as well as the challenges that its possible spread to Morocco.

When asked what were the challenges for Morocco which recorded a first case of coronavirus under a new strain, Dr Tayeb Hamdi said that, ” the case of the new strain of coronavirus discovered in the country is not the only case in Morocco, it is practically certain that there are others. If the necessary measures are not taken, this strain of virus will surely become widespread ”. And to emphasize, “It is difficult to control or monitor this mutant form of the virus strain by the old way of working. The cases will increase, multiply and put more pressure on resuscitation, and therefore we will register more deaths. Also continues Hamdi, ” all necessary measures must be taken so that we can stop this strain, or at least control it, until the vaccination of the citizens which will allow us to create a group immunity “.

What then are the measures to be taken?

The steps to be taken will say Dr. Tayeb Hamdi, “ start from the borders, like the other countries concerned. Once a country is declared to have spread the new strain, direct contacts should be discontinued until the epidemic is under control, of course intensifying surveillance, control and monitoring procedures. border examination “.

The latter according to the interlocutor, must be done not only by PCR, but also by adopting the new technique, to identify any type of virus, whether it comes from the new or the old strain. In Morocco, only three laboratories carry out this examination and a campaign has been launched among students to find out about the types of strains disseminated in the country.

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The spread of the virus must be limited by determining its spread map, and all Moroccans should be aware of this. Also, respecting the necessary precautionary measures, including wearing a bib, washing hands, respecting social distancing, avoiding gatherings and ventilating enclosed spaces, are all measures that will help us delay the spread of this new variant of the disease. virus », Adds the researcher.

How did this mutation come about?

And Dr. Hamdi to explain ” Viruses in their natural evolution usually have mutations. A virus is an organism that can live and reproduce in a cell, whether human or animal. Coronavirus can live by entering the human body, where it can reproduce. Changes can occur constantly. Sometimes these changes have no effect, while other times the opposite can happen and these mutations lead to a strain with new characteristics, so the virus becomes more dangerous, more widespread and more fatal. Mankind experienced this in the first half of the last century with the viruses of the Spanish flu, which in the second wave became a more deadly virus and targeted young people “.

What are the characteristics of the new strain?

The British strain had a change in its carcass, or ‘spike protein’, which gives the virus its coronary form, and through it it adheres to the surface of the human cell, so that it can stay there. enter. Unfortunately, changes have taken place in this protein and therefore the virus has new characteristics, including those of spreading faster, with an intensity of between 50 and 74%. ; For example, if a hundred people were infected with the old strain, the new strain would more or less infect up to 156 people “.

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The specialist doctor does not stop there and continues ” The new strain is not more aggressive than its previous one and therefore does not cause a more critical number of cases or deaths but it spreads faster and is also transmitted in young people and children with the same virulence as the old strain. Fortunately, this new strain does not affect vaccines “.

Before concluding “The symptoms are similar between the old and the new strain, the latter also causing coughs, headaches, fever, fatigue, muscle pain and diarrhea. While a large number of people will remain asymptomatic, like the first victim of the British variant which was discovered in Morocco, at the port of Tanger-Med “.

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