Monday, January 18, 2021

Mutant coronavirus may be responsible for super-spreader outbreak in remote Chile

Cold and windy wilderness region is experiencing an unusually contagious wave of infections, much higher than in the capital city.

Other News

Jumlah kematian Covid-19 melepasi angka 600

3,339 kes baru, 2,676 dilaporkan sembuh.

Death toll crosses 600 with 240 in ICU

3,339 new cases, 2,676 recoveries.

Polis rampas dadah bernilai RM201 juta di Johor

Ia merupakan rampasan dadah terbesar menerusi serbuan di tiga stor penyimpanan di sekitar bandar di Johor.

Law minister denies emergency proclamation politically motivated

Law minister Takiyuddin Hassan says Covid-19 is a matter of life or death while the election is only an issue of winning or losing.

Mangsa banjir di Sabah meningkat, Pahang, Sarawak beransur pulih

Setakat 8 pagi ini di Sabah, jumlah mangsa banjir meningkat kepada 176 orang berbanding 122 orang malam tadi.

A wilderness region with only 1% of Chile’s population is suffering nearly 20% of the country’s total new Covid-19 cases.

The Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica Region, at the southern tip of South America, has been experiencing an unusually contagious second wave of infections in recent weeks. Hospitals are nearing full occupancy in the hard-hit towns and Chilean health ministry officials say they have begun evacuating sick residents from the rugged and isolated region to the capital, Santiago.

Experts say this unusually high rate of infection suggests that an especially virulent mutation might be at work in the small towns dotted among the glaciers of Patagonia, which have seen cases of Covid-19 spike in September and October following a first wave earlier this year.

“Earlier this week, the number of people testing positive in Magallanes was the same as in the capital, except that Magallanes has the lowest population density in the country, 170,000 versus eight million in Santiago,” said Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman, reporting from the Chilean capital, Santiago.

“Experts say there could be many reasons, including the weather, but they can’t rule out that a new strand of the virus is mainly to blame.”

Marcelo Navarrete of the University of Magallanes in regional capital Punta Arenas told Reuters that researchers had detected “structural changes” in the spikes on the distinctive, crown-shaped virus.

“The only thing we know to date is that this coincides in time and space with a second wave that is quite intense in the region,” he told Reuters. “Some variables such as cold and wind are associated with a higher rate of spread.”

Studies outside Chile have also indicated that the coronavirus can evolve as it adapts to its human hosts.

Scientists say the mutations may make the virus more contagious but do not necessarily make it more deadly, nor would they necessarily inhibit the effectiveness of a potential vaccine.

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/malaysianow

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

Covid-19 reaches the last continent

Research and military stations in Antarctica have gone to great lengths in recent months to keep the virus out.