Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the entire planet has had to learn to deal with the threat of the coronavirus – extremely contagious and dangerous. Since then, numerous safety measures, vaccines and drugs have been developed to combat the infection. However, a problem continues to challenge the scientific community: the mutations of the virus. And new, now, is the centaur variant.
Technically named BA.2.75, this coronavirus subvariant has been classified as a “second-generation” variant, as it is derived from the Omicron subvariant BA.2. And that’s her biggest problem.
According to an analysis carried out by the Netherlands Institute of Public Health (RIVM, its acronym in Dutch), the Centaur variant tends to “escape” more easily from the accumulated protection against the coronavirus (vaccines and previous infections), than other mutations. This new mutation is believed to have originated from immunocompromised people, who remained infected with Covid-19 for more than two weeks.
In an interview with New Zealand’s Stuff news portal, virologist Jemma Geoghegan, a professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand, said that this type of “second generation” mutation is dangerous for two reasons. One because of the evident potential to be able to better evade antibodies. And another for, theoretically, increasing the ability of the virus to bind to human cells.
Shay Fleishon, a researcher at the Central Laboratory of Virology at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, said on his Twitter account that the situation is worrying, even if the Centaur variant stops spreading.
What I’m taking from this is that If (and it’s a huge if) BA.2.75 will not outcompete BA.5, then a BA.2.12.1 2nd gen might, as this option is clearly on the table. Like in those 3 samples (different patients) from the US, with 2 NTD&2 RBD mutationshttps://t.co/uzgj22Cf1Mpic.twitter.com/AHSWGpmvux
— shay fleishon 🧬 (@shay_fleishon) July 19, 2022
“The fact that such a divergent second-generation variant succeeds between hosts [pessoas infectadas por mais de duas semanas] it’s alarming. This means that if BA.2.75 [variante Centauro] doesn’t succeed, and even if it does, other second-generation ones may grow better over time,” he said.
To date, the Centaur variant has been identified and genetically sequenced in 11 different countries: India, Australia, Japan, Canada, the United States, Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Israel, Russia and the United Kingdom.
The recommendation to protect yourself from the Centaur variant, for now, is the same as for other strains of the coronavirus. Maintain social distance, avoid agglomerations, wear masks, take care of hygiene and take all doses of the vaccine.