The new Delta variant AY.4.2 of the coronavirus Sars-CoV-2, the mutant that worries the United Kingdom in these hours struggling with the covid, “has already arrived in Italy. In Brescia we have even seen 2 cases in a survey conducted at the end of August, and we were most likely the first to identify it. But since then we have more than 80 sequences deposited nationally. “Arnaldo Caruso, president of the Italian Society of Virology (Siv-Isv), full professor of microbiology and clinical microbiology at the University of Brescia and director of the Laboratory, announced this to Adnkronos Salute of microbiology of Asst Spedali Civili. “Most of the notifications took place from mid-October, but this – specifies the expert – depends on the fact that now there is the need to monitor it. And looking, of course, one finds “.
The number one of the Italian virologists is not frightened by the new mutant: “It is a variant that has very few additional mutations compared to the Delta” which is dominant in the world today, stresses Caruso. Compared to the ‘classic’ Delta, this new one “has only 3 extra mutated amino acids in the Spike protein” used by the Covid-19 virus to ‘hook’ target cells like a hook. “Mutations that – insists the specialist – do not even appear too interesting from a functional point of view”.
If some British experts hypothesize that the new Delta is 10% more transmissible than the ‘traditional’ Delta, “we have to see on what basis they say it – observes the president Siv-Isv – because the mutations that this variant shows are not, at least apparently , in no way implicated with the binding of “Sars-CoV-2” to the cellular receptor “.
“Of course – admits Caruso – we do not know if the new strain has particular mutations in the internal proteins, which substantially differentiate it from the Delta we know and perhaps give it more replicative strength. But at the level of external proteins it is not frightening”, precisely because, at least according to the information we have, the expert reiterates, “the known mutations of the new Delta should not alter the ability of the virus to enter” the target cells.
Furthermore, according to the president of the Italian virologists, the variant AY.4.2 “should not create absolutely any problem with regard to the effectiveness of the anti-Covid vaccines” available today.
“Its mutations – reassures the specialist at the head of Siv-Isv – do not affect the sites recognized by the neutralizing antibodies evoked by vaccines, so there shouldn’t be any kind of concern in this regard”.