World New variant detected in baby in Washington

New variant detected in baby in Washington

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Illustration of a baby. – Pixabay

Doctors at a Washington hospital made a strange discovery in September 2020, while caring for a baby with Covid-19. His viral load was 51,418 times the average of those infected and he was showing particularly severe symptoms. As reported by Washington Post, however, children are usually much less affected by the disease.

Thirteen other cases

Another worrying news: the genetic sequencing of the samples taken from the subject showed the presence in his body of a hitherto unknown variant of the coronavirus, indicates a study published on February 10. The work, which is still awaiting validation from other scientists, mentions eight other patients with the same variant in the US states of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

The genetic similarities between these patients identified on a database seem to indicate that one and the same patient is at the origin of their contamination. The latter would also be from this part of the United States. Five more cases have been detected in Australia, Japan and Brazil.

Unclear consequences

The researchers’ observations are all the more important as children will be among the last segments of the world population to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Doctors in Washington, however, have not been able to determine with certainty whether the specifics of the virus detected in the baby is the cause of his very high viral load or if it is a coincidence.

They also said they were not sure whether his case was an inconsequential rarity or indicated the start of the global spread of a dangerous new variant. Thanks to the care provided at the hospital, the very young patient is in any case now fully recovered.

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