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Centaurs, new strain of covid-19: it is ‘possibly more contagious’ but ‘no evidence’ it causes serious illness

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There is a new strain of the Ómicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is especially known to the scientific community. This sub-variant of the virus, named BA.2.75, was first detected in India in early May and is present in at least ten other countries, including the UK, US, Germany, Canada and Australia.

Although “it is not yet possible to understand the clinical impact” of the new variant, since it has recently emerged, it is “perhaps more contagious” than the strains of the virus that have been identified so far, notes Thiago Correia, professor. International Public Health at the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine of the University of Nova de Lisbon (IHMT-UNL). He adds that Centaurus, as it has been nicknamed, represents “many more mutations” compared to BA.5, the sub-variant that caused the latest wave of infections in Portugal.

On the other hand, the specialist says, “there is no evidence that it is associated with a more severe infection.” If so, then the “scheme” that the Ómicron variant suggests is confirmed with “increasingly transmissible” strains and an increased risk of re-infection, but no clinical consequences and no hospitalizations.

The specialist emphasizes that new strains and mutations of the virus are detected in the laboratory almost weekly. However, he acknowledges that BA.2.75 deserves special attention, especially as it has been identified in countries that do not share common borders. “There is no geographic proximity. That alone is of interest.”

On July 7, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) classified BA.2.75 as an “under surveillance variant”. The World Health Organization is also monitoring the new strain, although it noted that there are not enough samples yet to assess its severity.

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Manuel Carmo Gómez, an epidemiologist and professor in the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Lisbon, emphasizes that “there is currently no evidence” that BA.2.75 is associated with serious illness and an increased risk of hospitalization. It was classified as “important as it has a set of relevant mutations common to BA.2”, which became dominant in Portugal in March of this year, “and other new ones”.

Sub-options will continue to appear. Until there is a “new epidemic wave”

Although it has been found in several countries, BA.2.75 “does not play a very important role in Europe,” the epidemiologist emphasizes, adding that he is not aware of any cases in Portugal. However, he expects that the Ómicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 to which this new lineage belongs “continues to evolve in terms of more sub-variants with the ability to evade antibodies” provided by vaccination and infection. myself.

And among these new options, “it is likely that there will be one that will elude all the immunity that people have and cause a new wave of the epidemic,” Manuel Carmo Gomes also foresees. “We just don’t know when it will happen and how serious the situation will be at that moment.”

In view of this, it is necessary to ensure that the population most at risk, namely the elderly, immunocompromised patients and healthcare workers, continue to be “protected” by vaccines, the epidemiologist defends.

Thiago Correia also emphasizes that new variants and strains of the virus “will continue to emerge.” “Most importantly” is to understand the impact of these findings on the vaccinated population and accordingly “evaluate whether vaccination protocols should be changed and/or other vaccine approaches should be adopted.”

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“These debates will continue in cycles,” he says, noting that “we are going backwards.” “It means living with the virus and understanding how it changes and the impact of these mutations on the health of the population.”

Infections and deaths with a “declining” trend in Portugal

In Portugal, the BA.5 strain of the Ómicron virus remains dominant, which appeared in the country in mid-May and “is perhaps the most dangerous strain of all, as it has an extraordinary ability to evade antibodies.” At the end of June, it accounted for 96% of infections, explains Manuel Carmo Gomes, adding other data on the epidemiological situation in Portugal.

He points out that cases of infection have a “decreasing trend” after reaching a peak on May 20, when 27,500 cases were reported. This drop is happening “in all regions of the country” and “spreads across all ages”, which “leads us to believe that the number of infections will continue to decline in the coming days.” The average number of cases per day is currently 7650.

The number of deaths is also on a downward trend, with an average of 17 deaths per day in Portugal. In late May, early June, when there was the peak of infections, there were an average of 40 deaths per day. The US and countries such as France, the UK and Germany are seeing a “worrisome” increase in infections and hospitalizations, mostly related to the BA.5 lineage, the epidemiologist describes. “Having passed through Portugal, the BA.5 is now invading the US and Europe.”

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The Russian army announced the destruction of 45,000 tons of Ukrainian weapons sent by NATO

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“In the city of Voznesensk, Mykolaiv region, an arsenal was destroyed, which stored 45,000 tons of ammunition supplied to the Ukrainian army by NATO,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, quoted by EFE.

According to the Russian authorities, the country’s aviation inflicted more than 300 casualties among Ukrainian defenders.

“Consequences of the attack of the Russian Air Force on the temporary deployment of units of the 72nd mechanized brigade in an agricultural company in the city of Artemovsk (Russian name Baimut, in Donetsk) numbering up to 130 military personnel and eight pieces of equipment and armored vehicles. were destroyed,” Konashenkov said.

He added that “after a strike with high-precision missiles” on the 95th Airborne Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the city of Dzerzhinsk (Toretsk, in Russian, in Donetsk), up to 70 servicemen were destroyed, three artillery pieces and three vehicles were destroyed.

The Ministry of Defense also added that in the Yarkovsky district in eastern Ukraine, the Russian Air Force shot down more than 100 personnel of the 3rd brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine on the territory of a thermal power plant.

“Due to heavy losses, the Zelensky regime [presidente ucraniano] is taking steps to strengthen troops in the Donbass,” Konashenkov said.

According to a Russian official, this forced the Ukrainian authorities to send newly mobilized civilians to the front, who made their debut as part of the 72nd mechanized brigade in the city of Bila Tserkva, south of Kyiv.

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Monkeypox: national tourist was the first case identified in the Azores and traveled to Porto before lockdown ends – News

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The Regional Health Authority said in a statement that “the case was discovered in the municipality of Ponta Delgada on the island of San Miguel and the local health delegation immediately took all the procedures indicated in this context.”

The man claimed to have had “contact in Ponta Delgada, with family members and with his partner residing in San Miguel (tested negative in the last few hours)”, with the Ponta Delgada Health Delegation “determining home isolation” in both cases and physical distancing from other people until all injuries are healed.”

“The person who tested positive was notified of the result on Friday evening, but reported that he had already traveled, also on Friday, from Ponta Delgada to Porto, from where he would soon return to Paris, the city where he officially lives and works. “, – reports the regional health authority, adding that the man has been in San Miguel since July 26.

The regional health authority notified the national authorities of the case so that they could follow it up in the north of the country.

The number of confirmed cases of monkeypox virus infection in Portugal has risen to 710, of which 77 were detected in the last week, the Directorate General of Health (DGS) said.

All regions of continental Portugal and the autonomous region of Madeira reported cases of human infection with monkeypox virus, of which 509 (82.5%) were in the Sanitary Region of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo.

Of the many cases reported to the Epidemiological Surveillance System, the majority are in the 30 to 39 age group and are male, according to the DGS, with four female cases now, two more than a week old.

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The presence of the monkeypox virus in Portugal was first detected three months ago on May 3rd, DGS recalls in a weekly report with data collected up to August 3rd.

Portugal continued on August 2, according to WHO, in the group of 10 most affected countries in the world: the United States of America (5,175), Spain (4,298), Germany (2,677), Great Britain (2,546), France (1,955). , Brazil (1369), the Netherlands (879), Canada (803), Portugal (633) and Italy (479).

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Ukraine: UN agency ‘extremely concerned’ about risk of ‘nuclear holocaust’ – Newsroom

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“I am extremely concerned about yesterday’s explosions [sexta-feira] the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, highlighting the very real risk of a nuclear catastrophe that threatens public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond,” Grossi warned in a statement released in Vienna, believing that “we are playing with fire.”

Moscow and Kyiv today accused each other of compromising the safety of Europe’s largest Zaporskaya nuclear power plant.

Grossi recalled that, according to the Ukrainian authorities, there was no damage to the reactors and no radiation release, but there were damages to other parts of the nuclear power plant.

The head of the UN nuclear energy agency considered endangering a nuclear power plant “completely unacceptable” and argued that military strikes against it were “playing with fire” and could have “potentially catastrophic consequences.”

“I strongly and urge all parties to provide maximum deterrence in the vicinity of this critical six-reactor nuclear facility,” he wrote.

Grossi again offered the IAEA the opportunity to conduct an on-site verification and “prevent the situation from getting further out of control.”

In June, the IAEA director expressed his readiness to visit the Russian-controlled plant, but Ukraine sharply criticized these plans, saying that the trip of the Argentine UN representative could be interpreted as legitimizing the Russian occupation.

The diplomat insisted that the mission was “decisive” to stabilize the situation at the nuclear power plant.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, through a video message, accused Russia of “recreating an extremely dangerous situation for the whole of Europe”: “they bombed the Zaporskaya nuclear power plant twice.”

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Moscow, which has controlled the facility almost since the early days of its military campaign in Ukraine, disputed the claims, calling Kyiv, for its part, a promoter of “nuclear terrorism.”

“Ukraine’s attacks on nuclear facilities can be qualified under international law as acts of nuclear terrorism,” Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev said on the Telegram social network.

Pro-Russian authorities in the Zaporizhia region, partly occupied by the Russian army, yesterday accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the nuclear power plant and damaging power lines and industrial buildings at the plant.

The attack led to the closure of one of the nuclear units after a power outage.

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