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Covid news live: Scientists warn of variant ‘horrific’ mutations

All adults in France are to be offered Covid vaccine booster shots in a bid to curb the country’s fresh wave of infections and hospitalisations, it has been reported.

France’s Haute Autorite de Sante health regulator said it was backing the additional doses for those aged 18 and over, and that the interim period between full vaccination and the booster shots should be shortened to five months instead of six.

Two parliamentary sources told Reuters the government is preparing to approve the move.

Elsewhere, scientists have issued a warning over a Covid variant with an “incredibly high” number of mutations. It is feared that the B.1.1529, or Botswana variant – an off-shoot of the B.1.1 – could drive further transmission of the virus.

The first cases found were three in Botswana, followed by another six cases in South Africa, and one in Hong Kong involving a traveller returning from South Africa.


‘Real concern’

Generally, spike mutations allow viruses to adapt and become more virulent, and more able to evade natural and vaccine immunity.

Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, said the variant could be “of real concern” as its 32 mutations in its spike protein could enable it to more easily evade a person’s immune system and spread to more people.

My colleague Lamiat Sabin has more details below:

Matt Mathers25 November 2021 11:42

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