Coronavirus mutations - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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By Atlantis
#15148207
Scientists have always claimed that SARS-CoV-2 is relatively stable and that it doesn't mutate much. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't mutate at all. In fact, the greater the number of cases, the more mutations there are going top be.

The original L and S strains from China were replaced by the G strain from Italy in the spring, probably because it is more contagious and also because China used stringent controls to stamp out the virus.

While previous mutations were minor, the mutations we have seen in recent months are greater and can alter the virus' properties such as mortality or transmissibility. The British variant B. 1.1.7, which was first detected in Kent on September 20th, has 18 mutations that occurred in the same host, possibly a patient who was ill for weeks in which the virus mutated to evade an antibody therapy.

if antibody therapy is administered after many weeks of chronic infection, the virus population may be unusually large and genetically diverse at the time that antibody-mediated selective pressure is applied, creating suitable circumstances for the rapid fixation of multiple virus genetic changes through direct selection and genetic hitchhiking


8 of the 18 mutations in the British variant are in the spike protein, which docks the virus to human cells and which is also targeted by the new mRNA vaccines and by a number of vector vaccines. The B.1.1.7 variant has made the virus more transmissible so that it is now the dominant strain in the UK, from where it has spread to more than 40 other countries. Even if virus mortality is not increased, it will kill many more people because it spreads so rapidly. Despite containment measures, daily new infections in the UK have grown 4.5 times in a single month from around 15k to 68k.

Biontech/Pfizer have said that their vaccine is still effective against the new variant, but they have only conducted a small lab test against one of the mutations.

Mutation in SARS-CoV-2 Variant Does Not Affect Vaccine: Study

While the British variant spreads across the globe, new variants keep on popping up almost on a daily basis. The Danish mink variant doesn't seem to have spread, but there is a lot of concern about the South African variant, which is also more transmissible. It's still not clear if it doesn't evade the vaccines. There are also new variants in Nigeria, Brazil and the US, about which little is known at this point.

The virus has become constantly more transmissible and therefor also kills more people. Even if current variants don't evade vaccines, we don't know if the vaccines will have the same efficacy. With the exponential growth we see across the globe, it's just a matter of time before it evades vaccines or leads to reinfections.

It's a miracle that we got vaccines in less than a year, but the rollout of the vaccines won't be fast enough to halt the current exponential growth. More countries need to apply hard lockdowns to prevent further deaths and the rapid mutations which are bound to evade the vaccines sooner or later.
#15148224
Atlantis wrote:Scientists have always claimed that SARS-CoV-2 is relatively stable and that it doesn't mutate much. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't mutate at all. In fact, the greater the number of cases, the more mutations there are going top be.

The original L and S strains from China were replaced by the G strain from Italy in the spring, probably because it is more contagious and also because China used stringent controls to stamp out the virus.

While previous mutations were minor, the mutations we have seen in recent months are greater and can alter the virus' properties such as mortality or transmissibility. The British variant B. 1.1.7, which was first detected in Kent on September 20th, has 18 mutations that occurred in the same host, possibly a patient who was ill for weeks in which the virus mutated to evade an antibody therapy.



8 of the 18 mutations in the British variant are in the spike protein, which docks the virus to human cells and which is also targeted by the new mRNA vaccines and by a number of vector vaccines. The B.1.1.7 variant has made the virus more transmissible so that it is now the dominant strain in the UK, from where it has spread to more than 40 other countries. Even if virus mortality is not increased, it will kill many more people because it spreads so rapidly. Despite containment measures, daily new infections in the UK have grown 4.5 times in a single month from around 15k to 68k.

Biontech/Pfizer have said that their vaccine is still effective against the new variant, but they have only conducted a small lab test against one of the mutations.

Mutation in SARS-CoV-2 Variant Does Not Affect Vaccine: Study

While the British variant spreads across the globe, new variants keep on popping up almost on a daily basis. The Danish mink variant doesn't seem to have spread, but there is a lot of concern about the South African variant, which is also more transmissible. It's still not clear if it doesn't evade the vaccines. There are also new variants in Nigeria, Brazil and the US, about which little is known at this point.

The virus has become constantly more transmissible and therefor also kills more people. Even if current variants don't evade vaccines, we don't know if the vaccines will have the same efficacy. With the exponential growth we see across the globe, it's just a matter of time before it evades vaccines or leads to reinfections.

It's a miracle that we got vaccines in less than a year, but the rollout of the vaccines won't be fast enough to halt the current exponential growth. More countries need to apply hard lockdowns to prevent further deaths and the rapid mutations which are bound to evade the vaccines sooner or later.


The variation ratio of covid 19 is equal to the flu where there are only one or more consequential variants per year
By Atlantis
#15148360
Brandenski wrote:The variation ratio of covid 19 is equal to the flu where there are only one or more consequential variants per year


I doubt that there is only one consequential flu variant a year. It's more like the manufacturers try go guess the dominant strains ahead of each flu season and than design a vaccine that'll work with most of the likely variants. Anyways, SARS-CoV-2 is different from flu viruses in a number of ways.

Firstly, it's more deadly. Therefore greater interventions are required.

Secondly, it is not as seasonal as flu viruses. It continued to spread all year round even during the summer. If you are worried about the flu in my part of world, you get a flu shot in November. That'll give you reasonable protection until about April. For the rest of the year you don't have to worry about the flu. That's going to be different with Covid19.

The good news is that the new mRNA vaccines can be redesigned in about 7 weeks to adapt to new mutations.
By Atlantis
#15148498
There has been the first case of reinfection with the new B.1.1.7 variant in the UK. A man who was first infected with the wild version of the virus on April 2nd, and who had tested negative multiple times after recovery, was infected with the new variant in December, eight months after the first infection.

England has reported the first confirmed case of reinfection with the “more contagious” coronavirus variant which was first discovered in the UK. According to David Harrington, who works at the NHS in London, the case involved a 78-year-old man with significant underlying health conditions, but with no history of immunosuppression.

The man presented with fever while undergoing haemodialysis on April 2 and tested positive for COVID-19, but was discharged home and had an uneventful recovery. He continued to be routinely tested while undergoing haemodialysis and tested negative 22 times between May 5 and December 1. Antibodies were detected on 6 occasions between May 5 and December 1 with no evidence of antibody waning.

The patient developed shortness of breath in mid-December and he was rushed to hospital on December 14 when his condition worsened. “He was brought in by ambulance in extremis, very short of breath and unable to talk, with severe hypoxia, leading to emergency intubation,” Harrington said. The man was admitted to ICU with severe pneumonia, which was complicated by a heart attack. The man’s current condition has not been released.

“The [whole genome sequencing] results confirm reinfection with a different lineage 8 months after initial infection in the absence of significant immunocompromise. The reinfection was with the ‘new variant’ VOC202012/01,” Harrington said. He noted that the variant has raised questions about possible immune escape and vaccine evasion, but emphasized that more research is needed. (Source)


VOC202012/01 was the initial designation given to the B.1.1.7 variant. VOC is short for Variant of Concern.

There is also a report about a reinfection with the South African variant in Brazil.

SA variant detected in reinfection case in Brazil, first such incidence in the world
By Atlantis
#15149495
Just as we are about to beat the pandemic with vaccines, the virus starts to mutate.

The UK strategy of delaying the 2nd shot by 12 weeks or more will result in numerous partially immune patients in which the virus can mutate to evade the vaccine. That could set us back to square one.

More infectious coronavirus variants will emerge, disease expert predicts

Highly contagious strains already detected in several countries including UK and South Africa

Highly contagious new variants of coronavirus will emerge more frequently and spur further infection waves such as those threatening to overwhelm hospitals in the UK and South Africa, one of the world’s leading infectious disease experts has warned.

Salim Abdool Karim, chairman of South Africa’s Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee, also said it was too early to know the extent to which existing vaccines would provide immunity to the new variants.

Scientists around the world have been alarmed by the rapid spread of the new 501.v2 variant first detected in South Africa and the equally infectious B.1.1.7 variant that has led to a recent surge in cases in the UK. Other variants have emerged recently in Brazil and Japan.

Prof Abdool Karim, the epidemiologist who led South Africa’s fight against HIV/Aids, explained that viruses evolved as they infected people with partial immunity in order to escape recognition by their antibodies.

We’re going to see this occur more commonly now than in 2020, as we vaccinate and as more people are infected,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times.

The epidemiological finding of increased transmissibility was supported by “biological evidence showing the 501.v2 variant binds more readily and more strongly to human cells”, added Prof Abdool Karim.

Image

The Sars-Cov-2 virus that causes Covid-19 has mutated once or twice a month on average since appearing in humans in late 2019. But the variants detected in South Africa and the UK carry about 20 mutations, where previous ones had been associated with one or two significant genetic changes.

Greater numbers of mutations can cause the behaviour of the virus to change more extensively. The variants that originated in the UK and South Africa are both about 50 per cent more infectious than previous forms of the virus, although neither is thought to cause more severe symptoms.

Another question is how the variants interact with the human immune system, in particular whether they reduce the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines. “We’ll have an answer within the next two weeks or so but we don’t know yet,” Prof Abdool Karim said of the 501.v2 variant.

Antibodies from people who have recovered from Covid-19 were less effective against the new variant, Prof Abdool Karim said, but “the way in which T-cells and the B-cells function is quite different in vaccine immunity. I wouldn’t extrapolate from natural immunity to vaccine immunity.”

Less is known about the new variant of Sars-Cov-2 detected in Brazil after scientists sequenced 180 viral genomes from the state of Rio de Janeiro.

Researchers from Brazil’s national genomic surveillance network identified a “significant increase” in cases of the variant that “raise concerns about public health management” in a country with more than 200,000 Covid-19 deaths, the second-highest number of fatalities after the US.

Carolina Voloch of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, lead author of a preprint paper about the variant, said that samples taken from Rio state showed it increased in frequency from zero in September to 20 per cent by November.

“For now we can’t say it’s more contagious. What we can say is there’s an increase in the frequency of this lineage,” said Dr Voloch.

Japanese authorities also detected a new variant in four passengers who arrived from Brazil on January 2. It is related to the B.1.1.248 variant of the virus circulating in Brazil, and shares some of the same mutations as the UK and South African variants, according to Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

But Emma Hodcroft, a viral geneticist at the University of Bern who monitors the evolution of Sars-Cov-2, said: “It doesn’t look as though these four cases from Japan are part of the larger Brazilian cluster.”

She agreed that conditions in 2021 were likely to favour the evolution of more variants with multiple mutations, as a larger proportion of people were infected and evolutionary pressure on the virus increased.

A modelling study by scientists at Emory and Penn State, published in Science journal on Tuesday, suggested the evolutionary path for Sars-Cov-2 would eventually lead to a less virulent “endemic” virus, joining the ranks of other mild cold-causing coronaviruses that currently circulate in humans.

“We’re in uncharted territory but . . . immunological indicators suggest that fatality rates and the critical need for broad-scale vaccination may wane in the near term, so maximum effort should be on weathering this pandemic,” said Ottar Bjornstad, a Penn State professor.

Prof Abdool Karim also made the point that the selective pressure for all viruses was to “become more transmissible and less pathogenic over time”.
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