Monday, November 29, 2021

New Concerning Variant: B.1.1.529 - by Katelyn Jetelina - Your Local Epidemiologist

This substack looks pretty good.

New Concerning Variant: B.1.1.529 - by Katelyn Jetelina - Your Local EpidemiologistB.1.1.529 has 32 mutations on the spike protein alone. This is an insane amount of change. As a comparison, Delta had 9 changes on the spike protein. We know that B.1.1.529 is not a “Delta plus” variant. The figure below shows a really long line, with no previous Delta ancestors. So this likely means it mutated over time in one, likely immunocompromised, individual (see my P.S. note at the end of the post).

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Covid News: Confirmed Omicron Cases in U.K., Germany and Italy - The New York Times

Covid News: Confirmed Omicron Cases in U.K., Germany and Italy - The New York Times

The virus is spreading faster than the journalism, which can't be good.

"“There’s been a window of probably about two weeks conservatively that this virus has been spreading,” Andrew Pekosz, an epidemiologist from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said in an interview on Saturday. It is likely the variant is already in New York, he said.
“There certainly is a chance that it has already spread globally, but we just don’t know yet,” Mr. Pekosz added.
European leaders, already struggling with a surge in Covid-19 cases that has made it once again the epicenter of the pandemic, tried to strike a balance between increasing caution and avoiding panic. But the virus would not cooperate."

Friday, November 26, 2021

Belgium confirms case of new, heavily mutated Covid variant

Belgium confirms case of new, heavily mutated Covid variant

You know how many blogs I read about the virus?  None.  I just let the Google News algorithm spoon feed me anxiety every morning.

"The B.1.1.529 variant contains 30 mutations to the spike protein that allows the virus to enter the body, scientist Tulio de Oliveira said Thursday during a briefing held by the South African Department of Health. The new strain has roughly 50 mutations in total, including 10 to the part of the virus that first comes in contact with cells.

The highly contagious delta variant, which the WHO says accounts for 99% of the world’s Covid cases, has just two mutations to the receptor binding domain.

Health officials caution that many of these mutations could lead to increased antibody resistance and transmissibility, limiting the effectiveness of Covid vaccines. The WHO convened a meeting Friday to determine how Covid therapeutics and immunizations might be affected by the new variant."

Thursday, November 25, 2021

WHO calls special meeting to discuss new Covid variant from South Africa with 'large number of mutations'

WHO calls special meeting to discuss new Covid variant from South Africa with 'large number of mutations'

<i>The B.1.1.529 variant contains multiple mutations associated with increased antibody resistance, which may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, along with mutations that generally make it more contagious, according to slides he presented at the briefing. Other mutations in the new variant haven’t been seen until now, so scientists don’t yet know whether they are significant or will change how the virus behaves, according to the presentation.

The variant has spread rapidly through the Gauteng province, which contains the country’s largest city of Johannesburg. 

“Especially when the spike happens in Gauteng, everybody travels in and out of Gauteng from all corners of South Africa. So it’s a given that in the next few days, the beginning of rising positivity rate and numbers is going to be happening. It’s a matter of days and weeks before we see that,” South Africa Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said during the briefing.</i>


The Google News algorithm served this up. It doesn't seem like anything to worry about, until it becomes something to worry about.

I don't think this virus is ever going away, and that we will see ourselves in videos from the past and feel nostalgia in its fullest sense--the pain from an old wound.



Monday, November 8, 2021

Pfizer says COVID-19 pill cut hospital, death risk by 90%

Pfizer says COVID-19 pill cut hospital, death risk by 90%:

On Friday, Pfizer released preliminary results of its study of 775 adults. Patients who received the company’s drug along with another antiviral shortly after showing COVID-19 symptoms had an 89% reduction in their combined rate of hospitalization or death after a month, compared to patients taking a dummy pill. Fewer than 1% of patients taking the drug needed to be hospitalized and no one died. In the comparison group, 7% were hospitalized and there were seven deaths.

“We were hoping that we had something extraordinary, but it’s rare that you see great drugs come through with almost 90% efficacy and 100% protection for death,” said Dr. Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, in an interview.

Does "high risk" include the elderly?  And what are the 20 percent side effects they're seeing?

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Scientists Find Gene That Doubles Risk of Dying From Covid-19 - Bloomberg

Scientists Find Gene That Doubles Risk of Dying From Covid-19 - Bloomberg: Researchers from the University of Oxford found that a higher-risk version of the gene most likely prevents the cells lining airways and the lungs from responding to the virus properly. About 60% of people with South Asian ancestry carry this version of the gene, compared with 15% of people with European heritage, according to the study published Thursday. The findings help explain why higher rates of hospitalization and death may have been seen in certain communities and on the Indian subcontinent. The authors cautioned that the gene cannot be used as a sole explanation as many other factors, such as socioeconomic conditions, play a role. Despite a significant impact from the virus to people with Afro-Caribbean ancestry, only 2% carry the higher-risk genotype.

I'm sure this will fuel speculation about the origins of the virus.

Identification of LZTFL1 as a candidate effector gene at a COVID-19 risk locus | Nature Genetics

Identification of LZTFL1 as a candidate effector gene at a COVID-19 risk locus | Nature Genetics: Genome-wide association studies identified the 3p21.31 region as conferring a twofold increased risk of respiratory failure. Here, using a combined multiomics and machine learning approach, we identify the gain-of-function risk A allele of an SNP, rs17713054G>A, as a probable causative variant.

I would love to see more research about our genetic susceptibility to Covid and its variants.  Perhaps in the future an algorithm will look at age, health, and genetics and select a specific vaccine.  Designer vaccines

New Concerning Variant: B.1.1.529 - by Katelyn Jetelina - Your Local Epidemiologist

This substack looks pretty good. New Concerning Variant: B.1.1.529 - by Katelyn Jetelina - Your Local Epidemiologist :  B.1.1.529 has 32 mut...