Saturday, January 30, 2021

Genetic sequencing: U.S. lags behind in key tool against coronavirus mutations - The Washington Post

Genetic sequencing: U.S. lags behind in key tool against coronavirus mutations - The Washington Post: Ultimately%2C%20the%20country%20needs%20real-time%20data%20%u2014%20similar%20to%20the%20dashboards%20now%20used%20to%20track%20daily%20cases%2C%20hospitalizations%20and%20deaths%20%u2014%20to%20track%20variants%20and%20their%20prevalence%20across%20the%20country.%20While%20sequencing%20alone%20won%u2019t%20stop%20the%20spread%20of%20more%20dangerous%20variants%2C%20it%20gives%20the%20country%20warning%20and%20a%20chance%20to%20act%20as%20they%20become%20more%20prevalent.

Friday, January 29, 2021

We're trying to hit a moving target

Via Twitter:
Kai Kupferschmidt @kakape · 7h One important point to remember: It’s not really possible to compare efficay of mRNA vaccines to Novavax or J&J with current data. If mRNA vaccines were tested today in places with variants circulating their results might look very different. Or much the same. We don’t know.

The South African Coronavirus variant looks nasty

I'm not really clear if the efficacy rate corresponds to the new mutations or is describing the original Covid virus.
Novavax, which makes one of six vaccine candidates supported by Operation Warp Speed last summer, has been running trials in Britain, South Africa, the United States and Mexico. It said Thursday that an early analysis of its 15,000-person trial in Britain revealed that the two-dose vaccine had an efficacy rate of nearly 90 percent there. But in a small trial in South Africa, the efficacy rate dropped to just under 50 percent.
NYT, Novavax’s Vaccine Works Well — Except on Variant First Found in South Africa

We (and be "we" I mean smart scientists) need to do a lot more genomic sequencing to identify existing mutations of the Covid virus.

So we don't even know, at this point, how many variants of the virus exist and what threat they pose. I'm going to up my mask game.
Hotez told host Shep Smith that the new strains are even more problematic because “we haven’t been looking.” “We’ve been so profoundly underperforming in genomic sequencing, which is how we pick up these U.K, South African, Brazilian variants, so we know they’re in South Carolina, but they could be elsewhere,” said the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the U.K. variant, also known as B117, could be dominant in the U.S. by the spring. Hotez said that the key to protecting the population was vaccinating people at a quicker rate.
CNBC, "New Variants are Going to Hit us Pretty Hard"