Thursday, February 25, 2021

California covid variant B.1.427/B.1.429 is more transmissible, studies show - The Washington Post

California covid variant B.1.427/B.1.429 is more transmissible, studies show - The Washington Post But evidence from other countries suggests that highly transmissible variants can be suppressed through public health interventions, such as mask-wearing, social distancing and restrictions on gatherings, and by broadening immunity through vaccination campaigns. “Fundamentally, it doesn’t change the direction we are going, which is we want to hold cases down to where we can get the pandemic under control. Simply having a more infectious variant circulating is not going to be the end of the world,” said Charles Chiu, a professor of laboratory medicine and infectious diseases at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, and the senior scientist behind the new research.

The NYC pathogen reports are not based on solid science

The NYC pathogen reports are not based on solid science: "This wasn't even a 'pre-print' - I was asked to provide comment on someone's draft manuscript that still had tracked changes and didn't include the figures. Based on this, the NYT wrote a story. This is an absolute mess," Nathan Grubaugh, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health, wrote on Twitter.

Like the South African variant, the Brazilian variant does have the mutation that makes it more infectious, and it also has the E484K mutation

The Immune Escape Strain “This made the hair on my neck stand up,” Brooks said. Like the South African variant, the Brazilian variant does have the mutation that makes it more infectious, and it also has the E484K mutation, which raises the unsettling possibility that “it could possibly overcome the vaccine, and it may reinfect.” He compares the coronavirus to the flu or the common cold, which are constantly changing, dodging the body’s immune system. Gregory Armstrong told me of an experiment to determine how many mutations it would take to create what is known as an “immune escape” strain. “They grew it up in tissue culture from a generic sars-CoV-2 in dilute convalescent sera,” he said. “They were eventually able to grow one that had three mutations that conferred almost complete resistance” to the antibodies in the survivors’ blood.

Moderna Announces it has Shipped Variant-Specific Vaccine Candidate, mRNA-1273.351, to NIH for Clinical Study | Moderna, Inc.

Moderna Announces it has Shipped Variant-Specific Vaccine Candidate, mRNA-1273.351, to NIH for Clinical Study | Moderna, Inc.

A New Coronavirus Variant Is Spreading in New York, Researchers Report - The New York Times

A New Coronavirus Variant Is Spreading in New York, Researchers Report - The New York Times Patients infected with virus carrying that mutation were about six years older on average and more likely to have been hospitalized. While the majority of patients were found in neighborhoods close to the hospital — particularly Washington Heights and Inwood — there were several other cases scattered throughout the metropolitan area, said Dr. David Ho, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University and a co-leader of the study. “We see cases in Westchester, in the Bronx and Queens, the lower part of Manhattan and in Brooklyn,” Dr. Ho said. “So it seems to be widespread. It’s not a single outbreak.” The team also identified six cases of the variant that pummeled Britain, two infections with a variant identified in Brazil, and one case of the variant that took over in South Africa. The latter two had not been reported in New York City before, Dr. Ho said.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

California coronavirus strain may be more infectious—and lethal

California coronavirus strain may be more infectious—and lethal: Other data suggest the variant is more contagious. The scientists found that people infected with the variant harbored about twice as much virus in their noses, an index of viral shedding, which may make them more infectious to others. In the lab, viruses engineered to carry a key mutation found in the variant were better than control viruses at infecting human cells and lunglike structures called organoids. And in one nursing home where the variant took hold, it spread severalfold faster than in four other nursing home outbreaks caused by other viral variants. “The evidence is growing that this [variant] is more transmissible than [its] immediate competitors,” although not as transmissible as some other variants of concern, says William Hanage, an expert on viral evolution at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (Variants of concern are coronaviruses with mutations that make them more likely to spread, evade vaccines, or make people sicker.)

Friday, February 19, 2021

A COVID-Vaccinated Summer Could Be Wonderful - The Atlantic

A COVID-Vaccinated Summer Could Be Wonderful - The Atlantic Variant strains that increase the transmissibility of the virus could also throw these estimates off, Shaman noted. As the virus mutates, the reliability of immunity from prior infections also changes. The recent outbreak in Manaus, Brazil, suggested that even high levels of past infection didn’t necessarily protect a population for long. Fundamentally, we still do not know how herd immunity will work—if it even does. “The most important thing to remind ourselves of is that herd immunity is only relevant to consider if we have a vaccine that blocks transmission,” says Shweta Bansal, a biologist at Georgetown University. If it turns out that vaccinated people can still carry and spread the virus, then a group cannot assume that they are protected because people around them are vaccinated. It would mean that the finish line is not 70 percent, but 100.

A COVID-Vaccinated Summer Could Be Wonderful - The Atlantic

A COVID-Vaccinated Summer Could Be Wonderful - The Atlantic Until very recently, Anthony Fauci had been citing August as the month by which the U.S. could vaccinate 70 to 80 percent of the population and reach herd immunity. Last week, he suddenly threw out May or early June as a window for when most Americans could have access to vaccines. Despite some concerns about new coronavirus variants, Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told me that he doesn’t see viral mutation as a reason to expect that most people couldn’t be well protected within that time frame.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The next pandemic? It may already be upon us | Infectious diseases | The Guardian

The next pandemic? It may already be upon us | Infectious diseases | The Guardian: In the view of American physician and AMR activist John Rex, we need new anti-infectives at a rate of between two and four a decade, and this is now looking achievable. He’s excited that he no longer has to explain the problem to finance ministers – at least not to all of them – and that proof now exists, in the form of a clutch of Covid-19 vaccines, that the world can react swiftly when it grasps the scale of the threat. But this is a race that will never be over, and to stay ahead we have to up our game.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

What Will More Coronavirus Variants Mean For The U.S.? : Consider This from NPR : NPR

What Will More Coronavirus Variants Mean For The U.S.? : Consider This from NPR : NPR There's evidence of at least seven U.S. variants of the coronavirus, while another that emerged from the U.K. is poised to become the dominant strain here by the end of March. One adviser from the Food and Drug Administration tells NPR there's a tipping point to watch for: when a fully vaccinated person winds up hospitalized with a coronavirus variant.

The Next Pandemic: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) - YouTube

The Next Pandemic: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) - YouTube:As COVID-19 continues to spread, John Oliver discusses what could cause the next pandemic, what we can do to avoid it, and why you shouldn’t kiss pigs.

Covid-Linked Syndrome in Children Is Growing and Cases Are More Severe - The New York Times

Covid-Linked Syndrome in Children Is Growing and Cases Are More Severe - The New York Times: Doctors across the country have been seeing a striking increase in the number of young people with the condition Braden had, which is called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or MIS-C. Even more worrisome, they say, is that more patients are now very sick than during the first wave of cases, which alarmed doctors and parents around the world last spring. “We’re now getting more of these MIS-C kids, but this time, it just seems that a higher percentage of them are really critically ill,” said Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. During the hospital’s first wave, about half the patients needed treatment in the intensive care unit, she said, but now 80 to 90 percent do.

New UK Coronavirus Variant - Covid Updates

New UK Coronavirus Variant - Covid Updates: The sudden appearance of a large group of mutations in an otherwise slow mutating virus is concerning and raises the question of how it might have occurred. The working hypothesis is that it came from a single infected individual. This person was likely immuno-compromised (due to some unrelated condition) and sustained a long-term severe infection from SarsCoV2. This would provide the right environment for a wide range of mutations to develop. At some point, the patient was likely treated with Convalescent Plasma and/or Remdisvir. This cleared most of the more normal variants of the virus but left a more highly resistant and more aggressive strain behind that then fully re-infected the patient. And at some point, this variant got spread to other individuals and became a new highly contagious wildtype.

Mental Health Problems and Social Media Exposure During COVID-19 Outbreak by Junling Gao, Pinping Zheng, Yingnan Jia, Hao Chen, Yimeng Mao, Suhong Chen, Yi Wang, Hua Fu, Junming Dai :: SSRN

Mental Health Problems and Social Media Exposure During COVID-19 Outbreak by Junling Gao, Pinping Zheng, Yingnan Jia, Hao Chen, Yimeng Mao, Suhong Chen, Yi Wang, Hua Fu, Junming Dai :: SSRN:Our findings show there are high prevalence of mental health problems, which positively associated with frequently SME during the COVID-19 outbreak. These findings implicated the government need pay more attention to mental health problems, especially depression and anxiety among general population and combating with “infodemic” while combating during public health emergency.

Covid: CDC director says lifting mask requirements is a mistake

Covid: CDC director says lifting mask requirements is a mistake:

A coronavirus variant with a mutation which 'likely helps it escape' antibodies is already in at least 11 countries, including the US

A coronavirus variant with a mutation which 'likely helps it escape' antibodies is already in at least 11 countries, including the US: This newly-reported variant carries the E484K mutation. This mutation was also found in the B.1.1.7 variant that originally was detected in the UK, and the B.1.351 and B.1.1.28 variants that emerged from South Africa and Brazil respectively. The fear is that this mutation could help the vaccine escape from neutralizing antibodies. Professor Ravi Gupta, a clinical microbiology expert from the University of Cambridge, said that apart from the E484K, the variant also carries another mutation "that likely helps it escape from our antibodies", The Irish Times reported.

Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science | CDC

Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science | CDC : Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the viru...