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Tracking B.1.1.7
Evidence mounts: a new coronavirus variant is more transmissible

That may mean stricter lockdowns lie ahead

https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2020/12/23/evidence-mounts-a-new-coronavirus-variant-is-more-transmissible

20201226_blp909.jpg

VIRUSES reproduce abundantly, and with imperfect fidelity, so mutations are commonplace among them. Most such mutations, though, have little or no effect on how a virus spreads or how deadly it is. And, until recently, SARS-CoV-2, the covid-19 virus, has been no exception to that rule.

Regrettably, this seems to be changing. A new variant of the virus, known as B.1.1.7, is spreading rapidly through Britain, and local scientists estimate that it is about 50% more transmissible than other variants currently in circulation. The British authorities are therefore rushing into action to try to limit its spread. Those parts of the country where B.1.1.7 is most prevalent, including London, went into lockdown on December 20th. But cases have been turning up elsewhere, and more areas will be locked down from December 26th. More than 50 countries, moreover, have closed their borders to arrivals from Britain. Some parts of Europe are admitting only those who can show evidence of a recent negative test.

At the moment, only a few cases of B.1.1.7 are known from places other than Britain—though it has turned up in Australia, Denmark, Iceland and the Netherlands. Many experts think, however, that it is already circulating more widely than that. It is likely Britain rang the alarm bell first because it has a well-organised system for sequencing the genes of viral samples taken from patients. About 10% of virus-positive samples are so sequenced, compared with either about 1%, or none at all, in most other European countries. According to Thomas Connor of Cardiff University, in the past week alone more samples have been sequenced in Wales (population 3m) than in France (67m) during the entire pandemic. Similarly, one estimate suggests that America has sequenced only about 40 samples since the beginning of December, compared with more than 3,700 in Britain.

It is not yet clear whether B.1.1.7 causes symptoms that are any more severe than those induced by its longer-established cousins. Studies to answer this question are under way, but encouragingly hospital-admission data in B.1.1.7 hotspots do not imply that the new variant is making people more ill.

Researchers in Britain are also looking for further evidence that B.1.1.7 is more contagious than previous strains—and, if so, why. The two factors which currently suggest its greater contagiousness are its speed of spread and the details of its mutations.

That B.1.1.7 has spread faster than older versions of SARS-CoV-2 in those parts of Britain where infections have been rising unusually rapidly seems certain. It accounted, for example, for 62% of new infections in London in the week ending December 9th, up from 28% in early November. It has also accumulated an exceptionally large number of mutations—23 of them, only six of which are silent (meaning they make no difference to the final composition of the proteins encoded by their parts of the virus’s genome).

Yet more worryingly, both laboratory and animal studies have found that some of the 17 non-silent mutations in the new variant make it better at infecting cells, at making more copies of itself once it enters those cells, and at evading antibodies originally generated by the immune system during infections with other variants.

Perhaps the best evidence that B.1.1.7 is more contagious, though, is that those infected by it have higher viral loads—that is, they have more virus particles in their throat and nose swabs—than people infected by other variants. The role of viral load in contagiousness was, until recently, based on supposition rather than evidence. But a new study in Britain of about 30,000 infected people and their close contacts shows that the likelihood of someone with SARS-CoV-2 infecting others increases steadily with viral load.

Reinforcing this point, researchers from South Africa, which also has an efficient covid-19 genome-sequencing programme, have found that a fast-spreading variant detected there also has an unusually high number of mutations and shares one in particular with B.1.1.7. The South African variant is also linked to higher viral load, and has been suggested by researchers as a reason why the epidemic there has accelerated. Several countries have also banned travellers from South Africa.

A big worry with the emergence of B.1.1.7 and similar variants is whether they may reduce the effectiveness of covid-19 vaccinations. Several of the changes in B.1.1.7 are in the gene that encodes “spike”, a protein found on the surfaces of coronavirus particles which they use to enter cells. Spike is the target of the first covid-19 vaccines. But these vaccines stimulate immune reactions to parts of the protein not affected by those mutations. There is a broad consensus among experts that vaccines already in use against SARS-CoV-2 will be effective against the B.1.1.7 variant, at least until large numbers of people are vaccinated. At that point, however, natural selection will begin to favour mutations which evade the vaccine’s effects.

In the meantime, a lurking fear is that far stricter measures than have been employed previously will be needed to slow the spread of covid-19 wherever B.1.1.7 lands. All eyes are on Britain, where results from the current lockdown in London and other hotspots will provide, over the next couple of weeks, a rough idea of how much such lockdowns can achieve. If these measures fail to bend the epidemic curve downward, hospitals everywhere may have to brace themselves for yet another wave of covid-19 patients.

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Guys, i just want to say, take care of yourselves and your families during this horrible pandemic, stay safe always and God bless you all. Hug 🙏💪👊

In the US people queue up to buy guns. In the Netherlands thousands of people were today queueing to buy weed before all coffee shops (and restaurants, cafes etc.) closed down at 6pm and will remain s

Good article - history shows governments are really slow to withdraw big brother state apparatus and surveillance when emergencies are over. Theyre also quite keen for everyone to have the Covid

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3 hours ago, Vesper said:

e0ac537a6cee5707386fe2cd1c239f04.png

Tracking B.1.1.7
Evidence mounts: a new coronavirus variant is more transmissible

That may mean stricter lockdowns lie ahead

https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2020/12/23/evidence-mounts-a-new-coronavirus-variant-is-more-transmissible

20201226_blp909.jpg

VIRUSES reproduce abundantly, and with imperfect fidelity, so mutations are commonplace among them. Most such mutations, though, have little or no effect on how a virus spreads or how deadly it is. And, until recently, SARS-CoV-2, the covid-19 virus, has been no exception to that rule.

Regrettably, this seems to be changing. A new variant of the virus, known as B.1.1.7, is spreading rapidly through Britain, and local scientists estimate that it is about 50% more transmissible than other variants currently in circulation. The British authorities are therefore rushing into action to try to limit its spread. Those parts of the country where B.1.1.7 is most prevalent, including London, went into lockdown on December 20th. But cases have been turning up elsewhere, and more areas will be locked down from December 26th. More than 50 countries, moreover, have closed their borders to arrivals from Britain. Some parts of Europe are admitting only those who can show evidence of a recent negative test.

At the moment, only a few cases of B.1.1.7 are known from places other than Britain—though it has turned up in Australia, Denmark, Iceland and the Netherlands. Many experts think, however, that it is already circulating more widely than that. It is likely Britain rang the alarm bell first because it has a well-organised system for sequencing the genes of viral samples taken from patients. About 10% of virus-positive samples are so sequenced, compared with either about 1%, or none at all, in most other European countries. According to Thomas Connor of Cardiff University, in the past week alone more samples have been sequenced in Wales (population 3m) than in France (67m) during the entire pandemic. Similarly, one estimate suggests that America has sequenced only about 40 samples since the beginning of December, compared with more than 3,700 in Britain.

It is not yet clear whether B.1.1.7 causes symptoms that are any more severe than those induced by its longer-established cousins. Studies to answer this question are under way, but encouragingly hospital-admission data in B.1.1.7 hotspots do not imply that the new variant is making people more ill.

Researchers in Britain are also looking for further evidence that B.1.1.7 is more contagious than previous strains—and, if so, why. The two factors which currently suggest its greater contagiousness are its speed of spread and the details of its mutations.

That B.1.1.7 has spread faster than older versions of SARS-CoV-2 in those parts of Britain where infections have been rising unusually rapidly seems certain. It accounted, for example, for 62% of new infections in London in the week ending December 9th, up from 28% in early November. It has also accumulated an exceptionally large number of mutations—23 of them, only six of which are silent (meaning they make no difference to the final composition of the proteins encoded by their parts of the virus’s genome).

Yet more worryingly, both laboratory and animal studies have found that some of the 17 non-silent mutations in the new variant make it better at infecting cells, at making more copies of itself once it enters those cells, and at evading antibodies originally generated by the immune system during infections with other variants.

Perhaps the best evidence that B.1.1.7 is more contagious, though, is that those infected by it have higher viral loads—that is, they have more virus particles in their throat and nose swabs—than people infected by other variants. The role of viral load in contagiousness was, until recently, based on supposition rather than evidence. But a new study in Britain of about 30,000 infected people and their close contacts shows that the likelihood of someone with SARS-CoV-2 infecting others increases steadily with viral load.

Reinforcing this point, researchers from South Africa, which also has an efficient covid-19 genome-sequencing programme, have found that a fast-spreading variant detected there also has an unusually high number of mutations and shares one in particular with B.1.1.7. The South African variant is also linked to higher viral load, and has been suggested by researchers as a reason why the epidemic there has accelerated. Several countries have also banned travellers from South Africa.

A big worry with the emergence of B.1.1.7 and similar variants is whether they may reduce the effectiveness of covid-19 vaccinations. Several of the changes in B.1.1.7 are in the gene that encodes “spike”, a protein found on the surfaces of coronavirus particles which they use to enter cells. Spike is the target of the first covid-19 vaccines. But these vaccines stimulate immune reactions to parts of the protein not affected by those mutations. There is a broad consensus among experts that vaccines already in use against SARS-CoV-2 will be effective against the B.1.1.7 variant, at least until large numbers of people are vaccinated. At that point, however, natural selection will begin to favour mutations which evade the vaccine’s effects.

In the meantime, a lurking fear is that far stricter measures than have been employed previously will be needed to slow the spread of covid-19 wherever B.1.1.7 lands. All eyes are on Britain, where results from the current lockdown in London and other hotspots will provide, over the next couple of weeks, a rough idea of how much such lockdowns can achieve. If these measures fail to bend the epidemic curve downward, hospitals everywhere may have to brace themselves for yet another wave of covid-19 patients.

More fear mongering, of course it did, they knew this all along. This whole thing stinks, how did they make the vaccine so fast? These matters take at least 5-7 years in order to make a vaccine, when did they isolate the virus? When did they purify it? Cuz you cant make a vaccine without doing those 2 first and it takes alot of time. Why did the US ask for a sample from China when they seemingly have countless infected, they could just take their blood sample and be done with it.

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28 minutes ago, Atomiswave said:

More fear mongering, of course it did, they knew this all along. This whole thing stinks, how did they make the vaccine so fast? These matters take at least 5-7 years in order to make a vaccine, when did they isolate the virus? When did they purify it? Cuz you cant make a vaccine without doing those 2 first and it takes alot of time. Why did the US ask for a sample from China when they seemingly have countless infected, they could just take their blood sample and be done with it.

the reason it went so fast is that they had been working already on a coronavirus vaccine for ages before this

they already knew that a key way to attack was the go after the spike proteins

not everything in life is a conspiracy theory

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watching US news all morning

it is just staggering the hubris, arrogance, selfishness, ignorance, and arrogance of tens of millions of Americans who are flying all over the US and the world for Christmas

million of potential coronaviral ticking time bombs

I see zero chance the yanks get this under control

so many (of all races) said that COVID-19 is not dangerous, just a flu, or an outright hoax

some of these were in an airport in Florida where a person just died from COVID whilst waiting for a flight, ffs

there was a group who were being arrested for refusing police orders in the airport to put on masks

it is absolute madness

a giant collective psychosis

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24 minutes ago, Vesper said:

the reason it went so fast is that they had been working already on a coronavirus vaccine for ages before this

they already knew that a key way to attack was the go after the spike proteins

not everything in life is a conspiracy theory

And the fact every single major health/medical/and scientific organisation across the globe were working on the same thing. 

Mad people would be against the vaccine. I don't get it.  Call me selfish, but once this vaccine is distributed to the public, I will be going on with my daily life. Done living like this and if you refuse to take it based on your religion, beliefs, morals, or BS conspiracy theory attempts, you should feel fine then if someone coughs on you. 

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10 minutes ago, Vesper said:

the reason it went so fast is that they had been working already on a coronavirus vaccine for ages before this

they already knew that a key way to attack was the go after the spike proteins

not everything in life is a conspiracy theory

Did they now, how conveninet.....why wasnt corona so deadly when it came about all those decades ago? Suddenly it has taken over the world and bang the vaccine is ready in 6months. In any case im out, take care.

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25 minutes ago, Atomiswave said:

Did they now, how conveninet.....why wasnt corona so deadly when it came about all those decades ago? Suddenly it has taken over the world and bang the vaccine is ready in 6months. In any case im out, take care.

SARS (a coronavirus) was far more deadly but not as easily transmitted

and again, it was not just 6 months and never before have you had so many different firms and governments and quangos. etc working on a vaccine- Literally thousand of different entitles.

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30 minutes ago, MoroccanBlue said:

And the fact every single major health/medical/and scientific organisation across the globe were working on the same thing. 

Mad people would be against the vaccine. I don't get it.  Call me selfish, but once this vaccine is distributed to the public, I will be going on with my daily life. Done living like this and if you refuse to take it based on your religion, beliefs, morals, or BS conspiracy theory attempts, you should feel fine then if someone coughs on you. 

agree completely

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6 minutes ago, Vesper said:

SARS (a coronavirus) was far more deadly but not as easily transmitted

and again, it was not just 6 months and never before have you had so many different firms and governments and quangos. etc working on a vaccine- Literally thousand of different entitles.

Really? Sad they cant come together to rid us of all diseases then.....it is what it is Vesper. Lets see what the future holds.

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Los Angeles tracking to 500,000 to 600,000 NEW cases in the next 4 weeks or so

they are already maxed out on ICU space

thousands of patients turned away, and will be turned away, many will die

fucking madness

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On 24/12/2020 at 1:53 PM, Atomiswave said:

More fear mongering, of course it did, they knew this all along. This whole thing stinks, how did they make the vaccine so fast? These matters take at least 5-7 years in order to make a vaccine, when did they isolate the virus? When did they purify it? Cuz you cant make a vaccine without doing those 2 first and it takes alot of time. Why did the US ask for a sample from China when they seemingly have countless infected, they could just take their blood sample and be done with it.

Ten reasons we got Covid-19 vaccines so quickly without 'cutting corners'

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Wisconsin health worker 'deliberately spoiled 500 Covid vaccine doses'

Investigation launched after medical centre says worker admitted leaving doses out of refrigeration

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/31/wisconsin-health-worker-deliberately-spoiled-500-covid-vaccine-doses

Police and federal authorities in the US are investigating after a Wisconsin health centre said an employee admitted to deliberately spoiling 500 doses of coronavirus vaccine.

Aurora medical centre, in Grafton, first reported that the doses had been spoiled on Saturday, saying a staff member had accidentally left them out of refrigeration overnight. On Wednesday, however, it said the doses appeared to have been spoiled deliberately.

Police in Grafton, about 20 miles (32km) north of Milwaukee, said the department, the FBI and the Food and Drug Administration were investigating the case.

Police said they were notified of the alleged tampering on Wednesday night, but that no other information would be immediately released. They declined to say if any arrests had been made.

In a statement late on Wednesday, Aurora said the employee involved “acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration”. Aurora said it had fired the person in question and referred the matter to the authorities. The statement said nothing about a possible motive for the action.

“We continue to believe that vaccination is our way out of the pandemic. We are more than disappointed that this individual’s actions will result in a delay of more than 500 people receiving their vaccine,” the statement said.

 

Batshit Crazy GIFs | Tenor

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4 minutes ago, Special Juan said:

Should be the whole country

Definitely. I dont see the difference between London Tier 4 and other places that are Tier 4. Cases are all super high so would make sense.. I dont get why before Christmas there was a massive fuss made about Greenwich wanting to close. They shouldve done! Madness to make then stay open.

They'll probably announce more the day before they're due back. 

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