Covid-19 mutations and new strains. How concerned should we be?

Nick74

Distinguished Member
In recent days we've learned of Covid-19 transmission between humans and mink species, producing a new strain that could evade vaccines reaching end of trial.

If this can happen with one species, it can surely happen with others. Battery farming practices are widespread. Such conditions seem likely (to me) to enable new viruses to contaminate human populations. Chinese wet markets aren't exclusively sites of contagion.

How concerned should we be?
 

IronGiant

Moderator
We have no evidence yet that any of these new variants and strains can definitely evade the vaccines. So I wouldn't be too concerned yet.
Regarding your second point, increasing animal welfare is to be applauded for whatever reason.
 

richp007

Distinguished Member
He needs a good kicking to be honest. A country's own health minister doing that. Putting millions into Tier 3 and also just popping out with, "oh and there's a new strain of the virus as well." Which really is looking like nonsense. But even if it isn't there was no need to sow panic seeds about it the way he did.

He's been slammed from all sides this evening, the numpty should be resigning. Maybe he'll shed some fake tears on TV again though tomorrow.
 

JimmyMac

Distinguished Member
It was quite possibly one of the single worst pieces of disinformation and at the worst possible time. People are sceptical enough about the vaccine. To then state this was mind boggling and he needs to come out with an explanation so that people understand that this does not mean the vaccine is suddenly useless
 

gaaron

Active Member
He needs a good kicking to be honest. A country's own health minister doing that. Putting millions into Tier 3 and also just popping out with, "oh and there's a new strain of the virus as well." Which really is looking like nonsense. But even if it isn't there was no need to sow panic seeds about it the way he did.

He's been slammed from all sides this evening, the numpty should be resigning. Maybe he'll shed some fake tears on TV again though tomorrow.
Oh you're cruel :(
I thought he was stifling laughing tears.
 

gaaron

Active Member
It was quite possibly one of the single worst pieces of disinformation and at the worst possible time. People are sceptical enough about the vaccine. To then state this was mind boggling and he needs to come out with an explanation so that people understand that this does not mean the vaccine is suddenly useless
I watched the briefing. I didn't think it made the vaccine useless.
 

JimmyMac

Distinguished Member
Possibly because you are sensible

Social media shows just how it’s impacted a lot of people sadly
 

koeman

Well-known Member
I think he's just used poetic license to try and up the fear with London now going Tier 3. Nothing to worry about.
 

lillmap

Standard Member
The new strain bears watching. But not getting overly concerned for now. Now that we know how to make effective vaccines it will likely not be difficult to modify the vaccine platform to cover the new strain/mutation, if it comes to that. New strain/mutations are not unusual for virus and bacteria. Flu virus mutates quite often that is why there is new flu vaccine formula every year.
 

SteveAWOL

Distinguished Member

Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty said:
‘As announced on Monday, the UK has identified a new variant of Covid-19 through Public Health England’s genomic surveillance.
As a result of the rapid spread of the new variant, preliminary modelling data and rapidly rising incidence rates in the South East, the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) now consider that the new strain can spread more quickly.
We have alerted the World Health Organisation and are continuing to analyse the available data to improve our understanding.
There is no current evidence to suggest the new strain causes a higher mortality rate or that it affects vaccines and treatments although urgent work is underway to confirm this.
Given this latest development it is now more vital than ever that the public continue to take action in their area to reduce transmission.”
 

Mevlock

Member
Even the BBC are acknowledging that right now we don't know for sure that the new variant is more infectious.

It's a guess based on the fact that in some rapidly rising areas of infection the new variant has come out on top and is edging out the old one.

However there are other explanations for rising rates and it could just be blind luck, possibly due to superspreaders, that the new variant has spread more in some areas.

We'll just have to wait for the scientists in the lab to do a proper analysis.
 

lee667

Distinguished Member
Should only be concerned if the vaccines don't work against it.

Here's the thing though, with the yearly flu jab there's usually a couple of strains in there, are with looking at covid vaccines with 3 or 4 strains combined? And if so could this have health implications for some people?
 

IronGiant

Moderator
No more than for the flu jab. And don't forget, influenza is a family of viruses, so they are all very distinct from an antibody recognition point of view. The different variants of Corona virus are more like identical twins, for now. IIRC, Corona has an unusually compact genetic code, so a limited ability to vary.
 

GoingGoingGone

Distinguished Member
As well as any concern over the new strain add knock on effects on how other countries treat the UK because of the new UK strain.
France’s decision to block lorries arriving from the UK for 48 hours in response to the emergence of a new strain of Covid-19 will have a “devastating effect” on the supply of food and other consumer goods to Britain, industry representatives have warned.
France's Covid ban on lorries from UK 'will devastate supply chain'
 

Mevlock

Member
This is my concern, we really need to see some lab data to confirm whether or not this new variant really is more transmissible.

There's nothing wrong with using modelling and putting big chunks of the country into tier4 is probably the right thing to do right now just in case.

But I'd really like to see some actual hard science used to confirm or disprove what they think is happening.
 

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