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

IronGiant

Moderator
I almost posted this earlier, but thought I would hang back:

Note 1 This doesn't necessarily mean the vaccines won't work.
Note 2 Don't forget T cells.
 

Mevlock

Member
South Africa hasn't yet seen an increase in the number of reinfections either.

If the new variant really was going to cause major problems they would expect to see quite a up tick above and beyond what they would expect to see just from a general rise in cases.

They haven't.... yet.

Testing anti bodies in the lab is just the first step in testing for immune escape. The human immune system is much more complicated than that. I read a really good twitter thread about why it MIGHT not result in reinfections. Forgot to bookmark though, I'll see if I can find it again.
 

SteveAWOL

Distinguished Member
A relief to hear that current mutations aren’t able to evade the antibodies induced by current vaccines.

 

acatweasel

Well-known Member
A relief to hear that current mutations aren’t able to evade the antibodies induced by current vaccines.

That’s good news. I would suggest it is a matter of time before it becomes something that can evade current vaccines. But if we can get vaccines distributed fast enough, maybe we can “end its line” and eliminate the current strains of this nasty little bugger, before it gets chance to evolve. Difficult to do.

Coronavirus shares too many characteristics with other RNA respiratory viruses (including the flu). Like the flu it is widely distributed across many animal families, can cross species divides and the current original strain is already mutating widely. Have you noticed they all look like WW2 mines?

The better news is we have a global effort to stop the thing. That’s never happened with flu vaccines, and I’m hoping we get better results. I reckon not having widespread vaccination against flu gives it more opportunity to “duck & dive” into more variants.
 

Nick74

Distinguished Member
The Brazilian variant looks concerning (at least according to ITV News).

1. There's growing evidence it reinfects people who've previously recovered from Covid-19.
2. It seems to affect younger people to a greater extent, in terms hospitalisation and mortality.

I've said it before, the more we allow the virus to propagate, the greater the risk of mutations that evade what defences we've built (including immunity acquired through recovery from Covid-19).

Looks like 2020 and 2021 are really bad years to have hard right libertarian ideologues in charge. I'm worried this thing has much further to go than the promise of vaccination indicated.
 

gangzoom

Well-known Member
That’s good news. I would suggest it is a matter of time before it becomes something that can evade current vaccines. But if we can get vaccines distributed fast enough, maybe we can “end its line” and eliminate the current strains of this nasty little bugger, before it gets chance to evolve. Difficult to do.

I also recon its a matter of WHEN not if the next mutation will appear that totally side steps all current vaccines + past exposure protection.

IF by chance the mutation is also associated with worse outcomes or the same the entire world would be back to Dec 2019 all over again.......So what do we do than? Accept life expectancy will now be closer to 70 something rather than 80 something, and even at 50 you're chance of death isn't insignificant?

Given the way us humans behave I cannot see a global vaccine program eliminating this virus like small pox. If anything the patchy vaccination roll out mighty simply increase the mutation rate as it introduces a new selective pressure.
 

acatweasel

Well-known Member
I also recon its a matter of WHEN not if the next mutation will appear that totally side steps all current vaccines + past exposure protection.

IF by chance the mutation is also associated with worse outcomes or the same the entire world would be back to Dec 2019 all over again.......So what do we do than? Accept life expectancy will now be closer to 70 something rather than 80 something, and even at 50 you're chance of death isn't insignificant?

Given the way us humans behave I cannot see a global vaccine program eliminating this virus like small pox. If anything the patchy vaccination roll out mighty simply increase the mutation rate as it introduces a new selective pressure.
We agree about most of it, but simply put the action we take isn’t enough. It still isn’t. New variants are arising and we aren’t taking the action to close them down.

The UK has waited until it’s too late before closing borders to South Africa and Brazil. Diplomats have been moaning about the action that they should have taken themselves, by isolating their own countries. If China had been honest in the beginning this would never have been that big a problem.

This statement might seem a bit weird, given the losses, but we aren’t serious enough about it. If we treated Ebola outbreaks like this, it would be in the UK. Track, trace, isolate, inoculate. The system we have is a joke.

The policy we have for vaccinating the vulnerable sounds nice, but it isn't the fastest way of stopping the spread. The best way to do that would be vaccinate the “front line“ as fast as possible, and anyone who really needed to travel (e.g. the wagon drivers bringing your food into the country).

I’ve said before in these threads, that it’s possible but we won’t achieve it. We need global leadership and coordination in a manner that no longer exists.
 

SteveAWOL

Distinguished Member
...
This statement might seem a bit weird, given the losses, but we aren’t serious enough about it. If we treated Ebola outbreaks like this, it would be in the UK. Track, trace, isolate, inoculate. The system we have is a joke.

The policy we have for vaccinating the vulnerable sounds nice, but it isn't the fastest way of stopping the spread. The best way to do that would be vaccinate the “front line“ as fast as possible, and anyone who really needed to travel (e.g. the wagon drivers bringing your food into the country).

I’ve said before in these threads, that it’s possible but we won’t achieve it. We need global leadership and coordination in a manner that no longer exists.

Will be interesting to see how Indonesia’s vaccine policy plays out...


 

Mevlock

Member

It's odd isn't it.

It's happening all over the world, in many places where lockdowns either aren't in place or aren't very restrictive at all.

Don't misunderstand me I'm not a lock-down sceptic or advocating for dropping restrictions here in the uk.

But it just shows how very little we understand how it spreads at the population level. Even if the underlying principles are known.
 

Philly112

Distinguished Member
It's odd isn't it.

It's happening all over the world, in many places where lockdowns either aren't in place or aren't very restrictive at all.

Don't misunderstand me I'm not a lock-down sceptic or advocating for dropping restrictions here in the uk.

But it just shows how very little we understand how it spreads at the population level. Even if the underlying principles are known.

Yes, have a look at India as well.
It will be interesting to see what happens in both countries over the next few months - RSA is approaching it's winter, and monsoons coming up in India in our summer (June onwards).
 

SteveAWOL

Distinguished Member
Professor Graeme Meintjes, second chair in the Department of Medicine at UCT, lead of CIDRI-Africa’s Clinical Platform and a co-investigator on the trial, said: “Vaccines currently being administered internationally are designed to generate immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein alone.

’’As already witnessed, the spike protein is mutation-prone, with variants 501Y.V2 and B.1.1.7 in this spike protein leading to higher transmissibility, increasing the urgency for a broader range of effective and safe Covid-19 vaccines to be available to the global population.

’’There is also now evidence for certain vaccines that protection against the 501Y.V2 variant is reduced. In light of this, we will likely need alternative or adapted vaccines that are safe and effective against all current and future variants.

“An additional protein in the SARS-CoV-2 virus is the nucleocapsid protein. The nucleocapsid protein appears to be much more stable over time and therefore has a lower risk of developing mutations that could risk vaccine failure.

Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong, said: “We are excited about the potential of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate, especially how it could solve the growing problem of new variants of the virus that have begun to appear. We are seeing these mutations around the world, causing serious outbreaks already in the United Kingdom and in my native South Africa. The mutations are occurring on the spike protein of the virus, which is why it’s vital to pursue a vaccine that does not rely solely on targeting the spike protein. Unlike those antibody-based vaccines, our T-cell-based vaccine candidate is intended to kill the infected cell to prevent the virus from replicating and could provide long-term memory to recipients that would not be affected by spike protein mutations.
 

acatweasel

Well-known Member


That’s interesting stuff. There is good reason for targeting the spike proteins though, as I understand it that‘s the best shot at creating antibodies that neutralise the virion. Targeting the virion body might be different.
As for targeting vaccines to different blood cells, I’m officially out of my depth. How we expect to second guess immune cell workings, I’ve no idea. Some reading to do.
 

richp007

Distinguished Member
That’s interesting stuff. There is good reason for targeting the spike proteins though, as I understand it that‘s the best shot at creating antibodies that neutralise the virion. Targeting the virion body might be different.
As for targeting vaccines to different blood cells, I’m officially out of my depth. How we expect to second guess immune cell workings, I’ve no idea. Some reading to do.

I happened across this earlier, may be of interest to the likes of yourself @SteveAWOL @starfarer

Not read it all yet myself.


Interesting titbit for anyone not reading it all -

vac.jpg
 

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