What Is The Covid
If you feel like there’s a new COVID-19 variant making headlines every day, you should know that the emergence of new strains is not unique to this virus in particular. In fact, every virus has the ability to change through mutation, and variants are to be “expected,” especially if a virus continues to spread through communities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while some strains will pop up and then disappear, others can persist, as evidenced by the global spread of the Delta variant.
The Lambda variant now makes up a majority of COVID-19 cases in Peru where it originated, explains Vivek Cherian, M.D., an internal medicine physician affiliated with the University of Maryland Medical System. It has since spread to other Latin American countries along with the United States, he adds.
Will Vaccines Still Work Against Variants
Current vaccines were designed for earlier versions of coronavirus, which means they may not be the ideal match for new variants and so might not work quite as well.
But experts say they are still very effective at protecting lives by cutting the risk of severe illness:
- An analysis by Public Health England found two doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine was more than 90% effective against hospitalisations for Covid-19 caused by Delta
- A single dose, however, was less effective at preventing illness from Delta, compared to how well it worked against Alpha.
Doctors say it is vital that people get both doses to gain maximum protection against existing and emerging variants.
What Is The Delta Variant
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has mutated , resulting in different variants of the virus. One of these is called the delta variant. The delta coronavirus is considered a variant of concern by the CDC because it appears to be more easily transmitted from one person to another. As of July 2021, delta is regarded as the most contagious form of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus so far.
Here is what you should know:
The CDC recommends that everyone wait until they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before traveling internationally. Traveling internationally if you are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 is not recommended, because it puts you at risk for coronavirus infection, including the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant. This includes unvaccinated children.
What Is The Source Of All These New Coronavirus Strains Is It The Covid19 Vaccines That Are To Blame
The major driver of novel coronavirus variations is a large number of new COVID19 infections.
The emergence of coronavirus variations has brought attention to the enormous impact evolutionary biology has on daily living. However, the mechanism by which mutations, random chance, and natural selection create variations is complex, and there has been a lot of misunderstanding about how and why new variants emerge.
The story of the peppered moth was until recently the most renowned example of fast evolution. The moths habitat was covered in soot by industries in Manchester, England, in the mid-1800s, and the moths typical white coloration rendered them apparent to predators. However, some moths have a mutation that causes them to become darker. They could escape predators and breed more than their white counterparts because they were better disguised in their new environment.
At the University of Pittsburgh, an evolutionary biologist and an infectious disease epidemiology collaborate to detect and regulate pathogen evolution. Weve been tracking how the coronavirus has gained different mutations throughout the world for the past year and a half.
How a virus mutates
Transmission is the important bottleneck
How do new variants emerge?
There Is No Truth In The Assertion That There Is A New Covid Strain In Singapore
The singapore health ministry said. Kejriwal urges centre to cancel flights immediately premium delhi chief minister arvind kejriwal 2 min read. In response, the singapore embassy explained that there is no "singapore variant". singapore called in india's envoy on wednesday to protest "unfounded" Responding to kejriwal's tweet, singapore's health ministry said, "there is no singapore variant. There is no truth in the assertion that there is a new covid strain in singapore. There is no truth in the assertion that there is a new covid strain in singapore. singapore rejects kejriwal's tweet on 'very dangerous' New covid strain in singapore: Air services with singapore to be canceled with immediate effect/ 2. Phylogenetic testing has shown this b.1.617.2 variant to be. Priority on vaccine options should be worked out for children too." In its update of the.
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What Other Variants Of Concern Have Been Identified In The Uk
It is common for viruses to mutate when they replicate. Few of these small, genetic changes lead to a more harmful infection.
As of 27 August 2021, there are five strains considered to be of concern by PHE, including the Delta and Alpha variants.
The UK Government has a deal with biopharmaceutical company CureVac to develop vaccines against future variants, and has pre-ordered 50 million doses.
About our expert, Dr Alicia Demirjian
Dr Demirjian is the COVID Incident Director at Public Health England . She is a clinician and epidemiologist, and trained at Boston Childrens Hospital in general paediatrics and paediatric infectious diseases. Demirjian works as a consultant at Evelina London Childrens Hospital alongside her work with PHE.
What Other Variants Have Been Identified In The Uk
As of 27 August 2021, there are five;strains considered to be of concern by PHE, including the Delta and Alpha variants.
The PHE are monitoring a total of 16 variants.
BBC Science Focus;has contacted PHE for a comment on the spread of Mu.
About our expert, Dr Paúl Cárdenas
Dr Cárdenas is an associate professor at the Institute of Microbiology in the University of San Francisco de Quito. He has a PhD in Genomic Medicine from Imperial College London, and has published several papers thoroughout the pandemic on the detection and spread of COVID variants.;
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‘twice As Fast’: Alarm As New Coronavirus Strain Detected
South African scientists say they have identified a new coronavirus variant that could be more transmissible than anything previously detected.
South Africas National Institute for Communicable Diseases released a new preprint study reporting the new variant of Covid-19, known as C.1.2 has mutated substantially from C.1, one of the strains which dominated the Covid infections in the first wave in South Africa.
The study showed an increase in the number of C.1.2 genomes found in South Africa, jumping from 0.2 per cent in May to 2 per cent in July. This is a similar rate to the increases in mutation seen in Beta and Delta strains in South Africa during early detection.
“C.1.2 is highly mutated beyond C.1 and all other VOCs and VOIs globally with between 44-59 mutations away from the original Wuhan Hu-1 virus,” the study wrote.
“We are currently assessing the impact of this variant on antibody neutralisation following SARS-CoV-2 infection, or vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa.”
The study also found that the C.1.2 lineage has a mutation rate of about 41.8 mutations per year, which is nearly twice as fast as the current global mutation rate of the other variants.
What Other Variants Are Being Monitored
In addition to the four variants of concern, there are also a number of “variants of interest.”
According to WHO, variants of interest include Eta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda and, most recently Mu.
First identified in the United Kingdom and Nigeria, the Eta variant is being monitored for its potential to reduce the effectiveness of some monoclonal antibody treatments, according to the CDC. So far, cases have not been identified in the U.S.
The Iota variant was first identified in New York. It is being watched for “reduced susceptibility to the combination of bamlanivimab and etesevimab monoclonal antibody treatment,” though it’s not clear what impact that would have as alternative monoclonal antibody treatments are available.
The lambda variant is not listed as a variant of interest by the CDC, but it is listed by WHO.
So far, the variant of interest has been detected in 29 countries, and it may spread more quickly than milder versions of the coronavirus.
Also known as C.37, the variant has been spreading rapidly in South America, particularly in Peru, where the earliest documented samples of the virus were detected in December 2020.
In its report in mid-June, the WHO reported that “lambda has been associated with substantive rates of community transmission in multiple countries, with rising prevalence over time concurrent with increased Covid-19 incidence” and that more investigations would be carried out into the variant.
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Potential To Spread Faster
Epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding said research indicated potential problems for vaccines.;
I have just gotten direct confirmation from my WHO colleagues that they are investigating and following up on the new C12 variant from South Africa, he tweeted.
Also note that C12 is already detected in England, Switzerland, Portugal, Mauritius, China, and New Zealand.
What does that mean? It means that C12 variant has somehow mutated so fast and far that it is now the furthest mutated variant found to date. It has mutated the greatest genetic distance from the original Wuhan 1.0 strain and implies potential troubles for 1.0 vaccines, he said.
It gets worse with C12. It has a 1.7x to 1.8x faster mutation rate than the average of all other variants. The authors note this coincides with the emergence pattern of other really bad VOC variants.
Consider this a hurricane warning on the next potential variant.”
NEW VARIANTa new #SARSCoV2 variant C.1.2 just identified in South Africa & several countries, with concerns it could be more infectious and evade vaccines. #C12 also has mutation rate that is nearly **twice as fast** as the rate of the other variants.
He added that there were concerns it could be more infectious and evade vaccines, quashing ideas that vaccines were to blame for the mutations in variants.;
“For those claiming vaccines are a major cause of these super bad variants – they are dead wrong.,” he wrote.
What Are The Symptoms Of The Lambda Variant
At present, there is nothing to suggest that the symptoms of infection with the new C.37, or Lambda, variant are different to other coronavirus strains.
The main symptoms of COVID-19, according to the NHS, are:
- a high temperature this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- a new, continuous cough this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste this means youve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
The NHS say that most people who have symptoms of COVID-19 will have at least one of the above.
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What You Need To Know
- If you are not fully vaccinated and 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
- In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
- Otherwise, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
Who All Are Vulnerable To The Third Wave
If a third wave hits India, Dr. Gangakhedkar believes cases will not increase across all states.Instead, he said “focal” outbreaks of COVID-19 infections will be happening in “areas where the first and second wave may have been less intense.”Those who are still not vaccinated, older individuals, and those with chronic morbidities are likely to be infected, he pointed out.
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Health Min Reports 10 Cases In Israel Of Ay3 Covid Strain A More Virulent Offshoot Of The Contagious Delta Variant
The Health Ministry reported today that the first ten cases of the AY3 coronavirus strain based on the Delta strain had been found in Israel. The AY3 strain is based on the Delta variant, from which a number of further mutations have been found, including several considered more “virulent.” Of those infected, eight had returned from abroad and two were infected inside Israel.
This week, a representative of the Health Ministry in the Knesset said of the strain that it “causes concern and will lead us to lockdown” and expressed concern about the possibility of it being discovered in Israel, since it is a variant with a high infection rate that can develop a resistance to the coronavirus vaccines.
The Health Ministry on Thursday morning reported that the number of severe coronavirus cases had reached 603.
At the same time, the Ministry reported that 7,856 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed on Wednesday, representing 5.50% of the coronavirus test results received.
There are currently 62,163 active coronavirus cases, and the country has so far seen 6,726 coronavirus deaths, including 17 who died on Tuesday and four who died Wednesday.
Nearly one thousand coronavirus patients are hospitalized, including the 603 who are in serious condition, of whom 149 are in critical condition, with 106 patients intubated.
Will Vaccines Still Work Against The Mu Variant
There is not yet enough evidence to say conclusively whether the Mu variant will be able to evade protection from coronavirus vaccines.
The lab-based study by experts in Rome tested the effectiveness of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine against the Mu variant, and found that despite several mutations in Spike, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.621 is neutralised by the vaccine-elicited antibodies. They note that the neutralisation, though effective, was lower than that of other coronavirus variants.
They say this highlights the importance of properly quarantining people after abroad travel to avoid spreading of newly emerging SARS-CoV-2 lineages to different countries.
However, a study published in;The Lancet Infectious Diseases on 13 August 2021 suggests that the Mu variant has two cases of a potential vaccine-escape.
They write that several of the spike mutations within Mu have been reported to show reduced neutralisation by antibodies.
The Mu variant was also found to have the same spike mutation that has been associated with a weakened vaccine response in the Beta variant.
The presence of mutations associated with vaccine escape might warrant reclassification of this variant to a variant of concern.
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Loss Of Taste And Smell
In May 2020 Public Health England; added anosmia;to the official;list;of Covid-19 symptoms, falling in line with the World Health Organisation .
Many people who contract the virus reported being unable to taste their food or smell things – this is known as anosmia.
Andrew Robson, ENT Consultant at North Cumbria Integrated Care said: It has been known for some time that viruses can cause anosmia, and this can last for considerable lengths of time.
“Anosmia also affects the sense of taste and is understandably quite distressing, affecting an individual’s appreciation of food and drink among other pleasurable scents.
This condition also potentially gives rise to dangerous situations, such as an inability to detect gas leaks, fire or spoilt food.
How Does The Lambda Variant Differ From The Delta Variant
Unlike a “variant of concern” such as Delta, Lambda is a considered “variant of interest,” which is “a term used when health officials closely monitor a specific variant because mutations possibly can affect the disease severity or transmissibility of that particular strain,” explains Dr. Cherian. “The Lambda variant is known to be more resistant to neutralizing antibodies compared to other strains, and there’s some evidence to suggest that it could be more infectious and resistant to vaccines.” So, while health experts are keeping a very close eye on all known variants of the coronavirus, there have not been enough Lambda variant-caused cases to determine whether the strain has the potential to be a Delta-level “variant of concern.”
“Relatively speaking, we don’t know too much about the Lambda variant at this time,” he says. “It certainly seems more transmissible than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus , but to what degree remains to be seen.” This is especially true in the U.S., where the prevalence of the strain is, in Dr. Cherian’s words, “minuscule” compared to the dominant Delta variant.
“The data strongly suggests that the Delta variant has higher viral loads and is more contagious compared to the Lambda variant,” explains Dr. Cherian. ” because the Delta variant is so contagious, it’s unlikely the Lambda variant will take over.”
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Are There Additional Covid
Bollinger says that as of now, none of the new coronavirus variants call for any new prevention strategies. We need to continue doing the basic precautions that we know work to interrupt spread of the virus, he says.
Ray concurs: There is no demonstration yet that these variants are biologically different in ways that would require any change in current recommendations meant to limit spread of COVID-19, he says. Nonetheless, we must continue to be vigilant for such phenomena.
Ray stresses that both vaccination and human behavior are important. It is striking to note that 99% of COVID-19 deaths are now occurring in unvaccinated people, when most adults in the USA have been vaccinated, he says. The more people who are unvaccinated and infected, the more chances there are for mutations to occur. Limiting the spread of the virus through maintaining;COVID-19 safeguards; gives the virus fewer chances to change.;It also reduces the spread of more infectious variants, if they do occur.
Vaccines are the medical miracle of 2020, but we need to re-emphasize basic public health measures, including masking, physical distancing, good ventilation indoors and limiting gatherings of people in close proximity with poor ventilation. We give the virus an advantage to evolve when we congregate in more confined spaces, he says.