Still Only One Coronavirus Strain and Progress to Treatments and Vaccines

The coronavirus is currently changing slowly. There are only about two dozen mutations.

There have been many reports of multiple strains of SARS-CoV-2. Virologists use the world strain as a label to the same group of samples. This does not mean they are functionally different. Strain can also refer to viral genotypes that are functionally distinct. Functional distinctness of strains requires more experimental, clinical and epidemiological data than is currently available. There is a hypothesis that there are two SARS-Cov-2 strains. These would be “D614” vs “G614”. This has not been proven. A study from China claims that people who got D614 have antibodies that do not protect them from the European G614. The D614G mutation may be responsible for increasing the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2.

Flu is still a concern and flu can also cause illness and death. There is concern that there is swine flu spreading in pigs in China. The new swine flu has not crossed over to humans butt there is worry that the Pandemic flu in pigs could become pandemic flu in humans.

There are over 133 [now 149] candidate vaccines. However, only one to two dozen are strong possibilities for getting proven in clinical trials and then scaled for treating large numbers of the public. The WHO lists all of the possible vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. There are 17 vaccines undergoing clinical evaluation. There are 132 undergoing pre-clinical evaluation.

The Milken Institute is tracking 172 Vaccine candidates and 257 COVID-19 treatments (as of June 26, 2020).

It appears that death rates for COVID-19 in hospitals are one-fourth what they were at the start of the pandemic. Doctors know more about how to treat the disease. They know that COVID-19 can thicken a victims blood. They give blood thinners to prevent deaths. They also have proven that an inexpensive steroid can reduce deaths by 20%.

The public and governments know that wearing face masks, social distancing and frequently cleaning hands can reduce the spread of the disease by 90%.

SOURCES- Nextstrain, Journal Science, Milken Institute, WHO
Written By Brian Wang,