COVID variants could get around the human immune response. “Immune escape” could mean more people who have had COVID-19 could get reinfection and current vaccines may need an update.
UK Variant B.1.1.7 is spreading faster in the UK and other countries but a South Africa 501Y.V2 variant is also worrying experts. The South Africa mutations (E484K and K417N) change its surface protein, spike, and have been shown in the lab to reduce how well monoclonal antibodies combat the virus. A preprint paper by , Jesse Bloom, an evolutionary biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, showed that E484K reduced the potency of convalescent sera from some donors 10-fold. This does not mean a people’s immunity to the new strain drops 10-fold but immunity is impacted.
501Y.V2 virus contains nine spike mutations. It
rapidly emerged in South Africa during the second half of 2020, is largely resistant to neutralizing antibodies from people who already had other versions of COVID. New variants such as 501Y.V2 pose a significant re-infection risk.
The impact on the course of the pandemic is unclear. In Manaus, Brazil (2 million people), P.1 might have nothing to do with the new surge in infections. People’s immunity might just be weakening. It could be a combination of factors (weakening immunity and new mutated strains).
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine calculated that South Africa’s 501Y.V2 variant could be 50% more transmissible but no better at evading immunity, or just as transmissible as previous variants but able to evade immunity in one in five people previously infected.
Changes in the efficacy of vaccines and monoclonal antibody therapies targeting SARS-CoV-2 spike need to be closely monitored. Selection pressure from the widespread use of these interventions increases the potential for virus escape. A vaccine or antibody therapy that worked before could stop working if viruses mutate and matches the antibody CDR. This may also lead to Antibody Disease Enhancement (ADE).
Close attention to viral transfer from humans to farm animals and pets will be needed to prevent build-up of a viral reservoir for future zoonotic transfer.
If COVID mutates enough then the world could be looking at 2-3 more years of pandemic. Hygiene protocols will have to be maintained and improved. Virus filtering fans, eating outdoors, hand sanitizer usage and mask-wearing will need to be maintained. We likely will eventually need new vaccines that activate a T-cell response against the core of COVID instead of targeting the spike.
Biden has imposed a travel ban from South Africa. Biden on Monday is also reimposing an entry ban on nearly all non-U.S. travelers who have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe that allow travel across open borders.
Algorithms Designed to Study Language Can Predict Immune “Escape” Mutations for HIV, Influenza, and SARS-CoV-2 (Gen Eng News)
Biorxiv – Paired SARS CoV-2 Spike Protein Mutations Observed During Ongoing SARS-CoV-2 Viral Transfer from Humans to Minks and Back to Humans
Science – New mutations raise specter of ‘immune escape’
Biorxiv – SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 escapes neutralization by South African COVID-19 donor plasma
Los Alamos National Lab – Tracking SARS-CoV-2 Spike mutations
A SARS-CoV-2 variant carrying the Spike protein amino acid change D614G has become the most prevalent form in the global pandemic.
Nature Communications – SARS-CoV-2 spike-protein D614G mutation increases virion spike density and infectivity
Biden has imposed a travel ban from South Africa
SOURCES- Journal Science, Nature, Biorxiv, Gen Eng News, Los Alamos National Lab, Reuters
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.
37 thoughts on “New COVID Variants Can Reinfect Could Mean Years Fighting Mutated Pandemic”
They have at most spent a few $billion to work on COVID. The rest of the money was spent on COVID relief. Even when they were ordering the vaccines they were sweating over the the little bit of money the vaccines were going to cost. They order far fewer that what we will need.
We were fully aware of the danger COVID type viruses present. We had encounter SAR and MERS before. A pandemic task force was create that Trump blew away.
We should have spent more money researching COVID type viruses and developing vaccines and vaccines production capacity. We didn't. By the way, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines didn't come out of nowhere. The companies were working on the technology for many years.
All I am saying is to stop sweating the risk of wasting pennies when $Trillion and millions of lives are on the line.
I am glad, but I am going to keep my day job since I like to eat.
I totally agree. Once the initial safety test and dosage test were done they should have asked for volunteers to be vaccinated and infected instead of waiting for random events. I know people would say its cruel and inhumane but so is letting tens of thousand die when you already have a possible cure.
We need to get the vaccine into people. We are failing, some one should consider an ingested vaccine. That way it can be self administered kind of like the sugar cubes from long ago…
One should remind that escaping virus vector can only apear frequently if there are a lot of sick people replicating new virus particles, as soon that's over. ea enough people get vacinated on a global scale the spreading can be quickly over as well. less virusses mean less variations.
(problematic areas would be hard to solve, conflict areas for example).
I for one and probably 10s of thousands of others are rooting for it to mutate and wipe out about 3-4 billion people and if I'm one of them so be it. Crazy to root for but would solve a bunch of problems. I know whole bunch of issues would also be created, those would settle into a new normal in a decade. Europe got through what the black death did and it actually spurred innovation. This time around we would drastically cut the impact to the environment, property prices would go down I would think employment would go up, and may avoid resource wars can see a bunch of long term benefits. Do humans deserve being saved or not from this, I doubt humans deserve very much of anything.
I prefer the adenovirus vaccines and do not yet trust the RNA vaccines because we don't know the long term effects. The adenovirus vaccines can be dirt cheap and mixed in with the annual "flu shot" that many people already get.
They didn't spend 4 trillion to fight Covid , the spent that money to bailout institutions and rich people after destroying the economy.
Old style vaccines are dirt cheap and easy to make and they exist. A few billion USD a year could keep up with the vaccines and become a part of the annual "flu shot" that millions of people already get.
What are you talking about? The US has spent approx $4 Trillion responding to COVID, and this thing is no where near being over. Ready on the first day? How can anyone be ready on the first day? No one knows what virus is going to mutate into a lethal strain or when. And no 100k lives aren't lost on the first day. The virus that mutates only infects one host. Then it spreads. It takes days to weeks for it to spread to enough people for deaths to become significant.
And no were aren't spending 700 billion a year to fight WW3. We spend that on defense so we don't have to fight WW3. It's called preparedness and deterrence. Fools who decry defense spending are the same fools who appease aggressors (Munich 1938) and whine about military unpreparedness (Pearl Harbor 1941). As the old saying goes "if you want peace, prepare for war,"
Totally agree! So tired of all the weak, whiny, chicken littles.
Interesting, that I-Mask protocol…
Oddly, I'm taking the D, C, Quercetin and Zinc already – haven't had any problems at all.
Let's see how quickly the new administration can get a vaccine developed. Should prove interesting.
Now, get back into quarantine.
If the vaccines against the current spike protein are evaded by mutations in the spike protein, then GOOD. This will change its binding affinity/specificity. Eventually we'll drive it into being, essentially, a common cold.
Oh, suck it up. Compared to the polio epidemics within living memory, covid-19 is a day at the beach. Small pox was still a thing when I was a child. I have a scar on my shoulder from the vaccination.
Consider how many Americans die early from sedentary habits, compared to dying early from covid-19. If it weren't for normalcy bias, couches would be made illegal.
You made me laugh.
COVID shmovid, I don't care anymore. Live free, die hard.
The whole process takes too long, we shouldve tested on well paid volounteers, the death rate of bad testing would be lower than it is now. Happy this is not ebola 2.0.
We don't talk about infection and death rates from the Diamond Princess, it harshs the narrative about how deadly COVID-19 is. And such talk attacks the stellar job Dr Fauci and his crack scientific bureaucrats have done in the face of political opposition. </sarc>
The Diamond Princess is one of the missed data points from the early days of the outbreak, they spent more time emoting over the fate of the passengers than studying the demographics of the spread of the disease. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-cdc-response-speci/special-report-how-u-s-cdc-missed-chances-to-spot-covids-silent-spread-idUSKBN29R1E7?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Social
hhahah sarcasm or not im sure some people hands down agree with your observations
good catch there… its the uk variant of the wuhan virus
Vaccination is a proper approach to fighting COVID-19. I'd suggest that when you get past even 40% of a given population beyond with it's two doses necessary of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, you'll see transmission drop off dramatically. I'm not saying don't deal with senescence (it's a noble quest in the way of treatment of diseases of aging and health as I am a fan of Dr. James Kirkland at the Mayo Clinic following what he does on senolytics), but you don't want to not focus on vaccination (a key technology that has saved countless lives over 100s of years). See this model available at the end of Nov. 2020 at https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.11.27.20240051v2
And then extreme quarantaine measures for travel between planets.
In weekly "The Sky Is Falling…AGAIN!" News, viruses mutate. Ok so what are we suprised? 99.98% survival rate under 70. When are we getting charts showing homelessness, familial abuse, drug OD, suicide, deaths from untreated cancer, plotted to the COVID timeline???
Im REALLY curious.
Now that the RNA vaccine approach has apparently been proven to work, creating vaccines against new strains should be absurdly easy.
It all comes down to whether the medical regulators are committed to standing athwart the future crying, "Stop!". We should be able to stomp any new variants so fast your head will spin, the only question is whether we'll be permitted to, or face a deliberate future of medical security theater to excuse civil liberties violations.
I think the correct naming should be
The Chinees xx,xxx virus mutated to UK version xx.xxx.xx and the SA version xx.xx.xx etc.
It looks a littlebit award to mention all detected places and not mention the first place where it was found.
Men have to be worried about a decade earlier than women: https://www.epstrong.org/images/corona/results/chart-18.png
But obviously staying physically fit, having good nutrition, and having less alcohol and tobacco should help to protect one and probably keep them out of the hospital and the morgue.
I think alcohol is a big mistake. If you look at Utah, they have the third most cases per capita and a quarter the deaths per capita: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/
Wife & I are in our 80s and the people that sit in front and behind us in church have been infected with Covid but we were spared because we do the I-MASK Prophylaxis Protocol. Ivermectin is broadly antiviral but the vaccines are specific against Covid. We use both.
I think this is overblown. I am usually the one saying this is worse than you think, but in this case, I think this is too negative.
Yes, we need to be somewhat concerned about the South African and Brazilian strains. The UK one, I am not terribly concerned about. I think our vaccinations will be effective for the UK variant, and likely even effective for these other two strains. Maybe you will have some cold symptoms, nothing extreme. That is a guess on my part, but a reasonable guess. A vaccine does not have to be dead-on to have a large positive effect on an exposed person. Though, with symptoms, it is quite possible that it can spread.
The only real concern I have is for all the people terrified of getting vaccinated (conspiracies or whatever), or too self-assured to get vaccinated.
Go ahead, be picky. Get one you like, but get one when it is available to you. I am not giddy about the Adenovirus based vaccines, but I am going to get something.
I don't want to be hearing about people dying needlessly of Covid-19 two years from now. This anti-science stuff can kill you.
The monoclonal antibodies? Hardly anyone is even receiving these. You have to be rich or famous or a relative to one of the doctors or nurses. Maybe if you have a family member asking relentlessly for it for you…and early. Part of the problem is that you need it early to work, and there are so many people testing positive, they can't possibly get it to everyone, and it takes hours to administer observed.
And this is just one of the major reasons why continuing to confine human civilization solely to our planet of evolutionary origin is such– an extremely bad idea.
The late Stephen Hawking said it best:
“It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species,”
Not our H1N1 experience. My wife had a full face cough by (surprisingly!) a Chinese "gent." Born in 1966, she was sick for 2 weeks. I must have had some remnant immunity from the 1950's, and had a mild illness for a weekend.
I am still interested in the Diamond Princess experience- I would have expected an infection rate of about 95%, and a much higher fatality rate considering the demographic of the passengers.
Then we will take then antibodies from people who recovered from the new mutations. The emerging vaccines can be adjusted relatively quickly. We haven't rolled out rapid testing yet, used smartly and massively they can be a game changer. It is like the blitz, we will contain it in the end.
We must hide under our beds now!
Air travel aside things have settled down to a point where we could go forward with little change from today.
We'll want redesigned masks for daily wear. But as various muslim cultures have clearly demonstrated this is not even difficult.
Rebuilding pubs and restaurants and other public gathering place to be all outdoors.
Obviously burning all public transport and going back to private cars, but that was always a good idea anyway.
Culture will reverse course to teach us that lonesome, anti-social people are the good guys and gregarious, partyanimals who hug and kiss and have lots of friends are to be hated and feared. The Grinch was the hero of the story.
Those people living in bad climates and cities designed for public transport will learn to regret their poor choices.
This suggests that vaccination is not the proper approach to fighting COVID-19. May I suggest that reversing immune-senescence (by regenerating the Thymus gland) as a superior approach to dealing with COVID-19. http://interveneimmune.com/?page_id=1131
Approval of the updated vaccines must be faster.
Even a 1 year validation process is too slow for crushing the virus before new variants emerge.
Hopefully we will have the infrastructure in place to quickly response to any mutated virus. If we can spend $700 billion a year to fight WW3 hopefully we can spend $1 billion a year to respond to a new pandemic. And no, you can't respond to a pandemic like turning on a light. If you aren't ready on the first day 100K lives are already lost.
I have had H1N1. But I could come down with other bird flu variants. But I don't think I am getting H1N1 again.
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