“There’s no country that has attained herd immunity to SARS-CoV-2. And, certainly, there are countries with different levels of vaccination. I mean, some countries have over 60 percent of their population fully vaccinated. There are also countries that have had natural exposure to the infection at very high rates. But it hasn’t extinguished the pandemic. We’ve always seen surges even after that. And I think that reflects several factors.
One, I think natural immunity can wane over time. And I think the durability of that immunity does depend on the severity of original infection. When infections are mild and asymptomatic, we can have at least weighting of neutralizing antibodies and how that correlates with waning immunity. We don’t know yet, but we know that re-infection, or the getting infected again with the virus, either the same variant or another variant, are far more common than we originally thought. Although there is protection, even over longer duration of time, it’s not absolute.”
** One of just a handful of people on Earth who seems to understand the existential threat that Sars-CoV-2 poses
“Learning to live with Covid” will be coming to your country soon. Be prepared.
The global death toll from Covid-19 almost tripled in one day yesterday. The global death toll had been averaging around 6,000 – 8,000 cases for the past week, but yesterday that figure rocketed to over 22,000.
It seems that Ecuador accounted for a large proportion of those new deaths, jumping from just a handful over the past week to over 8,000 deaths in one day, but that is not the entire story. India saw a sudden massive leap in deaths, as did many other countries. It’s almost as if Sars-CoV-2 went into another gear across the entire globe yesterday.
A report in yesterday’s London Times estimated that India’s death toll may be as high as four million people – ten times its current figure, but this would not have been included in the new global toll reported today.
This is a story we will try to update as more information becomes available.
Bad news from the Gupta Lab who have been looking at the Delta variant.
“Taking replication we originally showed increased growth of Delta virus in vitro using airway organoids compared to Alpha. Now we show increased virus production in two other systems: Calu-3 epithelial lung cell lines (shown here) and airway epithelial cells”
“We now further define Delta immune evasion using a panel of 38 monoclonal antibodies, showing significant loss of potency of NTD and RBD targeting antibodies. Imdevimab, part of the REGN2 dual monoclonal antibody cocktail is compromised by Delta.”
“We also show loss of activity for casivirimab, part of the Lily dual therapy cocktail. These dual therapies could be less effective against Delta particularly in the setting of immune compromise could lead to escape variants emerging/ transmitting.”
“We also found that the Delta virus appears to be in a predominantly cleaved form as compared to Alpha. This may suggest that each virus particle is more infectious in addition to more virus particles being produced“
“Despite national, regional, and global efforts, the pandemic is nowhere near finished. Strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that may be even more challenging to control.”
The pandemic remains a challenge globally with countries navigating different health, economic and social demands. The Committee noted that regional and economic differences are affecting access to vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Countries with advanced access to vaccines and well-resourced health systems are under pressure to fully reopen their societies and relax the PHSM. Countries with limited access to vaccines are experiencing new waves of infections, seeing erosion of public trust and growing resistance to PHSM, growing economic hardship, and, in some instances, increasing social unrest.
As a result, governments are making increasingly divergent policy decisions that address narrow national needs which inhibit a harmonized approach to the global response. In this regard, the Committee was highly concerned about the inadequate funding of WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan and called for more flexible and predictable funding to support WHO’s leadership role in the global pandemic response.
The Committee noted that, despite national, regional, and global efforts, the pandemic is nowhere near finished. The pandemic continues to evolve with four variants of concern dominating global epidemiology. The Committee recognised the strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that may be even more challenging to control.
The Committee expressed appreciation for States Parties engaging in research to increase understanding of COVID-19 vaccines and requested that clinical trial volunteers not be disadvantaged in travel arrangements due to their participation in research studies. At the same time, the risk of emergence of new zoonotic diseases while still responding to the current pandemic has been emphasised by the Committee. The Committee noted the importance of States Parties’ continued vigilance for detection and mitigation of new zoonotic diseases.
The Committee unanimously agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic still constitutes an extraordinary event that continues to adversely affect the health of populations around the world, poses a risk of international spread and interference with international traffic, and requires a coordinated international response. As such, the Committee concurred that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) and offered the following advice to the Director-General.
Zvimba villagers in Zimbabwe are living in fear as their cattle are dying in large numbers with some suggesting that they could be dying from COVID-19.
Some villagers who spoke to Pindula News said the mortality rate was high in Kutama village.
Asked if Veterinary officers were assisting them, they said the officers were clueless. Said, one villager:
_They are clueless. They are also surprised._
Meanwhile, a study “Experimental Infection of Cattle with SARS-CoV-2” conducted by Lorenz Ulrich, Kerstin Wernike, Donata Hoffmann, Thomas C. Mettenleiter, and Martin Beer of Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Insel Riems, Germany, observed that under experimental conditions, cattle show low vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The John Hopkins University Covid-19 dashboard is now showing that more than four million people have died in the coronavirus pandemic and 185 millions cases have been recorded. Will the final death toll be somewhere near the 150 million dead predicted by Event 201 we wonder?
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa imposed a hard lockdown which included a ban on the sale of alcohol from Monday.
“All gatherings, whether indoors or outdoors, are prohibited, including cultural, social and religious gatherings. Funerals and cremations will continue to be permitted but attendance may not exceed 50 people and all social distancing and health protocols must be observed,” said Ramaphosa.
“Beaches, parks will remain open, however no gatherings will be permitted at such venues.”
He said a curfew will be in place from 9pm until 4am and all non-essential establishments will need to close by 8pm.
Furthermore, travel in and out of Gauteng is prohibited. “Because of the burden in Gauteng, travel in and out of the province for leisure purposes will be prohibited. This does not include work, business of commercial travel, transit through airports or for the transport of goods.”
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Friday tightened restrictions in the country following a worrying rise in Covid-19 infections and deaths.
On a day when the country recorded 42 Covid-related deaths and 1,000 new infections, the Ugandan leader stopped the movement of public and private transport vehicles. Only security, emergency and other essential service providers, including the police, firefighters and the military have been exempted.
The new move tightened restrictions imposed a week ago, when cross-district travel was banned, schools closed and other public gatherings restricted yet the deaths continued to rise.
At the Mulago National Referral Hospital in the capital Kampala, a ‘technical fault’ on Wednesday cut off oxygen supply to Covid-19 patients at the facility, leading to the death of several patients. The new highest death toll would arrive two days later when the country reported 42 deaths, raising the number of those killed by the virus to more than 400.
MERS-CoVs in African camels may independently acquire amino acid substitutions in the coronavirus spike that may confer increased pathogenicity for humans. Either scenario would lead to major adverse health impacts in Africa and be associated with pandemic threat.
It has been shown that clade B MERS-CoV now established in the Arabian Peninsula appears to have a fitness advantage in dromedary populations in the Arabian Peninsula, because repeated introduction of clade C viruses to Saudi Arabia have not resulted in the establishment of these lineages in the Arabian Peninsula. It is possible that some of these genetic changes that produced increased fitness for dromedaries fortuitously facilitated increased replication competence in the human lung and pathogenicity in humans. If these pathogenic clade B viruses were to be introduced into dromedary camels in Africa, they may well become dominant in dromedaries in that continent, with major adverse consequences for human health. Since the trade movements are almost uniformly into the Arabian Peninsula rather than out of it, this risk may not be high at present, but it is important to be aware of it and mitigate such an eventuality. Alternatively, MERS-CoVs in Africa may independently acquire amino acid substitutions in the spike that may confer increased pathogenicity for humans. Either scenario would lead to major adverse health impacts in Africa and be associated with pandemic threat.
Research article: Phenotypic and genetic characterization of MERS coronaviruses from Africa to understand their zoonotic potential
Image By Bernard Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28048531
“Here we present a case of prolonged infection of greater than 6 months with shedding of high titer SARS-CoV-2 in an individual with advanced HIV and antiretroviral treatment failure. …Through whole genome sequencing at multiple time-points, we demonstrate the early emergence of the E484K substitution associated with escape from neutralizing antibodies, followed by other escape mutations and the N501Y substitution found in most variants of concern.”
Portugal is axed from UK’s green list and relegated to the Amber list. No countries are set to be added to the Government’s green list. Seven countries will be added to the red rating, they are: Egypt, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Bahrain, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago and Afghanistan
Lubango central hospital in Angola is under pressure due to the growing number of patients, reporting the possible collapse of the system. In the Angolan province of Huíla, local health authorities are concerned with the increase in deaths and cases of Covid-19, especially since the beginning of May. The province recorded 14 deaths in the last seven days, an average of two a day, in addition to an increase in hospitalizations for serious and critical cases at the central hospital in Lubango.
In view of the worsening situation and the fear of collapse in the health system, local health authorities are reiterating calls to the population to redouble preventive measures and announced the opening of four new Covid-19 patient care centers in the municipalities of Chibia , Kuvango, Jamba and Cacula and thus try to stop the wear and tear in the largest hospital in the region.
Uganda was the first country on the continent to confirm the presence of the B.1.617 variant first identified in India late last year.
This variant has now been reported in Kenya, Morocco, Algeria, South Africa, Botswana, Angola, DR Congo, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Image by Erik Cleves Kristensen – View of Luanda, Angola, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2048784