WHO: B.1.617 Indian #coronavirus strain is now a Variant of Concern or VOC

A World Health Organization official said Monday it is reclassifying the Indian Sars-Cov-2 variant B.1.617 as a “variant of concern,” indicating that it’s become a global health threat. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, said the agency will provide more details in its weekly situation report on the pandemic Tuesday but added that the variant, known as B.1.617, has been found in preliminary studies to spread more easily than the original virus and there is some evidence it may able to evade vaccines.

“as such we are classifying this as a variant of concern at the global level,” she said during a press conference. “Even though there is increased transmissibility demonstrated by some preliminary studies, we need much more information about this virus variant in this lineage in all of the sub lineages, so we need more sequencing, targeted sequencing to be done.”

 

Brazil: new #coronavirus strain P.1.2 confirmed circulating in Rio de Janeiro

The State Department of Health of Rio de Janeiro (SES-RJ) announced the identification of the new variant of the Covid virus in Rio de Janeiro late this morning. The strain received the name of P.1.2, because it is a change that occurred in the P.1 line – which appeared in Manaus.

“The objective of the study is to foresee the evaluation of the epidemiological scenario in the state of Rio de Janeiro to anticipate possible genomic alterations of the already known variants and to prepare the state and the municipalities to face any alteration that may change the pattern of the disease”, he affirmed. the superintendent of Epidemiological Surveillance of the Secretary of State for Health, Mário Sérgio Ribeiro.

Also according to the superintendent, still it is not possible to know whether P.1.2 is more lethal or more transmissible . The epidemiological impact is yet to be assessed.

The technical note of the state presents the genomic study with samples carried out between March 24th and April 16th. The study was carried out in partnership between the Lacen-RJ laboratory and the State Department of Health. According to the City Hall of Rio das Ostras, variants P.1 and P.2 have already been confirmed, previously, in the city.

“The presence of these variants in the municipality and the emergence of a new strain reinforce the importance of surveillance and monitoring of virus dispersions, the need to maintain all measures to prevent contagion and to maintain sanitary barriers”, warned the municipality.

Globo.com report

 

Local TV report on Brazilian variant P.1.2 : https://globoplay.globo.com/v/9499613/ (in Brazilian)

 

Brazil: P.1 mutates into new #coronavirus variant P.1.2

 

 

 

Image by Andrea Meakin from Pixabay

USA: 3,084 #coronavirus vaccine breakthrough cases in California

Between Jan. 1 and April 28, California public health officials recorded 3,084 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in people who were fully vaccinated. That’s out of 12.9 million people who were fully vaccinated.  “As more time passes and more people are fully vaccinated, it is likely that additional post-vaccination cases will occur,” the California Department of Public Health said in a statement. “The number of post-vaccination cases remains small.”

Sacbee.com report

 

Seychelles: 30% #coronavirus vaccine breakthrough rate

 

CDC: 9,245 #coronavirus vaccine breakthough cases in the USA

 

 

Image by Public Co from Pixabay

Brazil: P.1 mutates into new #coronavirus variant P.1.2

A new variant of the Brazilian coronavirus has been identified this week, according to Rio de Janeiro health authorities. The P1 Manaus strain seems to have mutated. Hence, the new version has been named P.1.2., scientists in Rio said.

The new variant P.1.2 was identified in 5.85% of the 376 samples taken in 57 municipalities of the state of Rio, second only to São Paulo in the total number of cases nationwide.

“So far it cannot be said that this variant is more contagious or lethal, which is a mutation of P1,” Rio State Health Undersecretary Claudia Mello said in a statement. She also explained that “the new variant was found mainly in the northern region of the state of Rio de Janeiro, but also the metropolitan area and coastal municipalities.”

MercoPress.com report

 

The new variant of Covid-19 was discovered during an investigation to identify which strains of the virus more circulate in the state. P1 remains in almost all regions and P2 in the north and in the lowlands. 376 samples were investigated, from 57 municipalities, selected from genomes sent to the Noel Nutels Central Laboratory (Lacen / RJ), between March 24th and April 16th.

Olhardigital.com report

 

Brazil: rapid spread and high impact of the #coronavirus VOC P.1 in Sao Paulo – March 2021

 

 

Image by Heiko Behn from Pixabay

USA: Michigan taxidermist reported infected by mink #coronavirus variant with F486L and N501T mutations

In February 2021, a taxidermist living in Eaton County, Michigan, became infected with COVID-19. A sample from his positive test result was sent to the state lab to be genetically sequenced — and came back as connected to a mutation of the virus found in infected mink, whose fur is used for coats and clothing.

In early February, the linked COVID-19 case involving the Eaton taxidermist was confirmed through genetic testing.

MDHHS confirmed the CDC’s account of the mutations, identifying them as F486L and N501T. Those two mutations have been identified by researchers as the dominant mink COVID-19 strains in the United States, according to a preprint study published last month by two Canadian researchers, and may have evolved in humans before being transmitted to minks,

Freep.com report

 

 

 

Image by Jan den Ouden from Pixabay

 

USA: ZooTampa vaccinates animals against #coronavirus

A veterinary pharmaceutical company has developed a coronavirus shot for animals, and ZooTampa at Lowry Park plans to protect the wildlife in its care with the vaccine. Zoo leaders recently decided to use a coronavirus shot developed by veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis.

“We’re not worried about birds, we’re not worried about reptiles; we’re only looking at mammals,” said a zoo spokesperson.  “We are told dozens of animals could be on that list to get the vaccine, including primates, felines, bats, and smaller mammals related to the mink family.”

Fox13news report

Gamaleya Institute: ‘The next stage of the epidemic is the infection with the #coronavirus of farm and domestic animals’

 

 

Image by Michael Siebert from Pixabay

Gamaleya Institute: ‘The next stage of the epidemic is the infection with the #coronavirus of farm and domestic animals’

Alexander Gintsburg, head of the Gamaleya institute that developed Russia’s Sputnik V human vaccine, was quoted in Izvestia newspaper as saying COVID-19 was likely to hit animals next.  “The next stage of the epidemic is the infection with the coronavirus of farm and domestic animals,” Gintsburg said.

Russia has produced the world’s first batch – 17,000 doses – of COVID-19 vaccines for animals, its agricultural regulator said on Friday. Russia registered Carnivac-Cov in March after tests showed it generated antibodies against COVID-19 in dogs, cats, foxes and mink.

News18.com report

USA: ZooTampa vaccinates animals against #coronavirus

 

 

NEJM “a recombination event between B.1.1.7 and B.1.526” #coronavirus variants

Examination of the SARS-CoV-2 sequences revealed that both patients were infected with variant viruses. Rapid identification of sequence variants by targeted PCR amplification showed that neither sequence precisely fit any known clade. Some of the substitutions in Patient 1 (T95I, del144, E484K, A570D, D614G, P681H, and D796H) were shared with B.1.526 (T95I, E484K, and D614G6), and three substitutions were shared with Patient 2 (in whom the variants T95I, G142V and del144, F220I, R190T, R237K, R246T, and D614G were detected). Whole viral genome sequencing revealed several additional substitutions, including D796H, present in a guanine–cytosine–rich region not identified by targeted PCR. These substitutions may decrease sensitivity to convalescent serum11 and may have some unique noncoding changes as compared with the clades first identified in Wuhan, the United Kingdom, and New York City.

Although more detailed analysis of whole-genome sequencing from Patient 1 was undertaken, we could not conclude that the variant in this patient was a Pango lineage because it was only present in a single person.

Its closest links on the phylogenetic tree were the variant first identified in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7) and the variant first identified in New York City (B.1.526), but with considerable differences. It will be of interest to determine whether this may have resulted from a recombination event between B.1.1.7 and B.1.526, as has been recently reported for recombination between the B.1.1.7 lineage and the “wild-type” lineage first identified in Wuhan. Alternatively, shared substitutions may be the result of convergent evolution.

NEJM: Vaccine Breakthrough Infections with SARS-CoV-2 Variants

 

See also:

NEJM: In two #coronavirus vaccine breakthrough cases “examination of the SARS-CoV-2 sequences revealed that both patients were infected with variant viruses” .. “neither sequence precisely fit any known clade”

Household transmission of R.1 #coronavirus lineage with spike E484K mutation in Japan

In this study, we conducted genetic surveillance and identified R.1 lineage harboring E484K mutation in RBD by whole genome sequencing. The R.1 lineage was observed in three patients and transmitted among relatives in Japan. To investigate the global distribution of R.1  lineage, we next collected registration data from the EpiCoV of GISAID database [28]. As of March 5, 2021, a total of 305 samples of R.1 lineage had been registered from all over the world, with the majority spread in the USA (44%, 135/305) and Japan (28%, 84/305) (Figure 1A and Table 1). R.1 lineage was first reported in Texas, USA at the end of October 2020, and was found in Japan at the end of November 2020. The number of detected lineages has changed in a similar trend between the USA, Japan and other countries (Figure 1A), implying that SARS-CoV-2 R.1 lineage may have emerged in several regions at approximately the same time.

MedrXIV preprint: Household transmission of SARS-CoV-2 R.1 lineage with spike E484K mutation in Japan

R.1 details above from COV-lineages.org

 

See also:

USA: large covid-19 outbreak in Kentucky with R.1 #coronavirus lineage variant after vaccination with Pfizer

 

 

Image by Masashi Wakui from Pixabay

CDC: 9,245 #coronavirus vaccine breakthough cases in the USA

It is important to note that reported vaccine breakthrough cases will represent an undercount. This surveillance system is passive and relies on voluntary reporting from state health departments which may not be complete. Also, not all real-world breakthrough cases will be identified because of lack of testing. This is particularly true in instances of asymptomatic or mild illness. These surveillance data are a snapshot and help identify patterns and look for signals among vaccine breakthrough cases.

CDC Vaccine Breakthrough information

 

 

Image by Spencer Davis from Pixabay

USA: New Hampshire reports 52 vaccine breakthrough cases, 2 have died

New Hampshire has identified 52 vaccine breakthrough cases with additional suspected cases under investigation, said Jake Leon, spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services. Of those 52 cases, two people have died, Leon said.

Nationally over 7,157 of the 87 million people vaccinated had a breakthrough illness as of April 20 and one percent of that group had died, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC says women make up 64 percent of the breakthrough cases; above age 60 it was 46 percent of the cases, and having an asymptomatic infection was found in 31 percent of the cases.

Patch.com report

 

 

Image by 1778011 from Pixabay

Brazil rejects the Russian Gamaleya Vaccine – “still has replication-competent adenovirus in it”

Brazil  have turned down the Russian Gamaleya Sputnik V vaccine.  There are questions raised about the manufacturing and scale-up processes. Anvisa, the Brazilian drug agency, also said that every single lot of the AD5 Gamaleya Sputnik V shot that they have data on appears to still have replication-competent adenovirus in it.

Sciencemag.org report

Brazil Government slides outlining the decision (PDF)

 

Global: Sars-COV-2 – a virus that oscillates between killing 5,000 to 20,000 a day for an entire year?

How is this graph even possible? For more than one year the global death toll for Sars-Cov-2 has oscillated between ~5,000 deaths a day to ~20,000 deaths a day creating a pattern that is almost ECG like in its uniformity.  Answers on a postcard please, because we do not see anything natural about this graph.

Graph courtesy of OurWorldinData.org