SARS-CoV-2 #coronavirus spike protein gene variants with N501T and G142D mutation dominated infections in US minks

We analyzed all animal-derived (977), all Canadian (19,529) and US (173,277) SARS-CoV-2 sequences deposited in GISAID from December 2019 to March 12, 2021, and identified 2 dominant novel variants, the N501T-G142D variant and N501T-G142D-F486L variant, in the US mink-derived SARS-CoV-2 sequences. These variants were not found in mink-derived SARS-CoV-2 spike protein gene sequences from other countries. The Y453F mutation was not identified in the US and Canadian mink-derive sequences.

Medrxiv preprint


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Canada: first blood clot case in AstraZeneca #coronavirus vaccine recipient reported

Canada announced on Tuesday its first report of a rare blood clot in a person who had received the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Quebec health ministry said the female patient, whose age was not revealed, is recovering at home.

“Reports of blood clots with low platelets in people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are very rare and the report of this case shows that Canada’s vaccine safety monitoring system works,” PHAC said in a statement. report



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1,039 cases of Brazilian #coronavirus variant P.1 reported in Canada



Canada: #coronavirus variant P.1 outbreak spreads to Alberta

“We are currently investigating a significant #COVID19AB outbreak in Alberta involving P.1 variants of concern (the variant that originated in Brazil), linked to a returning traveller.”



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Canada: largest outbreak of P.1 #coronavirus variant outside of Brazil discovered in British Columbia

The coronavirus variant that forced the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort to close is spreading rapidly in B.C. and sending more young people to hospital, raising concern about health officials’ ability to control the outbreak that is the largest known spread outside Brazil.

A laboratory at St. Paul’s Hospital that screens positive samples from most of the Vancouver Coastal region – which includes Whistler – for variants using a new rapid-testing technology, had confirmed 480 cases of the P.1 variant by Wednesday night (31st March 2021)  – already more than what has been reported by any other country except for Brazil. report


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Pediatric household transmission of SARS-CoV-2 #coronavirus infection

This study suggests that younger children are more likely to transmit SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to older children, and the highest odds of transmission was observed for children aged 0-3 years. Differential infectivity of pediatric age groups has implications for infection prevention controls within households, as well as schools/childcare, to minimize risk of household secondary transmission.

Medrxiv preprint


 Image by Esi Grünhagen from Pixabay

Canada: #coronavirus hospitalizations, ICU Admissions and deaths associated with the new variants of concern

New variants of concern (VOCs) now account for 67% of all Ontario SARS-CoV-2 infections. Compared with early variants of SARS-CoV-2, VOCs are associated with a 63% increased risk of hospitalization, a 103% increased risk of intensive care unit (ICU) admission and a 56% increased risk of death due to COVID-19.

VOCs are having a substantial impact on Ontario’s healthcare system. On March 28, 2021, the daily number of new SARS-CoV-2 infections in Ontario reached the daily number of cases observed near the height of the second wave, at the start of the province-wide lockdown, on December 26, 2020.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is now 21% higher than at the start of the province-wide lockdown, while ICU occupancy is 28% higher (Figure 1). The percentage of COVID-19 patients in ICUs who are younger than 60 years is about 50% higher now than it was prior to the start of the province-wide lockdown


Canada: NACI recommends that AstraZeneca #coronavirus vaccine should not be used in adults under 55 years of age

NACI recommends that AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should not be used in adults under 55 years of age at this time while the safety signal of Vaccine-Induced Prothrombotic Immune Thrombocytopenia (VIPIT) following vaccination with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is investigated further.

Rare cases of serious blood clots, including cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, associated with thrombocytopenia have been recently reported in Europe following post-licensure use of AstraZeneca COVID-19.

Cases identified so far have been primarily in women under the age of 55 years; although cases in men have also been reported and have mostly occurred between 4 and 16 days after receipt of vaccine. This adverse event is being referred to as Vaccine-Induced Prothrombotic Immune Thrombocytopenia (VIPIT).

This entity is associated with the development of antibodies that “activate” platelets, which stimulate the formation of clots and result in thrombocytopenia. The mechanism of action is similar to heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). The exact mechanism by which the AstraZeneca vaccine triggers VIPIT is still under investigation. At this time, no other risk factors have consistently been identified in patients who develop VIPIT. This adverse event has not been identified following receipt of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to date.

Canada NACI statement



Joint Statement on the WHO-Convened COVID-19 Origins Study signed by 14 countries

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom.

The Governments of Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America remain steadfast in our commitment to working with the World Health Organization (WHO), international experts who have a vital mission, and the global community to understand the origins of this pandemic in order to improve our collective global health security and response. Together, we support a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence, of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, we join in expressing shared concerns regarding the recent WHO-convened study in China, while at the same time reinforcing the importance of working together toward the development and use of a swift, effective, transparent, science-based, and independent process for international evaluations of such outbreaks of unknown origin in the future.

The mission of the WHO is critical to advancing global health and health security, and we fully support its experts and staff and recognize their tireless work to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, including understanding how the pandemic started and spread. With such an important mandate, it is equally essential that we voice our shared concerns that the international expert study on the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples. Scientific missions like these should be able to do their work under conditions that produce independent and objective recommendations and findings. We share these concerns not only for the benefit of learning all we can about the origins of this pandemic, but also to lay a pathway to a timely, transparent, evidence-based process for the next phase of this study as well as for the next health crises.

We note the findings and recommendations, including the need for further studies of animals to find the means of introduction into humans, and urge momentum for expert-driven phase 2 studies.  Going forward, there must now be a renewed commitment by WHO and all Member States to access, transparency, and timeliness. In a serious outbreak of an unknown pathogen with pandemic potential, a rapid, independent, expert-led, and unimpeded evaluation of the origins is critical to better prepare our people, our public health institutions, our industries, and our governments to respond successfully to such an outbreak and prevent future pandemics.  It is critical for independent experts to have full access to all pertinent human, animal, and environmental data, research, and personnel involved in the early stages of the outbreak relevant to determining how this pandemic emerged. With all data in hand, the international community may independently assess COVID-19 origins, learn valuable lessons from this pandemic, and prevent future devastating consequences from outbreaks of disease.

We underscore the need for a robust, comprehensive, and expert-led mechanism for expeditiously investigating outbreaks of unknown origin that is conducted with full and open collaboration among all stakeholders and in accordance with the principles of transparency, respect for privacy, and scientific and research integrity. We will work collaboratively and with the WHO to strengthen capacity, improve global health security, and inspire public confidence and trust in the world’s ability to detect, prepare for, and respond to future outbreaks.

Joint Statement on the WHO-Convened COVID-19 Origins Study

Image by Philippe Delavie from Pixabay

Two new #coronavirus gene sequences collected from mink in the United States show mutations including N501T, G142D & F486L

Researchers in Canada have discovered two novel variants in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) gene sequences collected from mink in the United States.

The team identified a two-mutation (N501T-G142D) variant and a three-mutation (N501T-G142D-F486L) variant in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein – the main structure the virus uses to bind to and infect cells. report



New #coronavirus variant B.1.525 with #E484K, #Q677H, #F888L and a similar deletions to #B117

International lineage with variants of biological significance E484K, Q677H, F888L and a similar suite of deletions to B.1.1.7.

Countries reported 2
Countries with sequences 10
Sequence count 102
Countries: Denmark 35,  United Kingdom 32,  Nigeria 12,  United States of America 7,  France 5,  Ghana 4,  Australia 2,  Canada 2,  Jordan 2,  Spain 1 report


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#Quebec researchers say they have found an effective drug to fight #COVID19 – #colchicine

A team of researchers from the Montreal Heart Institute believe they have found an effective weapon against COVID-19: Colchicine, an oral tablet already known and used for other diseases.

The ColCorona study involved 4,159 patients whose diagnosis of COVID-19 had been confirmed by a nasopharyngeal test (PCR).

Analysis of the study found that colchicine resulted in reductions in hospitalizations by 25 per cent, the need for mechanical ventilation by 50 per cent, and deaths by 44 per cent.


Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

1,000 mink culled at Canada farm after 3 test positive for #coronavirus

Mink euthanized for their fur on B.C. farm where three animals tested positive for COVID-19

Mink at a Fraser Valley farm that was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak in December were recently euthanized and frozen, and will be pelted for their fur in the future.

Although the B.C. government didn’t order the farm to cull its animals, the operator “decided to pelt out completely” after the virus was discovered in three dead mink, said Alan Herscovici, a spokesman for the Canada Mink Breeders Association. The farm had about 1,000 mink.


Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur on Unsplash