The waxing and waning of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe shows new danger areas emerging

Europe has seen major changes in coronavirus case rates over the last two months. In many areas of Europe covid case rates have dropped sufficiently to allow restrictions to be eased, but there are notable exceptions. The Covid-19 rate in Spain now appears to be as bad, if not worse, than two months ago, and the Netherlands has seen a dramatic increase in numbers recently.

In the case of both Spain and the Netherlands, the rates increased following the decision to unlock their countries too quickly, and in both cases those decisions have had to reversed within weeks.  Greece too appears to be seeing a new wave, and these areas now represent the largest threat to Europe’s strategy to keeping infection rates down.

Data maps courtesy of ECDC

 

Spain: 5th wave of coronavirus storms across the country, curfews set to be reintroduced

 

Netherlands: the reproduction R rate is now 2.17 – the highest since February 2020

USA/UK: 2 separate clades of Delta #coronavirus variant with K417N – AY.1 and AY.2

Through routine scanning of variation in Delta, a small number of sequences were detected which had acquired the spike protein mutation K417N. Information suggests that there are at least 2 separate clades of Delta with K417N. One clade is large and internationally distributed with PANGO lineage designation AY.1.  A second clade found in sequences uploaded to GISAID from the USA, now designated AY.2.

As of 16 June 2021, 161 genomes of Delta-AY.1 have been identified on GISAID. from Canada (1), India (8), Japan (15), Nepal (3), Poland (9), Portugal (22), Russia (1), Switzerland (18), Turkey (1), USA (83).

There are currently 38 cases of Delta-AY.1 in England (36 confirmed sequencing and 2 probable genotyping). Cases have been detected in 6 different regions in England. Delta-AY.2 has not been detected in England.

UK Variants of Concern Technical Briefing 15 (PDF download)

 

According to Bani Jolly of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, the phylogeny of Delta has two separate clades. While AY.1 is found in a few countries including the UK, India and Nepal, the other clade (AY.2), is largely from the sequences from California (USA).

“The split between the two clades seems to be based on two spike mutations — A222V and T95I. While all sequences in the California cluster share spike A222V, all sequences in the larger international cluster share spike T95I,” Jolly tweeted.

Stating that AY.1 has arisen independently a number of times and could be more prevalent than observed in countries with limited genomic surveillance, she tweeted that given that Delta is a variant of concern, it is important to take note of any sub-lineages that may emerge.

Time of India report

 

 

 

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UK: Delta with K417N – the “mountaineers” variant – PHE #coronavirus Delta-AY.1 update

Of the 36 cases of Delta-AY.1 (mountaineers) variant, 27 cases were known to have a vaccination status within the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS). 

“Through routine scanning of variation in Delta a small number of sequences were detected which had acquired the spike protein mutation K417N. Information suggests that there are at least 2 separate clades of Delta with K417N. One clade is large and internationally distributed with PANGO lineage designation AY.1. A second clade found in sequences uploaded to GISAID from the USA. There is limited epidemiological information available at present.

International Epidemiology
As of 7 June 2021, 63 genomes of Delta with K417N have been identified on GISAID. from Canada (1) Germany (1), Russia (1), Nepal (2), Switzerland (4), India (6), Poland (9), Portugal (12), Japan (13), USA (14).

Epidemiology
There are currently 36 cases of Delta-AY.1 in England (35 confirmed sequencing and 1 probable genotyping) plus an additional 10 sequences which include some cases in other UK nations and some genomes for which case data is being sought. The first 5 cases were sequenced on 26 April 2021 and were contacts of travellers to Nepal and Turkey. All these cases were detected in the West Midlands. Cases have been detected in 6 different regions in England (Table 21, Figure 26). The majority of cases are in younger individuals, with 2 cases of age 60 or over (Figure 27). Out of the 36 cases, there were 11 travel associated cases (6 travellers and 5 cases amongst contacts of travellers). Twelve cases have no history of travel or contact with travellers. Countries of travel included red-list countries (Nepal and Turkey), amber-list countries (Malaysia) and green-list countries (Singapore).

Of the 36 cases, 27 cases were known to have a vaccination status within the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS), when linked on NHS number. Of these, 18 cases occurred in people who were not vaccinated, 2 cases in people who had received their first dose within 21 days of specimen date, 5 cases in people who had received their  first dose more than 21 days after specimen date. There was a total of 2 cases where there were more than 14 days between the second dose of vaccine and a positive specimen. No deaths have been recorded amongst the 36 cases.”

PHE download – SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England  – Technical briefing 15 (PDF)

 

UK: The “mountaineers variant” – B.1.617.2 with K417N mutation

 

UK: “Everest climbers could have spread potentially more infectious and vaccine resistant’ variant

 

 

Image by Simon from Pixabay

EU: ECHR throws fuel on the #coronavirus vaccination fire – backs mandatory jabs for kids

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that democratic governments can make vaccinations obligatory, in a landmark judgement rejecting complaints brought by Czech families penalised for refusing compulsory jabs for their children.

“The… measures could be regarded as being ‘necessary in a democratic society'” the court ruled, saying that the Czech health policy was consistent with the “best interests” of children.

Our opinion: ** Is there an easier or quicker way of antagonising parents in the middle of a global viral pandemic than encouraging mandatory vaccinations? We can’t think of one. Expect severe blowback **

MedicalExpress.com report

 

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Switzerland: Stage III hypertension in patients after mRNA-based SARS-CoV-2 #coronavirus vaccination with Pfizer/Biontech & Moderna

On January 11th 2021, the vaccination Center in Lausanne, a city of 140’000 inhabitants in western Switzerland, started the COVID-19 vaccination with mRNA-based vaccines. As of February 9th, 13296 vaccine doses were administered with 12,349 patients receiving a 1st dose (10501 Pfizer/BioNTech, 1848 Moderna) and 947 receiving a 2nd dose (945 Pfizer/BioNTech, 2 Moderna). We report a case series of 9 patients with stage III hypertension documented within minutes of vaccination during the first 30 days, of which 8 were symptomatic.

Vital signs were measured with an oscillometric manometer (Omron Heathcare Europe, a HEM 907-E7) with at least 3 sets of separate values at 5-minute intervals.

Median age was 73 (IQR 22), sex distribution was 7 females for 2 males. Eight of 9 patients had a prior history of arterial hypertension with most patients on anti-hypertensive therapy. All but one patient received the Pfizer/BioNTech (BNT162b2) vaccine. Of note, the Moderna (mRNA-1273) vaccine was only introduced in late January in Switzerland. One of the patients (n°3) reported a cerebral aneurysm that was coiled within the last year, with a targeted SBP < 140mmHg. 1 Due to developing headache, the patient underwent imaging with no sign of intracranial hemorrhage. Patient n°4 did not have associated electrocardiogram changes or an increase in hs-troponins. Importantly, all patients recovered but required at most several hours of monitoring at our tertiary center’s emergency department.

Lausanne University Hospital report

 

Related: #Pfizer-BioNTech #coronavirus vaccine: cases of high blood pressure under close surveillance

 

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Rapid rise of #coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 spike mutation T478K found in Mexico and several European countries

We report the distribution of the Spike mutation S:T478K and its recent growth in prevalence in the SARS-CoV-2 population. While there is currently no report of association of this variant with clinical features, S:T478K’s rapid growth may indicate an increased adaption of SARS-CoV-2 variants carrying it, particularly lineage B.1.1.222.

The distribution of this mutation is higher in North America, but we could detect it also in several European countries. The location of S:T478K in the interaction complex with human ACE2 may affect the affinity with human cells and therefore influence viral infectivity.

We detected this growth starting at the beginning of 2021, and S:T478K is, at the time of writing (March 26, 2021) characterizing almost 2.0% of all sequenced SARS-CoV-2

An in silico molecular dynamics study on the protein structure of Spike has predicted that the T478K mutation, substituting a non-charged amino acid (Threonine) with a positive one (Lysine) may significantly alter the electrostatic surface of the protein, and therefore the interaction with ACE2, drugs or antibodies, and that the effect can be increased if combined by other co-occurring Spike mutations.

Another experiment showed that T478K and T478R mutants were enriched when SARS-CoV-2 viral cultures were tested against weak neutralizing antibodies, highlighting, at least in vitro, a possible genetic route the virus can follow to escape immune recognition. Everything considered, we believe that the continued genetical and clinical monitoring of S:T478K and other Spike mutations is of paramount importance to better understand COVID-19 and be able to better counteract its future developments.

Biorxiv preprint

 

Image by Makalu from Pixabay

EMA: If you have these symptoms after vaccination with AstraZeneca #coronavirus serum seek medical help immediately

“Wheezing, chest or stomach pain, swelling or coldness in an arm or leg, severe headache or worsening or blurred vision after vaccination, persistent bleeding, small multiple bruises, reddish or purplish spots or blisters of blood under the skin” – if you have these symptoms after vaccination against Covid with AstraZeneca serum seek medical help immediately and report that you have recently been vaccinated.

Il Giorno report

 

Image by Usman Yousaf from Pixabay

EMA: Anaphylaxis and hypersensitivity reactions should be included in the list of possible side effects of the Astrazeneca vaccine

European Medicines Agency (EMA), the corona vaccine from the manufacturer Astra-Zeneca can cause severe allergic reactions. Anaphylaxis and hypersensitivity reactions should be included in the list of possible side effects of the vaccine citing , the EMA said on Friday, several such cases in the UK.

FAZ.net report

 

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SAGE: Keep #UK secondary #schools closed in January

SAGE scientists have urged Boris Johnson, the UK’s prime minister, to keep secondary schools closed in January because of concerns about a new, more virulent strain of coronavirus.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said that the R rate — at which the virus reproduces — could be kept below the crucial 1 level if schools remained shut. Sage also warned that another national lockdown could be necessary at a meeting last week, according to the Politico website

https://www.ft.com/content/b7e295f3-38a0-4c35-afb9-6872705a8ec2

 

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

60 million confirmed #coronavirus infections globally, and the rate is still increasing

There have now been more than 60,000,000 confirmed coronavirus infections globally and the infection rate is still increasing.

https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/

Seven countries report #mink #SarsCoV2 mutations in humans

Seven countries are now reporting mink-related Sars-CoV-2 mutations in humans, according to new scientific analysis.

The mutations are identified as Covid-19 mink variants as they have repeatedly been found in mink and now in humans as well.

Uncertainty around the implications of the discovery of a Covid-19 mink variant in humans led Denmark, the world’s largest mink fur producer, to launch a nationwide cull earlier this month.

The cull was sparked by research from Denmark’s public health body, the Statens Serum Institut (SSI), which showed that a mink variant called C5 was harder for antibodies to neutralise and posed a potential threat to vaccine efficacy.

Denmark, the Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the Faroe Islands, Russia and the US have all reported cases of mink-related mutations.

https://www.theguardian.com/

 

Pixabay

Europe Vaccine

EU warns not enough #COVID vaccines for all in Europe until 2022

Only part of the European Union population can be inoculated against the new coronavirus before 2022, EU officials said in an internal meeting, as the vaccines the bloc is securing may not prove effective or may not be manufactured in sufficient doses

https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKBN27C2D7

 

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Switzerland coronavirus: “The second wave has arrived”

Swiss government: “The second wave has arrived”

The second wave of Covid-19 has arrived in Switzerland faster and stronger than expected. Just over 3,000 new positive coronavirus cases and eight deaths were reported on Tuesday. The seven-day average of new cases has increased by 123% on the previous week to 2,636.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss-government—the-second-wave-has-arrived-/46109164

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