B.1.1.7 #coronavirus variant infections have the potential to cause substantial additional mortality

The mortality hazard ratio associated with infection with VOC-202012/1 [B.1.1.7] compared to infection with previously circulating variants is 1.64 in patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the community. In this comparatively low risk group, this represents an increase from 2.5 to 4.1 deaths per 1000 detected cases.

Medrxiv Preprint  Increased hazard of mortality in cases compatible with SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern 202012/1 – a matched cohort study

 

 

 

#Czech hospitals in #coronavirus crisis “Each vacated bed fills up immediately”

Medical facilities in Prague are reaching the limit of their capacities – personal and inpatient. According to statistics, 1,171 covid patients were hospitalized in Prague on Wednesday, of which about a quarter are in serious condition.

“Every bed that is vacated is immediately occupied. We accept patients in an acute condition, but we must consider very carefully every free bed that occurs, “said Sulek.

Currently, the hospital is mainly looking for paramedics and general nurses, but they have been in short supply for a long time. “Every free hand fits. The duty to work would help us a lot,” says the spokesman.

Denik.cz report

 

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Israel #coronavirus chief Nachman Ash: “the possibility of a fourth lockdown before the election exists”

“We are concerned about the increase in infection in the coming days,” coronavirus czar Nachman Ash told 103FM Radio, adding that “the possibility of a fourth lockdown before the election exists.”

Ministry figures showed the virus’s basic reproduction number, or R-number, was at 1.01 Friday morning. The R-number is the number of new cases stemming from each coronavirus infection, or the number of people who caught the virus from each infected person. Any number lower than 1 means the pandemic is slowing down, while a number above 1 means it is expanding. The figures are based on new case numbers from 10 days earlier due to the virus’s incubation period.

Times of Israel report

 

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New #coronavirus variant with #E484K, #N501Y & #P681H mutations found in the Philippines, designated PHL-B.1.1.28

Here, we describe the emergence of a new SARS-CoV-2 lineage, mainly from the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. This emergent variant is characterized by 13 lineage-defining mutations, including the co-occurrence of the E484K, N501Y, and P681H mutations at the spike protein region, as well as three additional radical amino acid replacements towards the C-terminal end of the said protein. A three-amino acid deletion at positions 141 to 143 (LGV141_143del) in the spike protein was likewise seen in a region preceding the 144Y deletion found in the B.1.1.7 variant. A single amino acid replacement, K2Q, at the N-terminus of ORF8 was also shared by all 33 samples sequenced.

Medrxiv paper  Genome sequencing and analysis of an emergent SARS-CoV-2 variant characterized by multiple spike protein mutations detected from the Central Visayas Region of the Philippines

 

 

 Image by TheDigitalWay from Pixabay

 

WHO Investigators scrap plans for interim report on probe of #coronavirus origins

WSJ:  “The World Health Organization team investigating the origins of Covid-19 is planning to scrap an interim report on its recent mission to China amid mounting tensions between Beijing and Washington over the investigation and an appeal from one international group of scientists for a new probe. A group of two dozen scientists is calling in an open letter on Thursday for a new international inquiry. They say the WHO team that last month completed a mission to Wuhan—the Chinese city where the first known cases were found—had insufficient access to adequately investigate possible sources of the new coronavirus, including whether it slipped from a laboratory.”

Open Letter Link    “Call for a Full and Unrestricted International Forensic Investigation into the Origins of COVID-19”

WSJ full report

 

 

More than 450 cases of the South African #coronavirus variant 501Y.V2 diagnosed in Israel

Over 450 cases of the South Africa coronavirus variant 501Y.V2 have been diagnosed in Israel so far, and health professionals estimate that dozens more are being infected each day.

The Israeli Health Ministry’s committees on vaccinations and the pandemic said two weeks ago that the B.1.351 or 501Y.V2 variant was spreading beyond control.

Haaretz.com full report

 

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Doctors report large skin rashes appeared in 12 patients in delayed reaction to Moderna mRNA-1273 #coronavirus vaccine

“We have also observed delayed large local reactions to the mRNA-1273 vaccine, with a median onset on day 8 (range, 4 to 11) after the first dose. These reactions had a variable appearance. Here, we report on a series of 12 patients with these reactions, all of which appeared near the injection site after complete resolution of the initial local and systemic symptoms associated with vaccination.”

New England Journal of Medicine report

People infected with South African #coronavirus variant #501YV2 may be protected from re-infection

A new study has shown people previously infected by the Covid-19 variant 501Y.V2, originally identified in South Africa, have better immunity against other coronavirus mutations, experts said Wednesday.

The findings, from preliminary research by the team of South African scientists who identified the variant dubbed 501Y.V2, raise hopes that vaccines modelled on the strain could protect against future mutations.

Identified late last year, the variant fuelled South Africa’s second wave of infection and delayed the start of vaccinations in February.

Scientists said Wednesday plasma collected from people infected with the variant had “good neutralising activity”, including against “first wave” viruses and potentially other variants of concern.

After the antibodies were tested against the original strain and another identified in Brazil, “results are showing a clear sense of direction”, virologist Tulio de Oliveira said in a video conference.

IOL.CO.ZA Report

Medrxiv preprint  “Escape of SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 from neutralization by convalescent plasma”

 

 

Image by Heinrich Botha from Pixabay

Anders #Tegnell’s #coronavirus strategy should have been successful in #Sweden. He was completely wrong

“You must not judge us yet”, said Anders Tegnell in the spring of 2020, while the whole world looked at the open Swedish strategy and the accompanying high death toll.

Just wait until the second wave hits Europe. Then Sweden will be better equipped than the neighboring countries, he predicted confidently. Now the second wave has long since peaked – in Sweden a third is underway – and Anders Tegnell has been completely wrong.

Berlingske.dk slams Sweden’s coronavirus Tsar

 

 

Second case of variant Fin-796H confirmed in Finland. Four more #Fin796H infections likely

Vita Laboratories and the University of Helsinki report that the variant Fin-796H has now been found in another patient. Both confirmed infections are related to the same chain of infection.

It is likely that the variant will also be found in four other patients involved in the chain of infection.

The entire genome of the Fin-796H variant has now been determined. According to Vita Laboratories, sequencing studies have confirmed that this is a previously unrecognized variant in the world.

According to the laboratory, Fin-796H differs from all previous variants in at least 15 different places in the genome of the virus. The deviations suggest that the Finland variant is unlikely to have developed in Finland,

The Finnish Covid variant Fin-796H variant has key coronavirus mutation E484K

YLE.FI report (in Finnish)

 

 

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First case of the #P1 Brazil #coronavirus variant found in Denmark with mutations #501YV3, #N501Y, #K417T & #E484K

Denmark’s SSI:  The Technical University of Denmark, DTU, has found a case of the P1 variant, which was originally detected in Brazil.

The virus variant is also called VOC 202101/02 (Variant Of Concern, year 2021, month 01, variant 02). It has also been named 501Y.V3 after one of the key mutations. The Danish case has been found on Zealand.Mutations N501Y, K417T and E484K in particular are biologically important. As this variant has the mutation N501Y, which variants B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 also have, there is a strong suspicion that this variant has increased infectivity, but this has not been conclusively proven. This variant also has the mutation E484K, which studies have associated with decreased sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies. It is not known whether this variant causes more serious disease courses.

The variant was found by sequencing positive PCR samples performed by DTU’s Center for Diagnostics and the sample has just been completely sequenced, and thus confirmed.

The vaccines that are approved in the EU incl. Denmark, is also expected to work against the new variant. Impaired effects may occur, but the vaccines are still expected to protect against serious illness.

Denmark’s SSI report

 

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