As the COVID pandemic continues into new phases/surges with new plot-lines daily, this morning I came across some news seen a few days ago, but seemingly didn’t pay much attention — this COVID-19 shit is splitting off into worse and worse variants with dangerous mutations, like resistance to vaccines.
Not only have we the regular-old virus to contend with, but now it’s reproducing into even shittier offshoots.
First, the noted Delta variant, which is the one currently causing the clusterfuck surges all over the planet, especially in dipshit-run places like Florida; now there’s a ‘Delta plus,’ a more-transmissible strain that’s creating concerns; and further shit, a so-called ‘Lamdba variant,’ originally found in Peru, and could have a vaccine impediment.
And today the rising variant explosion is big on social media:
‘Delta Plus’ is trending right now…and no this isn’t a streaming service on my favorite airline.
I’m going to crawl under my desk now.
— Tevin Wooten (@TevinWooten) August 4, 2021
However, a plus on the Delta ‘plus’ — via The Washington Post yesterday, and some good news from Colin Angus, a public health policy modeler and analyst in England:
The “plus” of the variant’s name refers to its K417N spike protein mutation, which was also found in some substrains of the alpha variant — the dominant strain in the country before the delta variant — but the substrains never got a foothold, he explained.
“To date, there is no clear evidence that it conveys enough of a benefit to the virus to allow it to dominate the original delta variant,” he said.
“So although it is clearly here, there is no obvious sign that it has gained a foothold over existing variants of the virus.”
Maybe we’re just jumpy with so much crazy in the air, not only of a freaking virus of the medical kind, too.
An excellent lowdown of COVID variants at Monash University last month — main information points:
A majority of these new mutations are innocuous.
However, some of them may evolve to become more infectious, or evade human antibody responses, a phenomenon called “convergent evolution”, observed in many past pandemics.
We’ve witnessed SARS-CoV-2 (the causative virus for COVID-19 disease) mutating rapidly and acquiring a constellation of mutations.
The Alpha variant, for instance, is 50-percent more transmissible than the original Wuhan strain.
Now, following the Beta and Gamma variants, we have the Delta variant, which shows 60-percent more transmissibility than the Alpha variant.
The Delta variant is primarily responsible for the “second wave” in 98 countries.
Now, the “third wave” is expected to emerge from the Delta Plus variant (B.1.617.2.1/AY.1) that has appeared across 12 countries, including India, UK, Poland, Switzerland, Portugal, Russia, Japan, Nepal, China, Canada, Turkey, and the US.
The Delta Plus variant is resistant to antibody cocktails (artificially produced monoclonal antibodies), binds more tightly to the ACE2 receptor, thereby increasing transmissibility, exhibits resistance to COVID-19 drugs, and evades the immune response elicited by vaccinated individuals.
The mutation (K417N) acquired by the Delta Plus variant is not something new.
It was also present in the Beta variant.
The Lambda variant (C.37 or B 1.1.1) was detected as early as December 2020 in Lima, Peru. This variant has been reported in 90-percent of all cases in that country.
Currently, more than 29 countries have detected this variant.
Hence, the Lambda variant with its new deletion may make it more capable of immune escape in vaccinated individuals.
Also, two (L452Q and L452R) of the seven-point mutations in the spike protein of the Lambda variant may result in increased antibody escape, thus rendering antibody cocktails ineffective.
All these factors directly contribute to increased infectivity by the Lambda variant, and a drop in the overall efficacy of the current vaccines.
Therefore, the emergence of new variants is a natural phenomenon, and the presence of Delta, Delta Plus and Lambda variants in Malaysia will not, and should not be surprising.
The new variants don’t have to be transported from another country by a carrier or infected person. It emerges from the extensive cycles of replication within the infected cohort.
And so forth…we’re way-short of being out of the woods…
“We don’t know diddly-squat…”
(Illustration out front: M.C Escher’s ‘Scholastica,’ found here)