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“Double mutation” coronavirus variant found in California



Scientists at Stanford University have discovered a potentially worrying variant of the coronavirus in India. This variant was originally discovered in India but is so new that it has no official name.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and others called it a “double mutation” variant, which has attracted the attention of some scientists, because this variant not only contains one, but also has two worrying mutations in its genetic composition. These mutations have been tracked by the United States to other interesting variants. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

Dr. Benjamin Pinsky, director of the Stanford University Clinical Virology Laboratory, said in an interview on Monday: “We don̵

7;t know how these two mutations perform when paired together.”

Pansky said that after a large number of coronavirus cases were detected in Maharashtra, India’s second most populous state, the Indian government first disclosed the existence of this newly discovered variant on March 24. The largest city in the state is Mumbai. This new variant accounts for approximately 15% to 20% of the new coronavirus cases there.

One day later, on March 25, Stanford Laboratories identified the same variant in a coronavirus sample from a patient in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Pansky said: “On the 25th, we actually restored the sequence and found,’Wow, this is actually the same variant they were talking about.’ “So, this rapid development on a global scale is impressive. It is also worrying. “

Why this new variant may be worrying

Binsky said that the Stanford Laboratory identified a new confirmed case and seven presumptive cases in samples from patients in the Bay Area.

Among the other variants that federal officials are monitoring, none have the same combination of these two mutations, called L452R and E484Q, the latter being closely related to a more well-known mutation called E484K.

The L452R mutation is widely known in California and is a mutation found in the California variant (B.1.427 / B.1.429) that resulted in a strain that is believed to make the virus more infectious and may lead to vaccination People’s immunity is reduced.

The E484Q mutation is closely related to the E484K mutation. The E484K mutation has been found in the first discovered variety in South Africa (B.1.351); Brazil (P.1 and P.2) and New York (B.1.526). The E484K mutation is also worrying because it may give the virus the ability to partially evade the protective response of the immune system of vaccinated people or people who have survived the conventional COVID-19 disease.

“What we don’t know are those [two mutations] When they are put into the same virus, they will show up. “Pinsky said. “The information on these aspects is quite reasonable. [two mutations] Individually. But will it be worse if they are together? We really don’t know how they will interact. ”

The Stanford Laboratory regularly conducts genetic analysis of coronavirus specimens from COVID-19 patients in the Bay Area. They screened for three worrying mutations: L452R, E484K and N501Y. The N501Y mutation (which is believed to increase the transmission capacity of the coronavirus) was found in the British variant (B.1.1.7), the South African variant and one of the Brazilian variants (P.1).

Even if the laboratory was only designed to detect the closely related E484K mutation, the Stanford laboratory was able to detect the new variant E484Q mutation. Pinsky said: “Therefore, we were able to recognize this situation very accidentally.”

Variants highlight the importance of vaccination

The emergence of new variants underscores the importance of vaccinating as many people as possible quickly. The leading infectious disease expert in the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said at a briefing last month that the most famous New York variant B.1.526 is believed to have appeared near Washington Heights in Manhattan, and then spread rapidly throughout the city.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Varensky, said in March that one way that mutations can occur is through infection by a person with a compromised immune system.

Coronavirus infections in people with weak immune systems “may be a breeding ground for variants, and the reason is simple: if you don’t clear the virus quickly, you will perform immune selection in a given individual,” which means that the virus may evolve in the person’s body , And thus become more powerful.

“This may be how all these started [New York’s B.1.526 variant]”, Fauci said on March 1.

The only way to contain new mutations is to slow the spread of the virus.

The proliferation of variants such as the attack on Brazil can lead to potential nightmares. Manaus is one of the most severely affected cities in the world by conventional coronaviruses. It now appears that the new Brazilian variant, Professor of Health Policy and Honorary Dean Dr. Stefano Bertozzi has been largely re-infected by the University of California, Berkeley The academician of the School of Public Health said at a forum at the University of California, San Francisco last month.

However, it is believed that the immunity produced by the vaccine is better than the immunity produced by the surviving COVID-19.

Although it is believed that certain variants will cause a slight decrease in the effectiveness of certain vaccines, some experts say that the decrease is only equivalent to a mild to moderate disease.

Nowadays, even where the variants are widespread, vaccines currently available and under development can prevent deaths by 100%.

For example, in South Africa, a South African study was conducted on COVID-19 vaccines produced by Johnson & Johnson, Novavax and AstraZeneca. “Compared with studies conducted in other parts of the world, all of these have shown reduced efficacy. [the South African B.1.351 variant] It does not exist,” Pinsky said. “However, it is important to note that all vaccines are very effective in preventing serious illness and death. So far, basically all vaccines are 100% effective. “

Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to the White House COVID-19 Response Team, said Monday: “Vaccines can actually effectively address these mutations.”

‘We care a lot’

When asked about the new variants, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said: “We are as concerned as everyone else.”

Ferrer said in a briefing on Monday: “The tool we now provide everyone with is to prevent as much transmission as possible, because it means that these variants will not circulate.” “The more we pass, the more we pass it. many [that] The variant has the upper hand. “

The UK variant is the most common variant detected in the United States. In all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have reported more than 15,000 cases. In contrast, the South African variant was found in more than 300 cases, and the Brazilian P.1 variant was found in more than 200 cases-and none of these variants were detected in every state.

In California, the two main variants are the California and British variants. The California Department of Public Health has recorded 9,000 California variants and 851 British variants. There have been 35 cases of Brazilian P.1 variants, 33 cases of New York B.1.526 variants, 22 cases of Brazilian P.2 variants and 10 cases of South African variants.

Ferrer said that in Los Angeles County, variants of South Africa, Britain and Brazil have been found, but none of them dominate the area.

“We want to stay in this state. So let us work together: it’s our turn to vaccinate,” she said

The emergence of the new variant is based on the fact that other pandemic indicators in California are better than most parts of the country.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (Gavin Newsom) said on Twitter on Monday: “California currently has the lowest positive rate.” According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the past week, California’s per capita The coronavirus infection rate ranks third in the country, with 46 new coronavirus infections per 100,000 residents in the past 7 days. Only Oklahoma and Arkansas reported lower interest rates.

At the same time, Michigan has the worst case rate in the United States, with 452.5 cases per 100,000 residents in the past week, followed by New Jersey and New York.

Nonetheless, officials are worried that if people suddenly decide to stop wearing masks and gather in crowds, the situation in California may worsen. Only one-third of Californians have received at least partial vaccination.

“Our reality is that cases across the country and many parts of the world have increased and increased, and in Los Angeles County, the situation here is more complicated, so we will need to continue to follow public health safety measures until there are more people If we want to stick to our achievements until the vaccination,” Ferrell said.

Lin reported from San Francisco and money from Los Angeles.

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