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With limited surveillance of Covid-19 variants, it becomes déjàvu again



A kindHealth officials in the United States announced that the second or third person may have been infected with the new and more spreadable SARS-CoV-2 virus strain. Infectious disease experts once again felt “déjà vu”.

Less than a year ago, the early response to the coronavirus crisis was blocked by the inability to expand the ability to detect the virus and curb its spread. Now, once again, it is unclear how prevalent the new strain that first became popular in the UK is in the United States. A possible and possible case has been detected in Colorado, and one case has been reported in California. But it is likely that the spread of variants has not stopped there.

“It feels like we received our first case in the Seattle area from around January 1

9, and six weeks later, suddenly, it seemed that we had community transmission in California and Seattle, Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Arizona State University. Michael Worobey said. “It does feel that way. “

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Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute, told STAT that he does not believe that the new variant called B.1.1.7 is not yet widespread. There are 250 gene sequences of the SARS-2 virus from the December case in the United States, which have been registered in the international virus sharing database GISAID; Bedford said that there is no B.1.1.7 among them. But he thinks it may only be a matter of time.

He said: “How do I imagine this work…it is very similar to January in February.” “There have been sowing events all over the country. Some people have taken them, some have not yet…. You can imagine it should be more likely It appeared in New York and Boston and other places with good travel links with London, but accidentally it may be picked up elsewhere.”

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Worobey agreed that the new variant may have spread in many parts of the country and has received widespread attention from the United States because the United States did not adequately sequence the SARS-2 virus.

“Compared to genome sequencing, compared to the United Kingdom, we are eight balls behind in genome sequencing, compared to the United Kingdom,” he warned that if the United States does not find this and spreads slowly, then it is likely to be like The variant spread quickly as the UK saw it.

The new variant has an abnormal number of mutations, including some that seem to change the behavior of the virus. It seems to spread more easily, increasing the rate at which infected people infect others.

To date, there is no evidence that this variant causes more serious diseases. However, the hospital is doing its best to deal with Covid patients. As the quality of care decreases, more infections may lead to higher mortality.

“If the health care system is overwhelmed, the case fatality rate will increase,” said Nahid Bhadelia, medical director of the Special Pathogens Department at Boston Medical Center. “This is how it works.”

People are working hard to find the range where new variants are spreading, one of which is led by Worobey’s laboratory. His team is trying to develop a detection method that can be used to detect mutant viruses in wastewater from community sewage systems. He said that if the test is effective, the laboratory will ship the test materials to other laboratories, test samples in its own laboratory, or share the recipes for making primers and probes, so that the test can be widely used.

Worobey said: “I do think wastewater will be the best way to get better treatment in the short term, rather than waiting for a strange laboratory like Colorado to encounter one of them in a single patient sample.”

Officials said Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also stepping up efforts to increase the sequencing of the SARS-2 virus.

Gregory Armstrong, who leads the CDC team’s surveillance of virus variants, said that the national SARS-CoV-2 strain surveillance system was launched in November and is currently being expanded to be able to process 750 samples submitted by each state. Sequencing and research are conducted every week. CDC is also working with the country’s national reference laboratory to provide funding for sequencing multiple viruses. Armstrong pointed out that he hopes to reach 3,500 per week.

He said that experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and elsewhere believe that the mutation contained in B.1.1.7 will not significantly undermine the protective effect of the Covid vaccine during use or production. “This may have a small impact. But remember, the immunity induced by natural infection or vaccination may be large enough that the immunity will decrease slightly [antibody] Potency may not have any noticeable effect at all,” Armstrong said.

But Bedford said that increased use of the vaccine will put greater pressure on the SARS-2 virus to mutate to try to evade the protection triggered by the vaccine.

He said: “Trying to gain immunity to cattle faster and reduce transmission through vaccination is more likely.” “The faster we can vaccinate enough people, the more we can stop this variant and other futures. The variants spread.”




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