2 thoughts on “The British are coming!

  1. Yoicks! says:

    UK to widen COVID lockdowns as new strain from South Africa found https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/23/uk-to-widen-covid-lockdowns-as-new-strain-from-south-africa-found
    South African Medical Association chairperson, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, said doctors have noticed one “major” difference with regard to the variant.
    “Where in the past the younger people was not really that sick, we are now seeing that people, especially overweight people, round about the age between 20 and 30, are also in ICU with severe inflammation from this virus,” she said.
    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said Monday the new variant is no stronger than the original.

    • Doc says:

      “Here’s what’s worrying about the coronavirus variant” by William Haseltine https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/24/opinions/coronavirus-variant-what-weve-learned-haseltine/index.html
      “While much is still unknown, what we do know about this new variant tells us important things about the virus: it can adapt to become more easily transmissible and may be able to become more difficult to neutralize and may possibly be able to outsmart the vaccine to a small extent.
      To date, SARS-CoV-2 has mutated at a fairly steady rate, with just one or two variations per month. Some variations have given scientists pause, at times mutating to become more transmissible and at other times mutating to become more effective at avoiding detection by our immune systems. But with this new variant, called B.1.1.7, the virus has acquired 17 mutations all at once that change the virus’ proteins, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which affect four different viral proteins: the spike protein, ORF1ab, Orf8 and the N protein, the major nucleocapsid.
      While the sheer number of mutations in one variant is worrying, what is perhaps more worrisome is how the mutations, taken together, could change how the virus operates. One of the mutations, N501Y, increases how tightly the spike protein binds to the human ACE2 receptor, which may make it easier for the virus to take root in those infected. This mutation is likely why this new variant, first isolated in the UK in late September, now accounts for more than 60% of new infections in and around London.
      …I often liken viruses to code-cracking machines, continuously running the numbers until they find a new way to exploit whichever ecological niche they inhabit — trillions of copies of a single virus each changing and adapting to every new challenge. Sometimes, we run up against a virus that learns how to crack our defenses faster than we can rebuild them. I fear SARS-CoV-2 may be one of them.”
      Re: William A. Haseltine see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_A._Haseltine

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