- In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss COVID-19 variants Identified around the world continuing to raise questions, those studied appear to be variations in the spike protein. Read More below.
- When referring to individuals who are “fully vaccinated”, this refers to individuals that have waited at least two weeks post receiving (a) the second does of a two-dose vaccine; or (b) one dose of a single vaccine.
- For the first time in months, new daily COVID-19 cases have dropped below 100,000 cases in the US.
- Back in July 2020, a new COVID variant (CAL.20C) with 5 mutations was discovered in California, specifically Los Angeles County. Since then, the variant has grown to account for 35% of all COVID strains in California and has been detected in 19 other states, Washington D.C., and other countries! According to CIDRAP, “CAL.20C is one of several other widely circulating variants, such as those first identified in the United Kingdom (B117), South Africa (B1351), and Brazil (B11248).”
- As global COVID-19 cases fall, WHO warns of complacency – https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/02/global-covid-19-cases-fall-who-warns-complacency
- Pfizer and Moderna are currently enrolling children 12 years and older into clinical trials for their vaccines; however, the results of these vaccine trials (for kids) will not be available until about summer 2021!
- On Friday (2/12), the CDC released its operational strategy for reopening schools.
- In France, health authorities are recommending only one vaccine dose for those who have had COVID-19 within 3 to 6 months (unless one has a compromised immune system).
Recommendations for Industry
COVID-19 Variants Continue to Raise Question
With several variants identified around the world, the following are the most prominent of strains:
- First identified in UK – 501Y.V1 aka B.1.1.7
- First identified in South Africa – 501Y. V2 aka B1.351
- First identified in Brazil – 501Y. V3 aka P1
- First identified in California – L452R
Of the variants that have been studied, the variations appear to be in the spike protein. The spike protein is important for infectivity, as it is what allows the virus to attach in humans, thus the greater transmissibility being seen in the variants. That alteration is also raising lines of inquiry about the efficacy of the vaccine since vaccines have been directed toward the spike protein.
As shown in the tables below from covariants.org, the US data from January 25 shows 9% of the circulating variants are S:N501, primarily the B.1.1.7 variant, with 452R making up 6% of the circulating variants (the strain first identified in CA).
While the majority of cases in the U.S. are still of the original strain, CDC continues to speculate that the B117 strain will become the dominant strain in the U.S. Although we’re not yet seeing things moving that direction, we don’t project CDC to be wrong on that.
So with all the remaining unknowns and variant concern, we are not out of woods, things continue to be unstable. So, once again, keep doing what you’re doing and stay informed as it alls continues to evolve.
In Case You Missed It
- In Friday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discussed new recommendations from CDC for masks and quarantining vaccinated persons.
- The CDC has declared that individuals who have received the full course of a COVID-19 vaccine do not need to quarantine for 10 – 14 days post-exposure to a COVID-infected individual, as long as the person remains asymptomatic and meets other criteria outlined in today’s vaccine Q&A.”
- Recently, millions of counterfeit N95 were bought by hospitals, medical institutions, and government agencies. Some of these masks have been used. There is currently an investigation underway.
- A recent BBC article broke down “Coronavirus vaccines: How’s my country and the rest of the world doing?” providing a good perspective of vaccines / 100,000 people per country vaccines have been given, what types of vaccines are preferred by certain countries, and when – if the current pace is continued – the world, overall, will be vaccinated.
- Doctors, that despite the vaccine rollout, are warning that COVID may become endemic within society.
- UK scientists warn that the new B.1.351 COVID-variant strain, first identified in South Africa, would likely sweep the world.
- Recently the WHO arrived in China to understand the source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. You can watch the WHO Video briefing (Twitter). It is “extremely unlikely” that the coronavirus came from a lab in China. Instead, Peter Ben Embarek, PhD, who led the WHO team in China, announced that “an intermediary host species is the most likely” cause of the virus.
- Europe’s oldest person, a French nun, has survived COVID and will celebrate her 117th birthday.
- Tokyo's Olympic committee (Olympic Summer Games) has released its COVID-19 playbook with plans to test athletes every 4 days.