Below the latest, at this writing, on scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus.

‘The numbers of new cases are down’. There’s a lot of sweet little lies that we tell ourselves, “It will be okay.” It is not okay. Recent U.S. numbers (3/24/21):

  • The number of new COVID-19 cases reported each day is hovering at a high level of 50,000 to 60,000.
  • New hospital admissions have also plateaued at 4,500 to 5,000 admissions a day.
  • Deaths from COVID-19 are declining but remain high, and the rate of decline is slowing.

Add to this new evidence shows variants to date have escaped at least 2 of 3 types of human antibodies. Researchers looked at how mutations in coronavirus variants affect antibodies’ ability to target a key region on the virus spike called the receptor-binding domain (RBD), which has been mutating rapidly. This evidence may explain reinfection in individuals as most likely from a variant virus -but not proven as yet.

Many fully vaccinated (more than 3 weeks) medical professionals, felt to have ‘full’ immunity, have been contracting COVID-19! Are they the % that can’t develop immunity from the vaccine? Or is it that the vaccines do not protect us from contracting COVID-19? Or did they contract a variant virus? Recall the vaccines were developed presuming the so-called ‘wild virus’ before it ever mutated. The vaccines were touted as keeping us alive as well as out of the hospital from COVID-19. At the time of emergency use authorization, it was unknown as to whether or not immunized individuals could contract and/or transmit the virus. 

Yep, it is a dynamic rapidly changing viral scene, new variants become the predominant spreading strain. It is alphabet soup with the numbering of the multiple variants circulating in our air. Currently, there is no agreed-upon system for naming the variants! Regretfully several to date, the new variants spread easier and cause more severe illness. 

It was so simple a year ago one virus the “wild-type” (or natural) strain of the coronavirus, now hang on for the new spreading* ones :

B.1.429, .427 CA, USA

B.1.1.7  (UK)

B.1.351 Zambia “South African” 50% more transmissible

P.1 Manaus “Brazil” also in Japn prevalent

B.1.525 Nigeria

B.1.526 NYC -60% on new cases NYC (3/21/21) also in TX, WY, and MD

I want to elaborate a bit on B.1.526, as it is for all intense purposes acting as a double variant, featuring a pair of common mutations known as E484K and S477N. At this posting, it remains unclear if more transmissible and if more lethal. At this posting, it remains unclear if it is more transmissible and/or more lethal.

NEWS flash on 3/24/21 – a NON-assigned number – new “double mutant” variant of the coronavirus was detected from samples collected in India. One of the mutations is present from the South African variant – E484Q position change in S protein appears to make it potent that is more dangerous.

After a retrospective review, researchers have noticed in post-Moderna vaccine candidates, 12.4 times less effective against the South African variant (7.6% protective), and Pfizer’s was found to have reduced effectiveness by about 10.3 times ( 9.4% protective). 

The good news is that the mRNA vaccines (Moderna & Pfizer) held up well against the UK Covid-19 variant.