According to news reports, California scientists are increasingly worried about the state’s “homemade” coronavirus mutants, which are more infectious than previous strains and more resistant to current vaccines. Studies have shown that there may be.
Variant known as B.1.427 / B.1.429, First appearance in California It didn’t show up on scientists’ radar until last spring, but this winter. Subspecies cases spread rapidly in the state this winter. According to the New York Times.. But scientists weren’t sure if the variant was actually more contagious than the previous strain, or if it happened to become more common, for example through some super-spreading events. did.
In a new study that has not yet been published in peer-reviewed journals, researchers analyzed 2,172 virus samples collected in California between September 2020 and January 2021. The New York Times reported that it became the predominant variant in California, doubling cases every 18 days.
In addition, according to The New York Times, laboratory studies have found that mutants are 40% better at infecting human cells than previous strains. In addition, people tested positive for California variants had twice as much viral load (or viral levels) in their nose and throat as those infected with other versions of the virus. This may mean that people infected with a California variant can spread it more easily than people infected with other strains. Los Angeles Times..
Researchers say their findings mean that B.1.427 / B.1.429 should be considered a “subspecies of concern” similar to the variants that emerged in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. It was.
“The devil is already here,” Dr. Charles Chiu, a virologist and lead author of the study at the University of California, San Francisco, told the LA Times. “I wish it was different, but science is science.”
Even in laboratory experiments antibody Those infected with other strains of the new coronavirus, or those vaccinated with COVID-19, were less effective in “neutralizing” or nullifying California variants.
Still, California variants may not be as successful as South African variants in avoiding current vaccines. In laboratory studies, South African variants induced antibody levels that were six-fold lower than those produced in response to other strains. Live Science previously reported.. However, the levels of antibodies produced in response to the California variant were only half, the LA Times reported.
There is also very early evidence that California variants can be more deadly than other strains. Chiu et al. Analyzed about 300 cases of B.1.427 / B.1.429 in San Francisco and found that people infected with this mutant were far more likely to die than those infected with other coronavirus strains. I found out. However, due to the small sample size (only 12 people died in total), the results may be statistically insignificant.
Some researchers who weren’t involved in the new study said California variants appear to pose less threat than other coronavirus variants. “It’s not as big as any other university,” William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard University of Public Health in Boston, told The New York Times. He said the California variant does not appear to be widespread in the country or elsewhere in the world, and B.1.1.7 (British variant) seems to be taken over immediately where it was introduced.
A study published earlier this month estimated that B.1.1.7 was up to 45% more infectious than early strains in the United States. According to CNN.. Early data from California suggest that B.1.427 / B.1.429 may be up to 24% more contagious than previous strains, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Studies over the next few weeks will outweigh the magnitude of the problems that B.1.427 / B.1.429 poses, and other coronavirus variants that are already occurring in the state, including the British and Southern variants. You will deepen your understanding of how. An African variant, the New York Times, reported.
Originally published in Live Science.
“Homemade” California coronavirus mutants are more contagious and probably deadly
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