You may not know it when you look at the unmasked faces around you, but there are still many novel coronaviruses out there. And the virus seems to be mutating faster than ever before, creating more and more infectious variants and subvariants.
The evolutionary trend with SARS-CoV-2 may not mean a significant increase in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. At least not everywhere, or for very long.
However, this highlights the inconvenient fact that despite the lifting of COVID restrictions in most non-Chinese countries, the pandemic is not over, despite the fact that many people want to postpone the disease and uncertainty of the past two years. The virus is not mutated.
The latter sub-options are the most transient. BA.4 and BA.5, the offspring of the Omicron variant first appeared in South Africa last month. BA.2.12 and similar BA.2.12.1 first appeared in New York at the same time.
Are BA.4 and BA.5 10 percent more contagious than their direct predecessor, the Omicron BA.2 type. BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1 are 25 percent more infectious. Similarly, BA.4, BA.5, BA.2.12, and B.2.12.1 are rapidly dominating their areas of origin one to two months after BA.2 dominates. BA.2, in turn, won the competition and replaced his parent BA.1 a few months after BA.1 dominated.
China’s new COVID crisis could create the worst case scenario
In other words, the main new subvariants seem to be coming to us faster and faster. In this sense, the virus may seem to be winning the genetic game of chance. When exposed to a semiconductor barrier of antibodies from vaccines and past infections, the pathogen becomes more contagious.
Edwin Michael, an epidemiologist at the Center for Global Health Infectious Diseases at the University of South Florida, told The Daily Beast that immune stress “speeds up the selection of appropriate options that are prevalent in the population.” “This leads to the emergence of cascades of new options and their frequent distribution in the host population.”
But these cascading options are a price to pay for our expanding, immune population. You cannot have the second without the first. Thus, while COVID appears to be winning, its genetic victories may pass quickly.
Niema Moshiri, a geneticist at the University of California, San Diego, last year urged The Daily Beast to treat every COVID infection as a gambler playing a slot machine. Each individual infection causes two mutations every two weeks, Moshiri explained. In other words, the virus pulls the lever twice a month, hoping to win the genetic jackpot, which has a new advantage over other viruses – and a new way of infecting its owner.
“What if we had 50 million people pulling the levers of slot machines at the same time?” Moshiri asked. “We expected at least one person to win the jackpot quickly. Now, replace the slot machine with a “clinically significant SARS-CoV-2 mutation, and we’re in that position.”
To complete the metaphor, add the urgency of the virus as the immunity around it increases. Sensing the dangers around him, the cells of the novel coronavirus are always playing with great determination.
On April 27, a man in Times Square is repairing a COVID test tent.
Spencer Platt / Getty
There have never been more than a few million active COVID cases in the last 30 months due to viral waves and devastation. In early 2021 and early 2022, during the worst waves, there were tens of millions of infections at the same time. Given the high rate of SARS-CoV-2 mutation, it is not surprising that the virus has created a stable line of significant new variants – a scientific term.
Delta was the most dangerous breed to carry the worst waves of infections in 2021, and much of the world has just begun to access effective therapies and vaccines. In late 2021, scientists from Botswana and South Africa identified the first cases of the new breed Omicron.
Mutations in a protein that is part of the virus that enters and infects our cells make Omicron more contagious than Delta. On the worst day of the Omicron wave in January. In 19, officials counted at least 4 million new infections in 24 hours. This is four times more than the worst days of the Delta waves in January and April 2021.
Strong global acceptance of the vaccine, as well as antibodies from tens of millions of people due to a previous infection, have reversed Omicron’s worst results. When Omicron first appeared, nearly 8 billion people worldwide received at least one dose of the vaccine. Today, more than two-thirds are at least partially attached.
If you add to this the natural antibodies of hundreds of millions of previous infections, the human immune system appears to be very effective. Available infections are common, but all of these antibodies are good at preventing serious illness that can lead to the death of the virus.
Thus, as Omicron dominated, the incidence increased, but there were no deaths. Omicron’s most dangerous day occurs in February. 9, 13,000 people died worldwide – 5,000 less than on the worst day of the Delta in January. 20, 2021.
Epidemiologists call the phenomenon of “divorce” more often, but fewer deaths, and as we walk through the third year of the pandemic, we begin to determine the evolution of COVID. There are signs of disconnection, which can be really extreme. Because, the immunity that leads to divorce and also pushes the virus to mutate faster, making it an increasingly transmissible offspring.
The two COVID variants simply combined with the Frankenstein virus
Immunity boosts mutants, which boost immunity by inoculating antibodies against a mild infection. It accelerates the positive feedback cycle, its products are antibodies and viral offspring.
The growing gap between infection and death may indeed be the best-case scenario if the novel does not “self-destruct” miraculously by entering the genetic corner of the coronavirus. Many experts firmly believe that evolutionary stagnation is a reflection of respiratory viruses. “I don’t think self-destruction is possible,” Jesse Bloom, an investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Washington State, told the Daily Beast.
The bad news is that we need to learn to deal with more infectious variants and subvariants of SARS-CoV-2 that will appear faster and faster. The good news is, we know how to fight. BA.4, BA.5, BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1 are derived from our vaccine and have some ability to bypass natural antibodies – experts call it “immune avoidance”.
At Los Angeles International Airport, a traveler wears a mask after a Florida federal court overturned a national mask mandate that included planes and other public transportation on April 18.
Through MediaNews Group / Long Beach Press-Telegram Getty
Some immune avoidance does not mean complete immune avoidance. Natural and vaccine antibodies still work. They are the leading cause of deaths and omissions from the main Omicron lineage. They are the reason for the divorce of the small offspring of Omicron. “Mutants don’t seem as pathogenic as Delta,” Stephanie James, head of the COVID testing lab at Regis University in Colorado, told The Daily Beast.
Just expect to hear more about new lines and sublinks in the coming months, as they emerge and dominate quickly. Don’t be surprised if you catch one of them, even if you have been vaccinated and are getting stronger, even if you have antibodies from a previous infection.
But don’t panic. Keep getting vaccinated, maybe everything will be fine.
Of course, if the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 does not take a dangerous turn. In the last two years, there has been little immune avoidance with all the major breeds and subline we have seen. This does not mean that the virus cannot develop to achieve significant immune relief. If the mutations are similar to pathogen-playing slots and the jackpot is a new variant, then the option that pierces our antibodies is the mega-jackpot.
If the virus wins that The passion, everything changes.
Read more at The Daily Beast.
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