Alina Chan Profile picture
13 Jan, 6 tweets, 3 min read
For those following the SA variant:
"doubt E484K will render the coronavirus vaccines useless. Rather.. there's a possibility the mutation- on its own or in combination with other mutations- could decrease the efficacy of the vaccine against the variant."…
Several of my scientist friends have been tirelessly following new mutations arising in the SARS2 virus circulating around the world. They have to continually detect new variants, test them in the lab to see if new mutation combos impact the efficacy of vaccines and antibodies.
This challenge gets worse when spread of covid is larger. @CNN reports it right: "It's not that the coronavirus is such a speedy mutator.. It's that the virus is spreading so quickly around the world, and each time it goes from person to person, it gets another chance to mutate."
Studies like this one by @jbloom_lab are incredibly important for predicting mutations that could get around vaccines.
"The most important site is E484, where neutralization by some sera is reduced >10-fold by several mutations, including (E484K)..."…
Although worldwide, the E484K mutation has only appeared in ~0.2% of all sequenced SARS2 virus genomes, if you look on @CovidCg you can see where it is really picking up recently.
Different view; vertical axis is now new counts of virus sequences with the E484K mutation (previous tweet was % sequences).

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More from @Ayjchan

15 Jan
"The Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, wanted by the United States on fraud charges, has already been leading a cushy life in her gated, seven-bedroom mansion in Vancouver, out on $8 million in bail and awaiting the outcome of her extradition hearing."
"The tiny flashes of dry wit and glimmering hope that surface in his letters and his conversations with consular officials tell them that he’s still there, somehow.
“He always tells me, ‘I’ve got this day to day. Just get me out,’ ” says Kovrig’s wife…
"Nadjibulla & Kovrig met as graduate students at Columbia University.. they were both working at the UN.. Her work with various UN agencies often took her into war zones, and they had an agreement that if anything bad ever happened, he would find a way to get her out."
Read 4 tweets
14 Jan
Couple of articles out today about @WHO investigation into covid origins: "it’s very difficult to get the full picture of what has been done.. It makes sense to simply go there, sit all at one table together.” - Fabian Leendertz, microbiologist on the team…
"There is too little time to do actual science on these trips, says Linfa Wang, an emerging disease specialist.. not part of the team but took part in a similar mission for SARS in 2003.. 'The mission is to improve the communication and increase exchange'"…
I felt that these articles re-calibrated my personal expectations for the WHO investigation.

It's become apparent that information has not been shared with the WHO. They're essentially going to Wuhan, physically, to get the info that has existed for months but not been shared...
Read 16 tweets
13 Jan
I've been getting many questions about pre-Wuhan covid cases detected around the world. In particular, 2 studies: Barcelona (March 2019) and Italy (Sep 2019); as well as the widely disseminated USA (Dec 2019) study.

I think best to make a single thread discussing all of these.
This is the Barcelona wastewater study that claims that they detected SARS2 genomes "in sewage long before the declaration of COVID-19 cases among the population"…
Important for readers to understand that if you can detect a pathogen in wastewater at a city level, the outbreak has to be quite obvious. It's not like 1 in 100,000 people has covid and you see it in the wastewater.
Read 39 tweets
10 Jan
WIV Dr Shi ZL's own words: "We have done bat virus surveillance in Hubei Province for many years, but have not found that bats in Wuhan or even the wider Hubei Province carry any coronaviruses that are closely related to SARS-CoV-2."…
Also, WIV and the Huazhong Agricultural University "collected samples of farmed animals and livestock from farms around Wuhan and in other places in Hubei Province. We did not detect any SARSCoV-2 nucleic acids in these samples."
I'm distressed that experts who are criticizing people like me for spreading misinformation - literally calling me a conspiracist and comparing me to QAnon and people who incite violence - are also unintentionally spreading misinformation about covid origins.
Read 7 tweets
10 Jan
The @WHO team which didn't even have a plan to investigate lab origins was barred from entering China last week. Now we hear that stats on 300 WIV studies have been wiped from the Chinese NSF website.…
Normal behavior: When a surely natural spillover of SARS occurs in your typically SARS-free city with a lab studying diverse, novel SARS pathogens, you make all of that research as inaccessible as possible and prevent a team whose membership you picked from entering the country.
“The WHO has been attempting to send in the team of global experts from a number of countries for months. It has been talking with Chinese officials since July.”…
Read 4 tweets
9 Jan
The first week of 2021 has been terrible.

On origins, we heard from Mail on Sunday that Matt Pottinger (who resigned after the insurrection) said latest intelligence points to WIV as "most credible source" of SARS2/covid.

No idea when we will hear more.
Then, @nicholsonbaker8 published his lab leak hypothesis, which I enjoyed reading even if I don't agree with some speculations - got drawn into defending the piece, which led to me being compared to people who incite violence and destruction of democracy.…
The reason why I don't consider a lab leak and even a leak of a bioengineered virus a conspiracy is because there's so much we don't know yet.

But I know that rushing to label these as conspiracy, lies, and misinformation will come back to bite scientists one day.
Read 10 tweets

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