I want to bring this up. I’m sure by now you have seen those sensationalist headlines about variants merging and “heavily mutated hybrids” and what not. Guess what I want you to do right now? Ignore them. Yes, ignore them. Know why? Things like this are just mass hysteria.
The ones we need to be paying attention to are B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1 because these are the only known SARS-CoV-2 variants that HAVE been shown to possess any evidence of functional significance or biological properties that make them a cause for concern to date. The rest?
Forget them. I read one article and I quote: “the recombination event may have occurred within the sample after it was taken from the infected person, not while it was inside their body. In which case it is an accidental laboratory artefact, not a wild virus.” Makes my head hurt.
Genetic recombination is literately just another mechanism a virus may utilize to adapt. There is also little evidence that recombination is favoured by natural selection to create advantageous genotypes or purge deleterious mutations. I don’t mean to sound dismissive but, it’s
important to pay attention to the pertinent variants. You’re going to find variants will pop up all over, it doesn’t mean that every single one is a cause for concern. Most just die out because they’re just not strong enough. Another article I read with an attention grabbing
headline says a couple of paragraphs down, “the hybrid variants don’t necessarily spell increased danger BUT-.” Don’t stress yourselves out. They get their clicks and then hope you don’t read past the headline. If they become a concern you’ll find out from most scientists first.

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More from @sailorrooscout

19 Feb
This is something! A recent study suggests a 3-month interval between doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca’s vaccine resulted in higher efficacy than a 6-week interval, with the first dose offering 76% protection against infection in the 3 months between doses. hubs.li/H0GVc0G0 🧵 Image
Researchers aimed to study the impact on immunogenicity and efficacy of extending the interval between priming and booster doses. In addition, they demonstrate the immunogenicity and protection afforded by the first dose, before a booster dose has been offered. Data is pooled by
from 3 controlled trials- a Phase 1/2 study in theUK (COV001), a Phase 2/3 study in the UK (COV002), and a Phase 3 study in Brazil (COV003)- and one double-blind Phase 1/2 study in South Africa (COV005). Between 4/23 and 12/6 2020, 24,422 participants were recruited and
Read 11 tweets
18 Feb
For those of you in the UK, this is wonderful news! Real-world data from the UK’s vaccine rollout program revealed just one dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca’s or Pfizer’s vaccines appear to block transmission and infection by two-thirds regardless of age group!
telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/02/1… Image
And if you’d like some more good news: AstraZeneca has confirmed 100% protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death in their primary analysis of Phase III trials more than 22 days after the first dose. The trials were done in the UK, Brazil AND South Africa.
Increased efficacy with longer inter-dose interval, protection of over 70% starting after a first dose and first indication of reduction in disease transmission of up to 67%.
papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf… and

astrazeneca.com/media-centre/p… Image
Read 4 tweets
18 Feb
This is extremely promising. A new study conducted by Pfizer and Israel’s Health Ministry shows Pfizer’s vaccine was estimated to be 89.5% effective at preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections regardless of whether symptomatic or not. This infers a possible reduction in transmission! 🧵 Image
Study is based on real-world data and analysis of individuals vaccinated with their 2nd dose.
90% Drop in infection
94% against symptomatic infection
94% against severe/crit. hospitalization
93% against death
This study can be found here (just see the screens).
The next two studies I want to highlight take into account viral load. When an infected individual has a high viral load, they are more likely to shed more viral particles, hence transmit the virus. Higher viral load is usually associated with severe disease as well. Carrying on.
Read 13 tweets
17 Feb
Ready for some good news?

Lab studies suggest Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines CAN protect against SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.351 and B.1.1.7. Despite reduction, neutralizing titer levels with B.1.351 remain above levels that are expected to be protective!
In addition, they found NO reduction in efficacy against the B.1.1.7 variant! It’s a good day!
Preliminary reports can be found here:
Pfizer: nejm.org/doi/full/10.10…
Moderna: nejm.org/doi/full/10.10…
Wanted to share more this morning concerning safety and efficacy of these vaccines that might put some of you with delayed Pfizer doses at ease. One dose of Pfizer’s vaccine was found to be highly efficacious, with a vaccine efficacy of 92.6%, similar to the first-dose efficacy
Read 5 tweets
17 Feb
A new study out of Harvard offers evidence that SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7’s increased transmissibility isn’t due to its viral load but rather it’s delayed clearance, resulting in longer duration of infection. The implications are extremely positive. 🧵
This could potentially mean a longer personal isolation period (longer than the currently recommended 10 days after symptom onset) may be all that is needed to control the spread of B.1.1.7!
For individuals infected with B.1.1.7, the mean duration of the proliferation phase was 5.3 days, the mean duration of the clearance phase was 8.0 days, and the mean overall duration of infection (proliferation plus clearance) was 13.3 days.
Read 5 tweets
17 Feb
Let’s discuss SARS-CoV-2 variants, selective pressure, and mutations. In the face of variants, our best protection is to get more people vaccinated. Vaccination will not automatically select for vaccine-resistant variants, especially if we can reduce transmission. Here’s why. 🧵
First, it is important to realize these vaccines will not drive the emergence of new variants and compel this virus to mutate in novel ways (OR create some scary super mutant so throw that idea out the window). I think this where a lot of the confusion lies- it’s not possible.
The specific mutations we are currently witnessing focus on altering the fitness of this virus by improving its rate of transmission with some signs of immune evasion. Mutation is a fairly constant process to begin with. It occurs randomly when a virus replicates and trust me,
Read 14 tweets

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