📍New variant alert—I’m quietly monitoring several odd variants signals that have emerged this week. For now, I’ll just share this— #B11529 has 32 new mutations in the #SARSCoV2 spike protein alone— “an extremely high number” & “could be a real concern”.🧵
2) The variant was first spotted in Botswana, where three cases have now been sequenced. Six more have been confirmed in South Africa, and one in Hong Kong in a traveller returning from South Africa. github.com/cov-lineages/p…
3) Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, posted details of the new variant on a genome-sharing website, noting that the “incredibly high amount of spike mutations suggest this could be of real concern”
4) @PeacockFlu seem worried— he says the new #B11529 variant from Botswana has an “really awful Spike mutation profile”.
5) The first cases of the variant were collected in Botswana on 11 November, and the earliest in South Africa was recorded three days later.
6) The case found in Hong Kong was a 36-year-old man who had a negative PCR test before flying from Hong Kong to South Africa, where he stayed from 22 October to 11 November. He tested negative on his return to Hong Kong, but tested positive on 13 November while in quarantine. 👀
7) Notably, it’s the first time that a variant has *2* furin cleavage site mutations. “variant contains not one, but two furin cleavage site mutations - P681H & N679K- this is the first time @PeacockFlu seen 2 of these mutations in a single variant.”

📌Furin site spells trouble.
8) Side note… couple months ago, I warned about a new #C12 variant that newly emerged in South Africa. Some said it was going nowhere, despite it achieving 2x as many mutations from expected average. Well, I have an update on C12 (next post #9 below)…
9) …well bad news, it seems #C12 variant has now suddenly spiked and achieved 30% of all sequences #SARSCoV2 variants in South Africa. 30% doesn’t seem to be a fluke. And this excludes recently unstable numbers. C12 is real.
10) Back to the first #B11529 Botswana variant with 32 mutations… @ravgup33_ravi says this about the new variant: “This one is worrying and I’ve not said that since delta… the mutations in this virus likely result in high level escape from neutralising antibodies” 👀 #COVID19
11) I’ll post more updates later… but back to C12… let’s look at what’s going on in South Africa… for several weeks, #C12 has now become fiercely winning against even the unstoppable #DeltaVariant!! Look at how #C12 is displacing Delta. It’s all over the data for weeks now. 👀
12) Another side note about the #DeltaVariant—one of its most dangerous mutations was in the furin cleavage site P681H.

Guess which variant also has another nasty mutation at the same 681 amino acid spot?➡️ The new Botswana #B11529 variant.
13) New data just in on #B11529 from @MoshabelaMosa — “becoming dominant” and “displacing Delta” is not language we want to see. See 🧵 below.
14) the “dominant” prevalence comes from Kwazulu-Natal region — where the blue dots represent almost all the new sequences discovered. The blue dots 🔵 are the new worrisome #B11529. 👀
15) bad update… here is what we just discovered happened with #B11529 in quarantine note in Hong Kong…

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More from @DrEricDing

27 Nov
NEW—“Dozens” likely infected onboard 2 flights ✈️ carrying ~600 people from South Africa that landed in Netherlands—Dutch health service estimates up to ~85 cases —so far 15 positive from 110 tested. Nearly 500 results still pending—& pending if #Omicron. reuters.com/world/europe/p… Image
2) “The Dutch government banned all air travel from southern Africa early on Friday—passengers already en route to the 🇳🇱 would have to undergo testing and quarantine upon arrival.
Passengers from Cape Town & Johannesburg, said they were kept waiting on the tarmac for hours.”
3) Travel restrictions sadly could be too late. The first EU case of #OmicronVariant detected in Belgium — she didn’t even travel to Sub-Saharan Africa! This means the virus has definitely escaped the region un-detected.
Read 4 tweets
26 Nov
BREAKING—“Omicron Variant”—The World Health Organization designates the new #B11529 strain a "variant of concern" high priority risks rating and gives it the Greek name #Omicron. Image
2) How risky is the new #OmicronVariant? It has potentially 500% competitive advantage compared to the old Wuhan strain. That is staggering. Let’s hope the early data is wrong. But I worry it’s not given WHO concern about it 👇
3) this is the best pandemic strategy. @DrMikeRyan

Be fast. Have no regrets. The greatest error is not to move. Image
Read 8 tweets
26 Nov
📍BREAKING— The European Commission has recommended that EU countries introduce an "emergency brake" on travel from southern Africa due to #B11529… to help "limit the spread", recommending all air travel to affected countries be suspended & "respect strict quarantine rules". 🧵 Image
2) This follows a confirmed case in Belgium, a case in Israel, and 2 cases caught in Hong Kong 🇭🇰 hotel quarantine.
3) here is where a lot of worry is ==> if early data pans out, it’s suggesting 500% virus competitive advantage versus old Wuhan strain. Let’s hope this is wrong. But scientists are worried.
Read 5 tweets
26 Nov
📍BREAKING— Israel 🇮🇱 reports its first confirmed case of new #B11529 coronavirus variant in a traveler who flew ✈️ from Malawi ➡️ this is now the 3rd case outside of Africa (after 2 cases found in Hong Kong 🇭🇰 - see thread 👇). #NuVariant

2) in HK, #B11529 2/: fortunately caught by 🇭🇰’s quarantine system for international arrivals. But that’s where the good news ends— #B11259 was barely caught by a 4th PCR test in cross infection across a hotel hallway. Worse—both were Pfizer vaccinated.👇
3) Here is Israel 🇮🇱 Ministry’s statement — two other cases under suspicion of #B11529 — worrisome — all individuals were vaccinated too. Image
Read 7 tweets
26 Nov
⚠️My god—the new #B11259 variant being possibly ~500% more competitively infectious is the most staggering stat yet. Also, #NuVariant has more than >2x the number of bad spike mutations than Delta. Here’s an updated 🧵👇

Model by @JPWeiland matches up with graph by @jburnmurdoch ImageImage
2) That spike in #B11259 displacing Delta has now caused shockwaves worldwide. It is really bad. Not only that but the previous #C12 variant also seems to be slowly growing and displacing Delta too in South Africa.
3) the new #B11259 variant has an “extremely high” 32 worrisome mutations in the spike. That is a “real concern” and much much much more worrisome than any others found to date. 👇
Read 11 tweets
25 Nov
⚠️BREAKING—HOTEL CROSS TRANSMISSION OF #B11529—Traveler from South Africa🇿🇦 flew to Hong Kong🇭🇰 with new variant—but wasn’t discovered until 4th day of quarantine on 2nd PCR. Another guest across hallway cross-infected—only positive on 8th day on 4th PCR! Both Pfizer vaccinated🧵 Image
2) the viral load of these two with #B11529 in Hong Kong hotels were VERY high. PCR Ct values of 18 and 19!!! That’s insanely high considering they were negative on recent PCR tests. Damn, looks like vaccine evasion could be real with this variant.
3) and hell yes it’s very airborne. The hotel guests were in different room across the hallway from each other. Environmental samples found the virus in 25 of 87 swab across both rooms.
Read 18 tweets

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