From Dr. Mike Chapman February 12, 2021:
Attached is today’s JAMA newsfeed on the pandemic with two articles of interest, particularly the editorial by Fauci, et.al., that are pertinent to us here in CA.
For those of you who do not want to read through the articles here is a summary:
Research letter: A new novel variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 has emerged in Southern California that appears to be unique to So. CA and has increased resistance to treatment with monoclonal antibodies. Not much is known about it yet.
Editorial: The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 continues to mutate resulting in new strains that are more infectious and lethal than the original “wild” strain that came out of China. United Kingdom variant B.1.1.7: It has 8 new mutations (new amino acids in the RNA sequence) in the Spike protein that makes it more effective in using the ACE2 pathway to invade cells. It is 30-80% more effective in being transmitted between humans and is 30% more lethal. It is now the dominant strain in the UK and is also here in the San Francisco Bay area.
South Africa variant B.1.351: It has 9 new mutations in the Spike protein that makes it more effective in using the ACE2 pathway to invade cells. It is more effectively transmitted between humans. It is now the dominant strain in So. Africa and is also here in CA. It is more resistant to treatment with monoclonal antibodies and convalescent serum.
The effectiveness of the current vaccines we are receiving against these new variants is unclear. Early studies suggest that they are less effective against transmission but remain 85% effective against preventing severe disease.
Bottom Line: The virus is continuing to mutate and will probably be with us much longer than everybody expects. New vaccines or modified boosters may be needed. Get vaccinated and continue to use all public health mitigation measures. Wear an effective mask (double masking preferred) when in public or with people outside of your “bubble”. Socially distance, the more the better. Avoid indoor settings with strangers. Avoid any crowds. Do not travel.
Stay safe, Mike