“Worsening New COVID-19 Dangers and Concerns”
Recently, the Journal of the American Medical Association, announced that COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the United States. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it does. COVID-19 has now surpassed heart disease and cancer as the leading daily cause of death in the U.S. We are now being informed that the coronavirus variant detected in South Africa poses a “significant re-infection risk” and raises concerns over vaccine effectiveness. Several new variants—each with a cluster of genetic mutations—have emerged in recent weeks, sparking fears over an increase in infectiousness as well as suggestions that the virus could begin to elude immune response, whether from prior infection or a vaccine. These new variants, detected from Britain, South Africa, and Brazil, have mutations to the virus’ spike protein, which is key in vaccination immunity. And it is one mutation in particular—known as E484K and present in the variants detected in South Africa and Brazil but not the one from Britain—that has experts particularly worried about immunity “escape.” Another variant found there—called 501Y.V2—was resistant to neutralizing antibodies built up from prior infection. In short, it resists “monoclonal antibodies,” which helped in the recovery of President Trump. The 501Y.V2 lineage is largely resistant to neutralizing antibodies elicited by infection with previously circulating lineages. In other words, the immune response is not working against this variant. Experts said, “This suggests that, despite the many people who have already been infected with SARS-CoV-2 globally and are presumed to have accumulated some level of immunity, new variants such as 501Y.V2 pose a significant re-infection risk.” Also, this might additionally affect the use of convalescent plasma as a treatment for COVID-19.