How Worried Should We Be About the New Variants?

Dr Mike Yeadon is back! Today we’re publishing an original piece he has co-authored with a colleague from PANDA (Pandemics – Data and Analytics), a multidisciplinary group seeking to inform policy responses to the pandemic. Its scientific advisory board includes the three signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration. Dr Yeadon, along with Marc Girardot, looks at the new variants and asks: Are they likely to evade our existing immune responses, whether that immunity was acquired via infection or vaccination? Their conclusion is that the recent downward trends in cases and hospitalisations across the globe indicate that the virus has probably not mutated in a way that makes it much more dangerous and that a healthy immune system is very capable of dealing with these new forms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Here’s an extract:

SARS-CoV-2 is a large virus with approximately 30,000 RNA bases (10,000 amino acids). Currently, the greatest difference between any ‘mutant variant’ and the original Wuhan sequence is limited to 26 nucleotide mutations. The genomic diversity of SARS-CoV-2 in circulation on different continents is fairly uniform. We know that the mutation rate in SARS-CoV-2 is slower than other RNA viruses because it benefits from a proofreading enzyme which limits potentially lethal copying errors. To date, these mutations have caused changes in less than 0.3% of the entire virus sequence. All variants are therefore currently 99.7% similar to the original Wuhan viral sequence.

To date, no robust scientific evidence proves that any of the variants identified are more transmissible or deadly than the original. By definition, variants are clinically identical. Once there is a clinical difference then a new ‘strain’ of virus has emerged. Prior knowledge of viral mutation shows they usually evolve to become less deadly and more transmissible. This optimises their chance of spreading, as dead hosts tend not to spread viruses, and very ill hosts have reduced mobility and thus limit contact with others.

This is very well-researched piece that deals with one of the main arguments for perpetuating the lockdown. Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Cases and hospitalisations continue to plunge in Florida, in spite of the state having the largest number of confirmed cases of the B117 variant of any US state. The Daily Mail has more.

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