The highly infectious variant B.1.1.7 of coronavirus, which was first observed in Kent, had spread to the United States by November 6, according to a new study.
The strain is up to 70 percent more contagious and appeared in a chronically ill patient on September 20.
It was announced to the British public only in mid-December, when it was identified as a source of jump in cases and called a “variant of concern”.
Researchers at the University of Arizona are studying the genomes of 50 B.1.1.7 infections in the United States and tracking their genus to determine when the mutated variant first appeared in the United States.
They found two clusters of infections, one in California and one in Florida, that occurred on November 6 and November 23, respectively ̵
This retrospective study has the advantage of genomic analysis and retrospective, and the first actual case of the Kent strain was not diagnosed in an American until December 29.
“Surprisingly, this genus may have already been established in the United States in about 5-6 weeks before B.1.1.7 was first identified as a variant of concern in the United Kingdom in mid-December,” the researchers wrote.
“And it may have circulated in the United States nearly two months before it was first opened on December 29, 2020.”
Scroll down for a video
Newer variants of the coronavirus have mutations in the thorn protein that are key to the antibodies of the immune system to attach and destroy it. Changing their shape makes it difficult for the body to catch the virus
Chronology of a variant of Kent
September 20 – A variant occurs in a chronically ill patient of Covid-19 in Kent
November 6 – The infected person takes the new strain to California
November 2020 – Spike in the cases occurs in Kent and Medway, despite the national numbers of crushing cases in the rest of the country
November 23 – An air passenger brings a new version to Florida
December 11 – SAGE tells the government about the new option
December 14 – The authorities of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland report to the WHO that the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 has been identified by viral genomic sequencing
Matt Hancock tells MPs about the new version
December 18 – SAGE tells the government that they are concerned about the new option and its portability
December 20 – London, South East and East of England enter new Level 4 restrictions due to jump in cases due to new option
December 21 – More than 40 countries suspend flights from the UK due to a new option
December 29 – The first case was observed in the United States
All dates are for 2020
The study has not yet been reviewed, but is available online as a prepress.
The exact origin of the Kent variant is unknown, but it is thought to have originated in mid-September.
Dr Susan Hopkins, a senior public health official in England (PHE), said in December that at first “there was nothing to emphasize that this was a matter of serious concern as options came and went”.
Mutations in viruses occur all the time, and most of them are harmless or harmful to the pathogen.
Coincidentally, however, tweaks to the virus code sometimes give it a survival advantage and increase its success, often becoming more contagious and easier to spread.
This is thought to have occurred in variant B.1.1.7, which previous studies found to be richer in the upper respiratory tract.
The mutation in the thorn protein – which emerges from the coronavirus and hijacks human cells – has made it better for infecting humans.
This so-called N501Y mutation is also found in the South African and Brazilian variants, which have since been identified.
Arizona-based researchers found that all cases in California share another small mutation, which occurs in only 1.2% of European cases B.1.1.7.
This, they say, shows an introductory event, probably from an international trip that sowed the variant in California, where it then spread from person to person.
A similar trend is observed in Florida batches of cases that are very similar to the most common type B.1.1.7 observed in the United Kingdom.
This is a “strong indication that they also come from an introduction,” scientists say.
At least three major variants of the coronavirus have been spotted in the UK in recent months – from Kent, South Africa and Brazil – and they appear to be evolving to spread faster and avoid certain parts of the immune system, although scientists are still still don’t think it has yet gotten to the point of completely slipping past the vaccines
A new strain of coronavirus has been found in GERMANY
Another mutant strain of coronavirus – different from that originating in Britain, South Africa and Brazil – has been found in Germany.
Health officials said the variant was identified in patients at a Bavarian hospital, but it is not yet known how transmissible.
In recent weeks, there have been growing concerns about the spread of options, the UK-based version of which has forced Boris Johnson to cancel Christmas for millions and plunge the nation into a third national blockade.
The opening of the new German strain also saw Angela Merkel take action, with the chancellor announcing that restrictions, including the closure of schools and shops, would be extended until mid-February.
The level of infection in Germany has stabilized in recent days, indicating that existing restrictions may have been effective in reducing the numbers.
However, concerns are growing after it was found that out of 73 newly infected people in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the southeastern part of the country, 35 had the new variant.
Experts continue to analyze samples after Clemens Stocklausner, deputy medical director at Charité University Hospital in Berlin, admitted that it was too early to say whether the virus was more deadly than the other options.
He said: “We have now discovered a small point mutation … and it is absolutely unclear whether it will have clinical significance.
“We have to wait for the full sequence.”
On Tuesday, the country’s Centers for Disease Control reported 11,369 newly confirmed infections and 989 deaths, with a total of 47,622 deaths.
When the UK government revealed that the option was likely to cause a jump in local cases in the UK in mid-December, it plunged the South East, London and East of England into Level 3 restrictions.
UK government scientific advisers say it is up to 70 per cent more contagious than the previous dominant option and encourage people to stay home to prevent transmission.
It is now estimated to account for more than 60% of all cases in the UK, but in California, between December 27 and January 2, only 0.4% of cases were with the Kent variant. In a comparable period in the United Kingdom, this figure was 1.2%.
“This suggests that the dynamics of B.1.1.7 may be slightly more explosive in California than the original epicenter in England,” the researchers said.
“Treasure 2 in Florida (population 21 million), on the other hand, has shown a faster displacement of non-B.1.1.7.”
Here, this represents 0.7% of cases 34 days after its first appearance in the state and “compared to the outbreak of B.1.1.7 in England, B.1.1.7 represents about 0.1% of all cases”.
“Therefore, although it is clearly younger than the California genus of Firewood 1, the Florida genus of Firewood 2 already accounts for a larger share of the Florida SARS-CoV-2 epidemic than the California SARS-CoV outbreak. -2. “
At present, link B.1.1.7 represents only 0.3% of coronavirus infections in the United States, the researchers said.
The reason for the different rate at which B.1.1.7 overtakes pre-existing spots remains unknown, but researchers provide several options in their study.
“One possibility is that the transmission advantage of B.1.1.7 may vary depending on the intensity of the mitigation,” they say.
“Perhaps this line of SARS-CoV-2, with apparently higher viral loads in the upper respiratory tract than other variants, is able to generate super-scattering events with relative ease when mitigation efforts are relatively weak, but the advantage the transmission is less sharp when playing the field is leveled for example with the extensive use of masks and avoidance of the indoor crowd.
“Another possibility is that non-B.1.1.7 lines circulating in the United States, especially in California, may be more transmittable than non-B.1.1.7 lines in England, with which B.1.1.7 competes. , giving B.1.1.7 less than a transmission advantage and, therefore, a slower rate of offset of non-B.1.1.7 lines. “
Future mutant strains of coronavirus can be detected more quickly by studying SEWERAGE
Scanning wastewater for new variants of the coronavirus is a viable strategy to accelerate the detection of new strains that may be more infectious, a study found.
Wastewater analysis was previously identified as a good way to detect signs of local infection, but now Covid is widespread around the world, the focus has shifted to the use of wastewater to detect new variants.
New variants are currently being observed when coronavirus swabs are sent to a special laboratory for genomic analysis.
However, only about one in ten swabs are sent for this test in the UK and many people who have the virus are asymptomatic and do not get a test.
To get a larger sample size, the researchers turned to sewage, which catches waste from thousands of people at once.
U.S. researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have come up with a way to detect traces of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, amplify it, and then scan its genetic code to detect any mutations.
The discovery means that scientists can capture variants without having to check people individually.
“The SARS CoV-2 virus is excreted by people infected with Covid-19, and faecal waste enters wastewater systems,” said Professor Kara Nelson, who is leading the investigation.
“By sampling wastewater, we can get information about infections for the whole population.
“Some wastewater systems serve several thousand people. Some serve hundreds of thousands of people.