CMAAO Coronavirus Facts And Myth Buster – Virus variants in India

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With input from Dr Monica Vasudev

  1. The second surge of COVID-19 cases in India has flooded the hospitals faster than the first surge; virus mutations mean that every patient is now infecting several more people than before.
  2. The country’s daily infections surged over 20-times to more than 200,000 on Thursday since a several-month-low in early February.
  3. India has reported nearly 950 cases of the variants first detected in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.
  4. Even if it is a new variant, people must do the same things to control it; however, a different urgency is required to recognise that.
  5. One patient is now infecting up to 9 in 10 contacts, compared to up to four in 2020.
  6. Scientists in Britain have stated that the B.1.1.7 version of the virus, or the UK variant, is 70% more contagious than previous versions, and potentially more lethal.
  7. Punjab has reported one of the highest recent fatality rates in the country. The state reported that late last month, 81% of the 401 COVID-19 samples sent for genome sequencing were detected as the UK variant.
  8. This virus is more infectious and virulent.
  9. Comparatively more children are reporting high-grade fever compared to last year.(Reuters)

Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA

CMAAO Coronavirus Facts and Myth Buster – Brazil strain resistant to three of four antibody treatments in U.S.

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With input from Dr Monica Vasudev

  1. Coronavirus variant first detected in Brazil, termed P.1, is resistant to three of the four antibody treatments that have emergency use authorization in the United States.
  2. In experiments, the P.1 variant was exposed to various monoclonal antibodies, including the four that are under use to treat COVID-19 patients in the U.S., including imdevimab and casirivimab from Regneron Pharmaceuticals, and bamlanivimab and etesevimab from Eli Lilly and Co.
  3. Only imdevimab was found to retain any potency.
  4. The neutralizing ability of the other three were shown to be considerably or completely abolished in a peer reviewed report available on bioRxiv and provisionally accepted by the journal Cell Host & Microbe.
  5. P.1 variant was also exposed to plasma from COVID-19 survivors and blood from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine recipients. When compared with their effects against the original version of the virus, the plasma and vaccine-induced antibodies appeared to be less effective at neutralizing the variant. In previous studies, they were found to be even less effective against the South Africa variant – B.1.351.
  6. TheBrazil variant may not pose as big a threat of reinfection or diminished vaccine protection as the South Africa variant. (Reuters)

Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA

CMAAO Coronavirus Facts and Myth Buster – Whole virus is more thrombogenic than the spike part

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With input from Dr Monica Vasudev

The risk of developing cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) from COVID-19 appears to be several times higher than that from administration of the AstraZeneca/Oxford or the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines.
A University of Oxford study has noted that from a dataset of more than 500,000 COVID-19 patients, CVT would have developed in 39 per million individuals.
CVT has been reported in about 5 per million people after a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Among more than 480,000 people administered either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccines, CVT was noted in 4 per million.
Compared to the mRNA vaccines, the risk of CVT from COVID-19 was nearly 10 times higher.
In comparison with the Oxford vaccine, the risk of CVT from COVID-19 was around 8-fold higher.
A similar pattern has been observed for portal vein thrombosis (PVT), which was observed in 436.4 per million individuals who had contracted COVID-19. In comparison, the figure was 44.9 per million for the mRNA vaccine, and 1.6 per million for those administered the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Major issue – the comparison showing the higher risk after COVID-19 does not exclude the possibility that the pathogenesis is the same and some common denominator should therefore be explored.
If the mechanism is same, it can be speculated that the high occurrence in COVID-19 compared to vaccination is because the whole virus is more thrombogenic than the spike protein alone.
These studies are important but they focus on showing the minor risk of vaccination instead of trying to explain the cause of complications, making use of the similarities of the events in the two populations. [Medscape]

Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA

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