If you don’t live in the UK. You say what? Christmas Cancelled. Butif you live in the South East of England it has. ProfG was not going anywhere fast, but some of us had plans and that was not to stay at home on our lonesome. But after BoJo and Co had said go-on…make plan for crimbo..but these plans have all turned to SH1.
Why? It was always on the cards that a relaxation of Christmas rules was going to result in a COVID-19 surge, but events have resulted in a turn for the worse and the UK has been isolated from Europe…..Brexit was not supposed to happen until the end of the year:-(.
However, a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus called (B.1.1.7) has emerged in the UK and the Continental Europeans don’t want it. So they have closed incoming routes.
Sadly I think most people going home for Christmas have already gone. UK labs have a lot of people from the EU and they have probably taken the new variant with them, as they left this weekend,
When you get a virus infection, it divides and then eventually it gets destroyed. However the virus mutates and some of these variants may infect others before you get rid of it. It then may mutate in the next person infected and so on. The mutations may mean nothing or that the virus becomes more…or less infective.
Now if you are immunosuppressed, you may not get rid of the virus as quickly and therefore there is a greater chance that mutations occur and these may accumulate with time. It appears the new UK variant has mutated a few times from the Wuhan, Chinese variant. Some of the mutations accumulated in the UK variant, appear to increase the risk of infection and it seems that the UK-variant that was first detected in Kent in the South East of England in September. It is now the dominant UK variant and is spreading rapidly in the South East of England…causing concern for other countries and the cancelation of Christmas for Yours truly.
The virus infects cells because it contains a Spike protein that binds to human angiotensin converting enzyme two (ACE-2) in the lungs and other tissues.
There are variants in the SARS-CoV-2 virus that have appeared in the UK
D614G At position 614 the amino acid D (aspartic acid) has been changed to G (glycine). This was not present when the virus first emerged but is now ubiquitous (common)and appears to be associated a moderated effect on SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility (increases infectivity).
A222V (analine to valine at position 222) is present in the 20A.EU1 SARS-CoV-2 ‘cluster’ (also designated as lineage B.1.177), which has been spreading in Europe and seems to have originated in Spain. Multiple introductions have occurred into the UK followed by transmission across the country, suggesting that this spread was likely associated with travel to/from Spain over the summer when BoJo had one of his last “Bright-Ideas”.
N439K first emerged in Scotland in March 2020 in a lineage that is no longer circulating (B.1.141), but has since been introduced into the UK on multiple occasions (in lineage B.1.258). This is now circulating in many European countries and internationally.
Y453F (tyrosine to phenyl analaine) has received widespread attention because it has been observed in the context of mink-human
infections and it appeared in the widely reported Danish Mink cluster but has not been observed in the UK. This signalled the death warrant for 17 million mink and killed off the Fur trade in Denmark and the Netherlands. This is of concern as this may be less suseptible for the vaccine generated antibodies.
The N501Y (Asparagine to tyrosine at position 501) and 69-70 deletion are present in B.1.1.7. N501Y is also present in a lineage of independent origins circulating in Wales (this lineage does not have the other mutation seen in B.1.1.7).
The B.1.1.7 variant has 23 mutations with 14 amino acid replacements and 3 in-frame deletions. Two of these mutations have already been described to alter SARS-CoV-2 biology: N501Y sits in the receptor binding motif (RBM) of the Spike protein, and has been described to increase binding to the human ACE-2 receptor; 69-70del has been identified in variants associated with immune escape (avoidance of viral destruction) in immunocompromised patients
There are alternative explanations about the spread, so London does not only give the Shires that invisible income, it may also have given them an invisible infection and it has reeached Scotlan and Continental Europe alreay:-(
The new variant has mutations to the spike protein that the three leading vaccines are targeting. However vaccines produce antibodies against many regions in the spike protein, so it’s unlikely that a single change would make the vaccine less effective.
Over time, as more mutations occur, the vaccine may need to be altered. This happens with seasonal flu, which mutates every year, and the vaccine is adjusted accordingly. The SARS-CoV-2 virus doesn’t mutate as quickly as the flu virus, and the vaccines that have so far proved effective in trials are types that can easily be tweaked if necessary.
So another good reason for everyone to get vaccinated as quickly. It is important that people who are immunosupressed get rid of the virus as soon as possible because you dont want help the Prime minister Grinch to steal next Christmas too.