Today is black friday. Not because of the post thanksgiving sales but because with London Tube strikes is is going to be a bleak friday travelling to work. So work from home, do abit of retail therapy and dont rush out. Sit back and have some brekkie. I havent done one of these for a long time but maybe mice are going to get it (COVID-19)

So as you choke on your rice crispies at the thought of coughing meeces, we can talk about COVID variants.

When SARS-COV-2 arrived it was tested in all sorts of animals by sticking the virus down the throat and in the eyes of loads of species. I can guess you can guess where this type of research originated,

P.S. It wasn’t in the UK.

What goes below is unreferenced as I dont have time to give links but if you can’t confirm from media reports or papers let me know

The Wuhan virus could infect the occasional lion, tiger or felix the cat, fido the dog and even infected ferrets. (papers or news reports can be found) This resulted in the fur coat trade in a certain Scandernavian country being curtailed as millions of minks were culled after they had the cheek to infect humans after some human infected the mink.

The virus infects by the ACE2 protein. Variants of the human version in animals have different binding strength to animal ACE” some low like ferret and some high like deer, but we havent had an outbred in food livestock.

The mouse and rat are relatively resistant to Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 but apparently not so to some of the variants, so anyone caught snogging a mouse or rat may apparently infect our furry friends. If it happens, is it the end of the lab mice?

SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta have extended ACE2 receptor host-rangesThakur, N., Gallo, G., Newman, J., Peacock, T. P., Biasetti, L., Hall, C. N., Wright, E., Barclay, W., Bailey, D.10.1101/2021.11.23.469663 

To be honest… unlikely because of the way lab rats are housed and handled. But they looked at alpha and delta variants and they were more infective to rodents.

What are the variants and why are they important?

Alpha i.e. the Kent or United Kingdom variant has been de-escalated because it has had its day. In March most of the infections in UK were alpha by July delta was the dominant variant around. As you can see AY4.2 is a new delta related variant in UK whether it will take of or disappear we will have to wait and see, However the AY4,2 extra mutations A222V and Y145H have been seen before and have apparently not been associated with increased transsmissability. The AY4.2 has been seen in Denmark and has since had its day. However, above you can see a problem and that shows the extra amount of antibody needed to stop the virus infecting human cells. For alpha you needed twice the amount of Wuhan (parental) to get stock the virus infecting. With the delta you need three times more. In my opinion this may be why double vaxers are getting infected now, as their antibodies levels drop over time after vacination. However, you can also see why beta was a concern and why the Astrazeneca vaccine was not that great in South Africa. The beta (South African ] variant has viral vaccination escape mutations and so you need 6-7 times more antibody to stop infection. Astrazeneca induces lower levels of antibody and so had problems with the beta and this is perhaps why a beta vaccine is being made and tested. People were concerned about Mu which also required lots of antibody to neutralise it. But again it was all escape and did not have transmissability enhancements.

However, B.1.1.529 (Botwana) has just been reported and is called omnicrom others are calling it “holy SH1” as it has loads of muations some of which may be associated with viral escape and others with increase infectivitivity, so it looks like Holidays to the South of Africa have beeen put on hold:-(.

Want to know more

This is not good news if you fancied a trip to South Africa…but fear not I am sure the virus is well on its way here if it is not already here. But to cheer you up for the feastive season there is a report that drinking may reduce your MS risk…if you have genetic risk and you like to smoke

Hedström AK, Olsson T, Alfredsson L. The increased risk of multiple sclerosis associated with HLA-DRB1*15:01 and smoking is modified by alcohol consumption. Sci Rep. 2021 Oct 27;11(1):21237.

Previous studies have observed an inverse association between alcohol consumption and multiple sclerosis (MS) risk. We aimed to investigate possible interactions between alcohol consumption, MS-associated human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes and smoking regarding MS risk. We used a Swedish population-based case-control study (2059 incident cases, 2887 controls) matched by age, sex, and residential area. Subjects with different genotypes and alcohol consumption habits were compared regarding MS risk, by calculating odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals using logistic regression models. Interaction on the additive scale between non-drinking and both genotype and smoking were assessed by calculating the attributable proportion due to interaction (AP). There was a dose-dependent inverse association between alcohol consumption and MS risk (p for trend < 0.0001). A potentiating effect was observed between non-drinking and presence of DRB1*15:01 (AP 0.3, 95% CI 0.2-0.5) which was of similar magnitude irrespective of smoking habits. Non-drinking also interacted with smoking to increase MS risk (AP 0.2, 95% CI 0.06-0.4). Non-drinking interacts with DRB1*15:01 and smoking to increase the risk of MS. Better understanding of the mechanisms behind our findings may help to define ways to achieve protection against MS by other means than alcohol consumption.

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  • I am almost always amazed and impressed with the penetrating, serious , “no holes barred” approach that all you guys and gals seem to take: “Here’s the truth on this one,…take it or leave it”, seems to be the mantra. I especially like on this one, the humorous but real twist at the end of a very serious subject (if I’m not mistaken). So should some of us “lighten up”? Granted in some situations, that’s very hard.

  • Mousedoctor Thank you for your run down on the variants. It’s a bit head spinning to keep track of each. But Belief Covid maybe endemic in deer and a potential “game changer” if they are a limitless reservoir of Covid did catch my attention in the news ……

    For those of you like me that have a a monoclonal antibody cocktail as plan z, as of yesterday’s news, Roche isn’t sure if omicron will bypass its current cocktail Casirivimab and imdevimab also known as REGN10933 and REGN10987 and the makers of sotrovimab express hope that the part of spike protein used in its cocktail will be effective against omicron and they working on proving it. Such uncertainty. Please stay safe my friends.

    • Thanks for the info I had missed it COVID in Bambi is not one of my search criteria, but not surprised it can happen. It could be relevant to omncron…did it jump from humans to animals and then back to humans and explain the 50 mutations.

      As for plan B we have to wait for the scientists to show if there is viral escape and the effect on the monoclonals and drugs. I think within about two weeks of hearing about mu…papers were on MedRXiv

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