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Question about COVID variants
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: January 28, 2021 12:48PM
[apnews.com]

Reading about the so-called South African strain, recently discovered in 2 unrelated people in South Carolina, neither of whom have traveled recently. Can a virus mutate in different regions of the world and develop an identical variant? Meaning the variant spreads geographically without being spread by people. If that makes sense.

Or does discovery mean it was spread via human travel? And that there is now community transmission of this much worse variant. ( oh great)
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Re: Question about COVID variants
Posted by: sekker
Date: January 28, 2021 12:55PM
Most likely is human travel, but it's technically possible for the same variant to evolve more than once.
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Re: Question about COVID variants
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: January 28, 2021 01:12PM
Viruses can mutate in different places in similar ways, but there are generally ways to determine the particular history of a given variant by studying its genetic sequences. As I understand it, any given variant won't be 100% homogeneous in composition, and the variability present in a sample of a virus variant can tell you a lot about its particular history.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Question about COVID variants
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: January 28, 2021 01:51PM
It would be remarkably rare for a new variant to spontaneously appear with the same exact mutations in the same places as one of the previously identified variants, but it's within the realm of possibility. (On the order of falling out of an airplane and surviving twice I'd imagine.)

Least untenable hypothesis would be that any matching strain that appeared first in South Africa and then a month later in Maryland was carried to Maryland rather than spontaneously arising in Maryland.



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Re: Question about COVID variants
Posted by: sekker
Date: January 28, 2021 02:20PM
Quote
Sarcany
It would be remarkably rare for a new variant to spontaneously appear with the same exact mutations in the same places as one of the previously identified variants, but it's within the realm of possibility. (On the order of falling out of an airplane and surviving twice I'd imagine.)

For a single nucleotide change that results in hyperactivity, it's possible that there could be separate selection for a specific mutation.

But these more recent variants have over 10 changes; no way those are separate events.
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Re: Question about COVID variants
Posted by: Speedy
Date: January 28, 2021 03:10PM
Not so fun reads:

[www.washingtonpost.com]

[www.washingtonpost.com]



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Question about COVID variants
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 28, 2021 09:15PM
sekker has it right. The most likely explanation is -- unfortunately -- previously-undetected community spread.

That being said, it definitely IS possible for the same mutation to occur simultaneously and independently.

And... and this is a BIG "and"... there has been very little discussion so far of the possibility of viral swapping of mutations by way of simultaneous co-infection with different strains either of SARS-CoV-2 or of other coronaviruses which are quite common in the environment (typically giving more typical common cold/flu symptoms).

There HAS been some discussion of the fact that we may be inadvertently selecting for mutations with people who are infected for an extended period and then undergo various treatments which, for various reasons, may not be fully effective ... so then you are effectively selecting for mutations in the virus which help it evade the treatments. Somewhat akin to what happens when you don't use the full dose of an antibiotic on a bacterial infection and you end up selecting for some mutant form of the bacterium that has partial or full resistance to the antibiotic.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Question about COVID variants
Posted by: Ted King
Date: January 28, 2021 09:37PM
Quote
PeterB
sekker has it right. The most likely explanation is -- unfortunately -- previously-undetected community spread.

That being said, it definitely IS possible for the same mutation to occur simultaneously and independently.

And... and this is a BIG "and"... there has been very little discussion so far of the possibility of viral swapping of mutations by way of simultaneous co-infection with different strains either of SARS-CoV-2 or of other coronaviruses which are quite common in the environment (typically giving more typical common cold/flu symptoms).

There HAS been some discussion of the fact that we may be inadvertently selecting for mutations with people who are infected for an extended period and then undergo various treatments which, for various reasons, may not be fully effective ... so then you are effectively selecting for mutations in the virus which help it evade the treatments. Somewhat akin to what happens when you don't use the full dose of an antibiotic on a bacterial infection and you end up selecting for some mutant form of the bacterium that has partial or full resistance to the antibiotic.

It seems like the volume (figuratively) of infected individuals would be big factor in the likelihood of a nastier strain entering into our communities. Hopefully, the vaccines will deflate the volume of infections quickly enough to prevent some really nasty strain from evolving.



e pluribus unum
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Re: Question about COVID variants
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 28, 2021 10:08PM
Quote
Ted King
Quote
PeterB
sekker has it right. The most likely explanation is -- unfortunately -- previously-undetected community spread.

That being said, it definitely IS possible for the same mutation to occur simultaneously and independently.

And... and this is a BIG "and"... there has been very little discussion so far of the possibility of viral swapping of mutations by way of simultaneous co-infection with different strains either of SARS-CoV-2 or of other coronaviruses which are quite common in the environment (typically giving more typical common cold/flu symptoms).

There HAS been some discussion of the fact that we may be inadvertently selecting for mutations with people who are infected for an extended period and then undergo various treatments which, for various reasons, may not be fully effective ... so then you are effectively selecting for mutations in the virus which help it evade the treatments. Somewhat akin to what happens when you don't use the full dose of an antibiotic on a bacterial infection and you end up selecting for some mutant form of the bacterium that has partial or full resistance to the antibiotic.

It seems like the volume (figuratively) of infected individuals would be big factor in the likelihood of a nastier strain entering into our communities. Hopefully, the vaccines will deflate the volume of infections quickly enough to prevent some really nasty strain from evolving.

The problem is, the strains we've recently identified mostly seem to increase infectivity, which means we'll be seeing a LOT more people infected, even if those people survive. While they're infected, their bodies serve as a potential "melting pot" for viral evolution. The longer they're infected, the more likely their body will allow some mutation. Some of those folks I mentioned for whom various treatments have been attempted and for whom they have had extended infection, it's been on the order of being infected for 1-2 months ... plenty of time for the virus to "cook".

The vaccines will help, if they prevent transmission as well as actually preventing the person from getting sick. The problem there is that it's entirely possible that a vaccinated person can still transmit the virus to someone else.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Question about COVID variants
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: January 29, 2021 02:01PM
Interesting. Thanks to all for your responses. So much yet to discover.
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Re: Question about COVID variants
Posted by: Janit
Date: January 29, 2021 07:09PM
Quote
PeterB
Quote
Ted King
Quote
PeterB
sekker has it right. The most likely explanation is -- unfortunately -- previously-undetected community spread.

That being said, it definitely IS possible for the same mutation to occur simultaneously and independently.

And... and this is a BIG "and"... there has been very little discussion so far of the possibility of viral swapping of mutations by way of simultaneous co-infection with different strains either of SARS-CoV-2 or of other coronaviruses which are quite common in the environment (typically giving more typical common cold/flu symptoms).

There HAS been some discussion of the fact that we may be inadvertently selecting for mutations with people who are infected for an extended period and then undergo various treatments which, for various reasons, may not be fully effective ... so then you are effectively selecting for mutations in the virus which help it evade the treatments. Somewhat akin to what happens when you don't use the full dose of an antibiotic on a bacterial infection and you end up selecting for some mutant form of the bacterium that has partial or full resistance to the antibiotic.

It seems like the volume (figuratively) of infected individuals would be big factor in the likelihood of a nastier strain entering into our communities. Hopefully, the vaccines will deflate the volume of infections quickly enough to prevent some really nasty strain from evolving.

The problem is, the strains we've recently identified mostly seem to increase infectivity, which means we'll be seeing a LOT more people infected, even if those people survive. While they're infected, their bodies serve as a potential "melting pot" for viral evolution. The longer they're infected, the more likely their body will allow some mutation. Some of those folks I mentioned for whom various treatments have been attempted and for whom they have had extended infection, it's been on the order of being infected for 1-2 months ... plenty of time for the virus to "cook".

The vaccines will help, if they prevent transmission as well as actually preventing the person from getting sick. The problem there is that it's entirely possible that a vaccinated person can still transmit the virus to someone else.

All the more reason to continue masking and distancing for the foreseeable future, until we know the pandemic is really under control, and probably even longer.
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Re: Question about COVID variants
Posted by: PeterB
Date: January 29, 2021 07:59PM
Quote
Janit
Quote
PeterB
Quote
Ted King
Quote
PeterB
sekker has it right. The most likely explanation is -- unfortunately -- previously-undetected community spread.

That being said, it definitely IS possible for the same mutation to occur simultaneously and independently.

And... and this is a BIG "and"... there has been very little discussion so far of the possibility of viral swapping of mutations by way of simultaneous co-infection with different strains either of SARS-CoV-2 or of other coronaviruses which are quite common in the environment (typically giving more typical common cold/flu symptoms).

There HAS been some discussion of the fact that we may be inadvertently selecting for mutations with people who are infected for an extended period and then undergo various treatments which, for various reasons, may not be fully effective ... so then you are effectively selecting for mutations in the virus which help it evade the treatments. Somewhat akin to what happens when you don't use the full dose of an antibiotic on a bacterial infection and you end up selecting for some mutant form of the bacterium that has partial or full resistance to the antibiotic.

It seems like the volume (figuratively) of infected individuals would be big factor in the likelihood of a nastier strain entering into our communities. Hopefully, the vaccines will deflate the volume of infections quickly enough to prevent some really nasty strain from evolving.

The problem is, the strains we've recently identified mostly seem to increase infectivity, which means we'll be seeing a LOT more people infected, even if those people survive. While they're infected, their bodies serve as a potential "melting pot" for viral evolution. The longer they're infected, the more likely their body will allow some mutation. Some of those folks I mentioned for whom various treatments have been attempted and for whom they have had extended infection, it's been on the order of being infected for 1-2 months ... plenty of time for the virus to "cook".

The vaccines will help, if they prevent transmission as well as actually preventing the person from getting sick. The problem there is that it's entirely possible that a vaccinated person can still transmit the virus to someone else.

All the more reason to continue masking and distancing for the foreseeable future, until we know the pandemic is really under control, and probably even longer.

Yes, and to make sure that the vaccines being produced are adjusted for the mutations and/or designed to hit multiple targets and/or epitopes.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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