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Experts say UK virus mutation may affect vaccine efficacy

Maya Taylor

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Experts say UK virus mutation may affect vaccine efficacy | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Anadolu Agency

A new mutation of the Covid-19 virus, which has been found in a strain currently circulating in the UK, may have an impact on the efficacy of vaccines, according to Public Health England. The E484K mutation has already been detected in South Africa and Brazil and has now been found in at least 11 samples of the B.1.1.7 strain in the UK.

The UK strain has now spread to at least 70 other countries, including the US, where at least 470 cases have been reported. Medical experts say mass testing, coupled with ongoing Covid-19 safety guidelines and the rollout of vaccines is now more important than ever.

In addition, they have voiced concern that the more transmissible mutation may become resistant to vaccines and may be more likely to re-infect those who’ve already had the virus. It’s not yet known how this latest development may impact the spread of Covid-19 in the UK and beyond, but experts say the mutation could be the reason some vaccines have reported lower efficacy rates in South Africa.

While the Novavax vaccine has reported 89% efficacy in Phase 3 trials in the UK, this dropped to 60% in studies conducted in South Africa. The Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine reported an efficacy rate of 72% in the UK, but just 57% in South Africa. A CNN report says that between 90 and 95% of South African cases are linked to the variant that contains the mutation.

Renowned US immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci points to studies carried out by colleagues in South Africa that show significant re-infection rates in those who’ve already had the virus, indicating the prior infection may not always protect against the new strain. However, he says although vaccine efficacy may be decreased slightly, the jabs still offer some protection.

“We need to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can. Even though there is a diminished protection against the variants, there’s enough protection to prevent you from getting serious disease, including hospitalisation and deaths.”

SOURCE: CNN

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    John_2

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 9:40 am

    It didn’t “mutate” they are just releasing stronger versions of it as they tweek the program. No wonder Bill Gates can’t get through an interview without smirking the entire time. His father was after all the head of Planned Parenthood the US eugenics front – its in his book BTW.

    • Avatar

      Peter

      Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 3:48 pm

      You are spouting all this rubbish like it is facts. Just because you read it somewhere doesn’t mean it’s real.
      You people who spread fake conspiracies with no facts are far more dangerous than Bill Gates and the like.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 11:32 am

    No, it’s not “in his book BTW”, neither is it true.

    His father wasn’t “the head of Planned Parenthood”, although he was on the board, and PP isn’t a “US eugenics front” as has been widely and clearly debunked by anyone wasting a few seconds checking.

  3. Avatar

    dispensed

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    Once again, I say to the flu bros, grow up.

    The bigger risk to most people is your selfish hysteria. You’re welcome to stay home until the cows come home while you consume media nonsense Clockwork Orange style, just leave the rest of us out of it.

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    I have just read, viruses always mutate.
    Sometimes they become weaker. Sometimes they become more contagious.
    The doctors all over the web state it is so, and there is nothing to worry about.
    However, they wear white coats, and I don’t trust people wearing white coats.
    Since when I was a kid, and an ice cream man, wearing a white coat. sold me a 99 cornet and there was not a Cadburys flake in it.
    He said the flake was underneath the ice cream – it wasn’t.

  5. Avatar

    Ben

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    The vaccine will be less effective and will still protect you, at a lower %, from becoming ill, going to the hospital or dying. Still to be determined how long the protection lasts before you need another shot. They’ll also tweet the formula for the latest variants just like they do for the flu.

    America, the UK, Israel, etc will slowly begin to recover once a larger % of the population gets the shot. There have always been doubters of science and with social media those voices have been amplified. A challenge that’ll be overcome.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

79 new cases today-COVID-19 Update

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79 new cases today-COVID-19 Update | The Thaiger

Today, the Thai government is reporting 79 new cases of Covid-19, with 65 locally-transmitted, and 14 imported, raising the total to 26,241 since the pandemic began. 1 new death has been reported, raising the total amount of deaths to 85. The new infections, which are now in the double-digits, shows Thailand’s Covid situation as improving according to the assistant spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, Panprapa Yongtrakul.

“The two-digit level of new cases found at hospitals and communities shows that the local Covid-19 situation is under control.”

The CCSA reports that 43 of the 65 local infections were found in communities with 22 of the 65 found in hospitals across 4 provinces.

Samut Sakhon province, the source of the second wave of Covid in the Kingdom, reported 77% of the new cases. Of the 50 cases found in the province, 38 were found in communities and 12 were found at hospitals.

Pathum Thani reported 8 new cases, with 3 being found at hospitals, and 5 in the community. Bangkok reported 6 new cases at hospitals and Chon Buri reported 1 infection found at a hospital. 12 of the 14 imported infections were quarantined arrivals from Russia, The United Arab Emirates, The United States, Slovenia, South Africa, Germany, Libya and Italy.

79 new cases today-COVID-19 Update | News by The Thaiger

The other 2 imported cases were that of Thai women, who ellegedly returned from Myanmar illegally through a natural border crossing in Tak province, despite the government closing off natural border crossings after the February coup by the military in Myanmar.

Covid-19 cases rose worldwide by 446,747 over the past 24 hours to 116.21 million. The worldwide death toll rose by 9,955 to 2.58 million. The US still has the most cases at 29.53 million, rising by 68,321 over the past 24 hours, and the most deaths at 533,636, rising by 1,993 over the last 24 hours.

In light of the recent downturn in reported cases, Samut Sakhon has recently reopened 22 of its wet markets. However, the seafood market where the second wave of the Covid outbreak began, is not one of them, and it is not yet known when that might reopen.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai Health Minister to chair panel on travel bubbles, vaccine passports

Maya Taylor

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Thai Health Minister to chair panel on travel bubbles, vaccine passports | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Thailand’s Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, will chair a meeting on Monday, in which a vaccine passport scheme and potential travel bubbles will be discussed. Anutin says those who’ve been inoculated against Covid-19 will be issued with a book to confirm their vaccination. It’s hoped this will make international travel easier, as well as boosting the public’s confidence and helping life return to some kind of normality.

“The Public Health Ministry is making preparations to bring life back to normal, restore businesses and revive the Thai economy.”

A number of groups and industry representatives have added their voices to growing calls for a vaccine passport policy. The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking is urging the government to implement the scheme without further delay, while also calling for private companies in Thailand to be allowed purchase and distribute vaccines.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is also pushing for a vaccine passport policy, while the Tourism Ministry has urged the Health Ministry to approve one. Meanwhile the PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked the Foreign Ministry to carry out a study on vaccine passports, adding that the jury is still out as to their effectiveness. They also have their critics, primarily among rights’ groups and doctors, who argue that there is not yet enough evidence that vaccination prevents transmission.

At Monday’s meeting of the National Communicable Diseases Committee, the Anutin-led panel will also discuss the idea of travel bubbles. Thailand has been considering entering into reciprocal travel arrangements with countries with a high take-up of Covid-19 vaccines.

Meanwhile, Anutin says the public must continue with the practice of mask-wearing, noting that the number of Thais doing so has recently slipped. He says that recent data shows the number of people wearing masks has dropped below 80%, compared to 90% last month.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Hospital in northern Thailand closes to visitors after 2 patients test positive for Covid-19

Maya Taylor

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Hospital in northern Thailand closes to visitors after 2 patients test positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand Medical News

A hospital in the northern province of Tak has had to shut its doors to visitors after 2 patients treated at the facility subsequently tested positive for Covid-19. Nation Thailand reports that Mae Sot Hospital is now closed to visitors until Monday.

It’s understood that 19 staff members have had contact with 2 patients who tested positive for the virus. Hospital director Thawatchai Setsuppana says the closure is to facilitate a deep clean of the facility and confirmed that a number of medical workers are self-isolating.

“3 doctors, 11 nurses and 5 patient assistants have been ordered to undergo 14-day quarantine.”

Officials are now questioning both patients, in an effort to trace others who may have had contact with them. Tak province is on the border with Myanmar, which has had 142,000 cases of the virus, with 3,200 deaths.

Meanwhile, in the northern province of Sukothai, the provincial Public Health Office has confirmed that a Thai national who returned from working at a casino in Myanmar has also tested positive for Covid-19. It’s understood the woman developed symptoms prior to entering Thailand at the border town of Mae Sot on March 1, before taking a bus to her home in order to attend her grandfather’s funeral.

The provincial health office has issued a statement to confirm the timeline of the woman’s movements. It’s understood 17 people had contact with the woman, with 7 of those considered “high-risk”.

“On March 2, she took a Covid-19 test at Sukhothai Hospital and went shopping in Muang district before heading home. She was admitted to Ban Dan Lan Hoi Hospital on March 3 after her test came back positive.”

It is unclear how the woman managed to evade the mandatory 14-day quarantine. Border officials have stepped up patrols in recent weeks, amid fears that Burmese nationals fleeing the violence in Myanmar may attempt to cross illegally into Thailand, bypassing health checks and quarantine.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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