Scientists were worried about a particular variant this…


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Scientists were worried about a particular variant this fall. They didn’t expect its offspring.


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powabiatch

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  1. Omicron spawn BA.2.75, dubbed “Centaurus,” seemed like the COVID variant to watch this summer—one with the potential to wreak unprecedented havoc later in the year.

    The World Health Organization announced in July it was tracking the concerning new variant, which had been identified in 10 countries, including the U.S., and was gaining ground against other transmissible strains of the virus like BA.5 in India.

    But Centaurus is no longer a worry, Dr. Raj Rajnarayanan, assistant dean of research and associate professor at the New York Institute of Technology campus in Jonesboro, Ark., told Fortune.

    Instead, one of its children, BA.2.75.2, has outcompeted it, eliminating it as a threat—but replacing it with a more formidable one.

    It’s one to watch this fall, he says—for more reasons than one.

    ‘Extensive escape’

    Among BA.2.75.2’s concerning traits: Its spike protein binds to human cells tightly—better than any other variant so far, Rajnarayanan says. By doing so, it makes it more difficult for antibodies to successfully attack.

    It’s picking up mutations that make it more similar to BA.5 and the deadly Delta variant of late 2021. And it’s just “a couple of mutations away from picking up increased transmission speed,” Rajnarayanan said.

    To make matters worse, the new variant shows “extensive escape” ability, according to a new preprint paper released this week by researchers at the Imperial College in London and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. The paper has not yet been peer reviewed but has been widely cited by experts.

    The authors called the Centaurus spawn “the most neutralization-resistant variant evaluated to date,” and said it may effectively evade antibody immunity, built by vaccination and prior infection.

    The variant could even escape immunity provided by the last monoclonal antibody treatment effective in currently circulating variants: Bebtelovimab.

    “These are our last monoclonal antibodies,” Rajnarayanan said. “For the immunocompromised right now, having monoclonal antibodies is one of the best ways to mitigate infections.”

    “If you take the tool away, it’s going to be a problem.”

    A coming wave of multiple variants

    Rajnarayanan and others, like the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, foresee a fall COVID wave in the U.S. that begins to rise in late October, and peaks in late December or January.

    Rajnarayanan thinks it could be fueled by multiple variants, with BA.2.75.2 likely included.

    He encourages all Americans to get boosted, saying the new Omicron bivalent booster is the best tool society has against the virus.

    And he shared a bit of good news: While new variants may be “immune evasive,” they won’t evade all of the body’s immune system.

    Such variants dodge antibody immunity, produced by B cells. But those cells only comprise half of the immune system. T cells, which comprise the other half, can’t stop infection but can dramatically reduce the severity of it.

    Immune-evading variants currently don’t touch those.

    “When someone says ‘immune escape,’ it doesn’t mean it’s going to escape everything,” he said.

  2. Soooooo we’re just OK with rampant mutation? We are a cespool of careless fucks….

    Can we just skip over this humanity fighting for minimizing a communicable disease and jump straight to 12 monkeys? I’ll go back in time to stop the “pandemic”

  3. Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

    And Biden chose the wrong week to declare “the pandemic is over.”

  4. “OH, so sorry you didn’t win the prize in the first three rounds, but you’re in luck. We’re starting a new rounds so you still can win your very own Herman Cain Award.”

  5. Damn, incredible how aggressive and resilient this virus has become. I think it’s safe to say that this might be the new norm moving forward.

    I really hope there’s enough funding being allocated to try to curb this and future viruses.

  6. That title is bullshit, any of the virologists I’ve been following have been shouting from the rooftops that mutations are going to occur for some time. Omicron was a really intense turn for covid and has been the most deadly version so far. The Omicron Offspring like BA 2.75.2 is completely ignoring vaccines.

    BA.2.75.2, popular nickname “Alcyoneus”, is one of the lineages to closely watch

    It binds to ACE2 receptor with high affinity
    Immune Escape
    High Transmission Potential

    No data on disease severity yet (Expect Regional differences).

  7. Cool. Can they please approve the bivalent for kids? My kids are the ONLY ones masking at school (teachers and admin included). One way masking only goes so far and with zero mitigation they are sitting ducks.

  8. I need the new booster but just got over covid a few weeks ago (3 shots in and it was a doozy). When is the right time to get the booster? Now? A month? My doctor says wait but I’m not sure. Please send any research or articles because everything I read is contradictory or vague.

  9. Like, i’m not a tin foil hat guy by any stretch of the imagination, but reading shit like this and then seeing China’s 0 covid policy and the extreme measures they go through to stop covid in it’s tracks, it sort of makes me believe the lab leak theory.