What is B.1.621?
Post Delta Endemic Coronavirus
With the onset of Covid-19, evolving into a dominant Alpha and now Delta wave, it seems clear a more deadly mutation could occur. However it would have to be somewhat contagious to compete with the Delta variant, something Lambda was unable to do.
So could B.1.621 be it?
B1612 is not a VOC yet however it originated in Columbia in January, 2021 and has yet to have a Greek letter name.
It includes key mutations including:
These have been linked to both increased transmissibility and reduced immune protection. Variant B.1.621 now accounts for about 10 per cent of coronavirus patients currently in Florida. That’s a clear contender to Delta it appears.
It only appears to be a matter of time before Delta gets more deadly or another variant takes it place or at least competes with it for global dominance. The transition from Alpha to Delta as globally dominant was very fast and the VOC we already know might be one of them to be the next endemic one.
This delta virus is multiplying at much higher levels, according to some studies out of southern China — thousand times the amount that we previously saw. So the viral load means double vaccinated people can transmit it to less protected individuals. This poses a problem to our health care systems and ICUs that are already seeing staff churn that cannot easily be replaced.
Dr. Fauci said the world could be in trouble if a more transmissible variant emerges — one that evades the vaccines, per The Sacramento Bee. What does Dr. Fauci know about the gain of function research that was being done at the Wuhan Lab that we don’t know? That is less clear.
B.1.612 encapsulates the S protein amino-acid substitutions N501Y and E484K, which have been associated with enhanced transmissibility and immune escape. If Delta and B.1.612 were to combine it’s not clear if that would form a more dominant mutation.
Vaccinations have not been found to prevent infection and transmission to others so in a Delta endemic world, nearly everyone eventually gets exposed. Exposure to populations that aren’t vaccinated increases the chances of a further mutation in the Covid-19 evolution. Each globally dominant mutation lengthens the time duration of the pandemic and complicates the economic recovery.
This variant seems to have emerged in early 2021 in Colombia and has also been detected in North America and Europe. Its rapid frequency increase and fixation within a relatively short time in areas near the theoretical herd immunity highlight its possible importance as a possible successor to the Delta variant.
In the natural selection of coronaviruses, herd immunity is no longer seen as the solution as vaccinated populations have too high a viral load. Having the entire world vaccinated at 90% seems like a distant dream for global herd immunity to be achieved.
How the delta variant mutates into the next global variant of concern is likely not only more important but more imminent. There is a 20% chance that B.1.612 is that virus strain.