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Research Last Updated: Apr 14, 2021 - 10:51:44 AM


World Grapples with Regenerative Covid-19 Waves
By E. Kalair, N. Abas, N. Khan, KEN, 1/4/21
Apr 13, 2021 - 12:24:01 PM

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1st Wave in South, 2nd Wave in East, 3rd Wave in West, 4th Wave in North and 5th Wave in Hong Kong. Virologists on learning curve, no end in sight afore reaching global herd immunity. Be end of second week of April 2021 global covid-19 cases, recoveries and deaths reaching 137, 110 and 3 million.

Despite vaccine rollout worldwide, especially United States, Brazil and India, new Covid-19 cases are rising again due to virus mutating, rolling back of safety measures and recent increase in travel. Mutant strains cause reinfections due to halfhearted response in vaccinations and face masks [Adriana 2021].

First wave of Covid-19 pandemic has reached the most distant part of the world, Antarctica in South, in 2021 [Michelle 2021]. Eastern, Western and Northern (Arctic) countries are facing second, third, fourth regenerative waves of mutating coronavirus variants. The highest number of Covid-19 cases (43%) have been reported by Wordometers to be in United States (31.92 million), India (13.53 million) and Brazil (13.48 million), and the lowest in Micronesia (1).

Asians, Europeans and Americans are facing 2nd, 3rd and 4th Covid-19 waves. However, a few countries in Africa are facing 2rd wave as some in Asia are facing 3rd wave. Hong Kong facing 5th wave and Spain is heading toward fifth wave [Michael 2021]. Covid-19 history shows new variants and waves may continue until getting herd immunity by vaccinations and recoveries. We are on learning curve how the coronavirus will play out in future. Maximum recorded cases in various waves are shown here.

 

Maximum daily cases in various Covid-19 waves (12/4/2021)

Countries

1st Wave

2nd Wave

3rd Wave

4th Wave

5th Wave

Micronesia

Botswana

China

India

Russia

Australia

Brazil

Turkey

Pakistan

USA

Iran

Israel

Spain

Hong Kong

1

2,356

14,108

96,793

11,656

537

70,869

13,976

6,825

34,677

3,574

734

10,401

82

-

-

-

169,914

29,935

721

83,134

33,198

3,795

80,073

14,051

2,308

14,181

149

-

-

-

-

-

-

97,586

55,941

5,329

308,995

8,510

11,316

22,766

115

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

85,368*

22,478

10,213

34,232

107

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

8,788*

60

Global

98,390

285,378

844,619

708,875

-

*Worldometer data shows Spain heading to 5th wave same as USA to 4th wave

 

Alex Vezina said, “Given certain characteristics of COVID-19 that were previously suspected and are now being confirmed, this pandemic is likely to be indefinite… Eventually, we must be able to adapt to the virus, including treatments and, ultimately, a vaccine, faster than it mutates. If the virus mutates faster than we adapt, we are forced into a perpetual game of “whack-a-mole” with no end in sight. Antibodies to the virus need to develop for a long enough time for herd (society-wide) immunity to be practical… Unfortunately, signs suggest things at the moment are not going the right way.” [Alex 2020].

India had effectively controlled first wave but new variants, reinfections and laxity in lockdowns led her to second wave. Rampant rise in covid-19 cases in India has forced India to halt export to of vaccines. Indian scientists are unclear what is driving the increase, particularly after widespread infection last year prompted speculation about whether parts of India were enjoying a degree of herd immunity. Rising cases disapprove her claim to have achieved herd immunity [Benjamin, 2021]. It appears as if herd immunity against one variant does not protect against the new variants.

Government of Pakistan warns of seven hot spots having 10 to 40% positive covid-19 test rates. Covid-19 cases fell sharply with lockdown and started surging when relaxed. There are 134 testing laboratories with total capacity of 71,780 cases per day. Covid-19 cases doubling rate was 4 days in March 2020 which declined to 36 days by end of July 2020. Government imposed lockdown at end of March 2021, when new cases in third wave started surpassing peak of second wave in 2020.

New Covid-19 cases are sharply rising in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. New cases frequency reaching 170,000 per day in India, 7,600 in Bangladesh and 5,300 per day in Pakistan in early April 2021. It is second wave in India, third wave in Bangladesh and Pakistan. New cases surge in India and Bangladesh surpassed the earlier peaks. Daily new cases are rising steadily in Pakistan.

Either medicine companies reach the level of developing vaccines before mutation of virus into next variant or community gets herd immunity against UK variant SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.1.7), South African variant 501.V2 (B.1.351), Brazilian variant (P.1), California variants CAL.20C (B.1.427 and B.1.429) and Indian double mutants (E484Q and L452R) [Korin 2021, BBC 2021].

Health experts advise inoculated people to use masks at crowded places despite vaccinations as a few variants still can cause reinfection. Coronavirus’s spike protein, called the E484K mutation, was identified in South Africa, Brazil and New York. Antibodies from vaccinated people are less effective against B.1.351 virus. The variant that popped up in different regions of California – called B.1.427 or B.1.429 – does not contain the E484K mutation yet it poses serious risk of disease and death. California variant contains three spike protein mutations: S13l, W152C and L452R. Indian double mutant variant has two mutations.

First is E484Q mutation, similar to E484K mutation, and second is L452R mutation that caused outbreak in California. This mutation helps virus neutralize the antibodies developed by vaccination or earlier recovery from previous Covid-19 infections. Double mutant may be dominant variant in second wave. All eyes are on UKB117 variant having N501Y mutation that makes it 60% more infective. “A little bit less effective is not not-effective,” Michels said. “Once the virus changes so much that the vaccines are useless… that’s going to be the (real) problem.” [Adrianna 2021].

Genome sequencing of 401 samples, shows 81% victims in India are infected with UK B117 variant a few with double mutant that may become dominant in future. Vaccine manufacturers may tweak their vaccines to adjust for variants too in short time, some already calling is booster shots. They do it for flu vaccines already. Second dose increases specific antibodies, immunoglobulin G (IgG) in umbilical cord blood and breast milk. IgG imparts long term protection against virus and reproduce rapidly when exposed to the real virus [Amir 2021].

Dozens of epidemiologists, virologists and infectious disease specialists shows that that world has less than a year to vaccinate everybody to curb covid-19 virus else new variants will evade the vaccines. It is hard to develop new vaccines for mutated strains. It is a race against the clock as time and spreading rate allow new strains to develop [Marisa 2021]. Current Covid-19 vaccines will become ineffective against new variants by next year.

The California variant has three mutations in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, so it is more infectious than the initial, dominant novel coronavirus strain. “changes in the spike protein are likely to change the ability of the virus to bind to human cells”, increasing virus efficiency.

Variants of concern, two California variants, have evidence of an increased risk of transmission, more hospitalizations or deaths, a “significant reduction” in the ability of antibodies developed against the virus to fight the virus, and reduced effectiveness of treatments. These variants cause a “moderate reduction” in vaccine performance. However, Dr. Adalja anticipates that the California variant will not be a problem, as long as people receive both doses [Korin 2021].

California variant made up 35% of all COVID-19 cases in the state, and 44% of all coronavirus cases in Southern California. Patients infected with the California variant were nearly five times more likely to be admitted to the ICU and 11 times more likely to die compared to patients who carried other viral strains. This clade was the one that took hold in New York in early 2020, when the pandemic first started to ramp up in the United States [Meredith 2021].

Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines are mostly being distributed in the U.S, UK, or Europe. China (Sinovac, Sinopharm, Convidecia) and Russia (Sputnik V) have created their own Covid-19 vaccines which have 50% to >70% efficiacies. Vaccine developer companies say they developing booster shots for new variants. Virologists warn the sparse vaccinations will make new strains more resistant. Efficacies of various vaccines vary from 50% to 95%.

Chinese vaccine was reported to be 50.7% effective against P1 (more) and P2 (less) variants in Brazil. Efficacy rises to 62.3% if second doze relayed by more than two weeks. Rampant rise in digital technologies and fast foods have reduced human activities. The processed foods have chemical preservatives tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), which reduce immunity against viral and bacterial attacks [Naidenko, 2021].

Covid-19 cases are once again surging in USA, Brazil, India and Europe. United States is hard hit by Covid-19 Pandemic at individual level and Europe is even harder hit at collective level. Average global covid-19 death rate is 2.64% that is higher than 2.36% in America. Death rate is 1.41% in India and 2.78% in Brazil. However, death rate is 28.86% in Belgium and 3.65% in Italy. UK, Spain and several European countries hide their death rates from fear of public panic.

Biologists, virologists and pharmacists are on learning curve, nobody knows the end. Covid-19 infection and recovery rates show possibility of herd immunity with loss of 2 million lives in the best case and 4 million in the worst case [Norith 2020].

We live in an interconnected world. Nobody is safe until everybody is not safe. We must vaccinate, wear face masks and reduce travel. As long as people continue flouting safety rules during spring break in west and social events in east the regenerative waves will continue coming.

Coughing and sneezing victims fill the air with fomites bearing coronaviruses which last from minutes to hours affecting people around. When these victims go inside crowded indoors they start infecting others who further spread the viruses during their indoor outdoor activities through surfaces. Abstinence is the best practice and do not wear facemask under your nose.

Way the social, religious and political events are being held worldwide, it is very difficult to contain the spread of coronavirus. When eight to ten people sitting around a table without masks - talk, laugh, cough, sneeze, yawn and yell – there is now way to stop the spread of Covid-19.

When civil administration asks traders to shut down their shops tens of spectators stand to watch them enforcing the law. They make so dense crowds and flying dust particles in wind gust whirl their breaths among them. There is now way to prevent viral spread among such clusters.

Smart micro lockdowns are a pie in sky the incumbents should take strict measures. Covid-19 has taken life of Asif Minhas on 1st April 2021, who was sugar and heart patient. He used to take care yet way the society functions it is very hard to keep dry in raining cats and dogs.  Let us learn how to adapt to live with coronavirus virus.

Polluted airs, contaminated waters and fast food deliveries mediate covod-19 transmissions. Schools, mosques, marriage halls, churches, temples, shrines, shopping malls, gas stations, bars, gatherings, hugging, restaurants, parks, buses, trains and airlines play key role in local and global spread of Covid-19 Pandemic. Political and burial gatherings also spread coronavirus.

Bangladesh and Pakistan are said to be world’s most polluted countries and India is considered relatively cleaner as western winds sweep her stubble burning smog to Pakistan and eastern winds to Bangladesh. India and China are the biggest regional polluters. Outside air affects us inside [Alexandra 2021].

Lockdown and adherence to SOPs worked in first wave but people are seen not caring much in subsequent covid-19 waves. Air, water and surfaces play coordinated role in covid-19 transmission. Social setups, hugging, embracing and joint dinner cultures multiply infectious diseases. During pandemic do not go near your dear ones, especially babies and elders, without face mask.

Covid-19 injection prices are too high in Pakistan. A covid-19 patient has to pay Rs100,000 daily in private hospitals. Poverty, health and ignorance based business are flourishing in Pakistan. Trade, health and education business loot in name of inflation, covid-19 and foundations. Governments should set right the state institutions instead of letting private sector plunder the people.

Research on Covid-19 has also paved the way for discovery of vaccines against cancer and HIV diseases. Global shut down of industries and transport reduced GHG emissions leading to reduction in global warming by slowing down the climate change.

References

Adriana B, Coronavirus: 3 reasons why confirmed cases are on the rise again, Yahoo News, 31 March 2021. https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/coronavirus-why-cases-rising-again-193814611.html

Michael S, Hong Kong uses ambush-style lockdowns to combat fifth wave, Financial review, 18 March 2021. https://www.afr.com/world/asia/hong-kong-uses-ambush-style-lockdowns-to-combat-fifth-wave-20210318-p57bu7

Michelle P, Meagan D, COVID has reached Antarctica. Scientists are extremely concerned for its wildlife, The Conversation, 11 February 2021. https://theconversation.com/covid-has-reached-antarctica-scientists-are-extremely-concerned-for-its-wildlife-154481

Alex V, VEZINA: Brace for a third, fourth and fifth COVID-19 wave, Toronto Sun, 27 October 2020. https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/vezina-brace-for-a-third-fourth-and-fifth-covid-19-wave

Benjamin P, John BM, Donato PM, Anna G, India’s second Covid wave undermines herd immunity theory, Financial Times, 25 March 2021. https://www.ft.com/content/38f5398a-8588-48a1-86db-3e8050bace51

Korin M, What to Know About New Coronavirus Variants, According to Doctors, Prevention.Com, 20 January 2021. https://www.prevention.com/health/a35266961/what-is-covid-19-variant/

BBC, Coronavirus: 'Double mutant' Covid variant found in India, BBC, 25 March 2021. https://www.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-india-double-mutant-covid-100159024.html

Adrianna R, More COVID-19 variants emerge closer to home: What to know about the ones discovered in Brazil, New York, California, USA Today, 3 April 2021. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health /2021/03/03/covid-strain-what-know-brazil-new-york-california-variants/6884525002/

Amir K, How dangerous is India’s ‘double mutant’ COVID-19 variant? Al jazeera, 5 April 2021. https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/4/5/should-we-be-worried-about-indias-double-mutant-covid-19-strain

Marisa F, 66% of epidemiologists warn mutations could make COVID vaccines ineffective in year or less, Yahoo News, 31 March 2021. https://www.yahoo.com/news/66-epidemiologists-warn-mutations-could-090042432.html

Korin M, Everything You Need to Know About California’s ‘Homegrown’ Coronavirus Variant

Yahoo News, 19 March 2021, https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/know-california-homegrown-coronavirus-variant-232100057.html

Meredith W, California coronavirus strain may be more infectious—and lethal, Science, 23 February 2021. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/02/coronavirus-strain-first-identified-california-may-be-more-infectious-and-cause-more

Naidenko OV, Andrews DQ, Temkin AM, Stoiber T, Uche UI, Evans S, Perrone-Gray S. Investigating Molecular Mechanisms of Immunotoxicity and the Utility of ToxCast for Immunotoxicity Screening of Chemicals Added to Food. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(7):3332. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073332

Nurith A, New Global Coronavirus Death Forecast Is Chilling — And Controversial, NPR, 4 September 2020. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/09/04/909783162/new-global-coronavirus-death-forecast-is-chilling-and-controversial

Alexandra O, The countries with the highest concentrations of air pollution, Quartz, 11 April 2021. https://qz.com/1992873/the-countries-with-the-worst-air/

 


Source:Ocnus.net 2021

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