A more infectious version of the coronavirus, first found in Britain, is spreading rapidly, almost doubling every 10 days according to a new Study.
Analyzing half a million coronavirus tests and hundreds of genomes, a team of researchers predicted that this variant could become a staple in the United States in a month, possibly increasing new cases and increasing the risk of death.
The new research provides the first nationwide look at the variant’s history, Known as B.1.1.7, As it arrived in the United States in late 2020. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Warned off If it behaves like this in the UK, then B.1.1.7 may become dominant by March. The new study confirms that predicted path.
“There’s nothing surprising in this paper, but people need to see it,” said Christian Anderson, co-author of the study and a virologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. We should probably be prepared for this. Major lineages in most places in the United States by March. “
He said that Dr. Andersen’s team estimated the transmission rate of B.1.1.7 in the United States to be 30 percent to 40 percent higher than the more common variants, although those figures may increase as more data arrives, he said. The variant has already been implicated in growth in other countries including Ireland, Portugal and Jordan.
Epidemiologists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who were not involved in the study, said Nicholas Davis, “can actually be a very serious condition that develops over months or weeks. “These may be early indications for immediate investigation by public health officials.”
Dr. Davis warns that US data is worse than the UK and other countries National version monitoring system. Nevertheless, he found the results from parts of the United States particularly worrisome. In Florida, where new studies indicate that the variant is spreading particularly quickly, Drs. Davis fears that a new boom may come sooner than the rest of the country.
“If these data are representative, then there may be limited time to act,” he said.
Dr. Anderson and colleagues Posted your study online on Sunday. It has not yet been published in a scientific journal.
When the British government announced the discovery of B.1.1.7 on 20 December, in the United States, Drs. Anderson and other researchers began investigating it in American coronovirus samples. The first case occurred in Colorado on December 29, and Drs. Anderson soon found another in San Diego. In short, it was seen in many other parts of the country.
But it was difficult to determine how widespread the variant was. B.1.1.7 contains a specific group of 23 mutations. Scattered across a genome that is 30,000 genetic letters long. The best way to detect if a virus belongs to the B.1.1.7 lineage is to sequence its entire genome – a process that can only be performed with specialized machines.
The CDC contracted with Helix, a laboratory testing company, to test its Kovid-19 samples for indications of B.1.1.7. The variant may give a negative result on one of the three tests that Helix uses to find the coronovirus. For further analysis, Helix sent these suspicious samples to Illumina for sequencing of its genome. Last month Helix Drs. Anderson and his colleagues reached out to help analyze the data.
Analyzing 212 American B.1.1.7 genomes, Drs. Anderson’s team concluded that the most likely first arrived in the United States in late November, a month before it was discovered.
This version was introduced in different countries at least eight times, most likely as a result of people moving from Britain to the United States between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The researchers combined the genome sequencing data with the results of Helix’s overall test to estimate how quickly it spread. It became increasingly more common in the last two months.
In Florida, scientists estimate that more than 4 percent of cases are now caused by B.1.1.7. According to his team’s calculations the national figure could be 1 percent or 2 percent.
If this is true, then one thousand or more people can be infected with variants every day. CDC has Was recorded There are only 611 B.1.1.7 cases in which to participate Insufficiency Genomic surveillance of the country
In some parts of the country where Helix does not test much, it is less likely that it will spread, Drs. Anderson warned.
“It’s obviously not enough,” he said. “I can guarantee you that there are places where B.1.1.7 may be relatively prevalent by now that we won’t pick up.”
Nathan Grubo, a virologist at Yale University who was not involved in the new study, says the data make it clear that the occurrence of B1.1.7 is increasing, as scientists warned. But he does not think the new study shows how it is growing. “It doesn’t really reveal the cause at this point,” he said.
It is possible that the chain of B.1.1.7 transmission is spreading faster than other viruses. Or it may be that B.1.1.7 was more common among newcomers among arriving travelers.
“I still think we’re weeks away from actually knowing how it will turn out,” Dr. Grubaw said.
The infectivity of B.1.1.7 threatens to take it seriously. Public health measures that work on other types may not be sufficient to prevent B.1.1.7. More cases in the United States would mean more hospitalizations, potentially stress hospitals that are recovering from record high numbers of patients only in the last month.
Making matters worse, Dr at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Davis and his colleagues Posted a study online On Wednesday, it was suggested that the risk of dying of B.1.1.7 is 35 percent higher than other variants. The study has so far been published in a scientific journal.
Dr. Communities as Grubbo and his Yale University colleagues can take steps to fight variants such as B.1.1.7 Recently described In the magazine cell. For example, he said, health officials should reinforce the message about wearing effective masks, avoiding large gatherings and making indoor locations well ventilated.
Scientists urged governments that sick leave is needed for diagnosis of Kovid-19 to prevent it from spreading to the workplace. “Such measures can help reduce community transmission,” Dr. Grubo and his co-authors wrote.
Vaccination may also be part of the strategy to fight B.1.1.7. in Israel, Where the variant is now predominant, new cases, serious illnesses and hospitalizations have already fallen significantly among people over 65, a group that was given the highest priority for vaccines.
Dr. “What we need to do with current vaccines can be included in as many people as possible,” Andersen said.
Going down B.1.1.7 will also reduce the risk that the version will evolve into something even worse. Already in Britain, researchers have found samples of B.1.1.7 Who got a new change With the ability to make vaccines less effective. It is not clear whether these viruses will become common. But they demonstrate that there is too much evolutionary space left in the coronovirus.
“We should hope they harvest here,” Dr. Anderson said. “What was true elsewhere is going to be true here as well, and we need to deal with it.”