VOC 202012/01

One of the things that I like about the French press is that they put source related URLs into their on line articles.

This one was posted online 23/12 and has not yet been peer reviewed:

Estimated transmissibility and severity of novel SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern 202012/01 in England

Nicholas Davies*, Rosanna C Barnard1, Christopher I Jarvis1, Adam J Kucharski1, James D Munday1, Carl A.B. Pearson1, Timothy W Russell1, Damien C Tully1, Sam Abbott, Amy Gimma, William Waites, Kerry LM Wong, Kevin van Zandvoort, CMMID COVID-19 working group, Rosalind M Eggo, Sebastian Funk, Mark Jit, Katherine E Atkins & W John Edmunds.

here are some excerpts:

Details of emergent variant

 VOC 202012/01 is defined by 17 mutations (14 non-synonymous mutations and 3 deletions),among which eight are located in the spike protein. At least three mutations have a potential biological significance. Mutation N501Y is one of the key contact residues in the receptor binding domain and has been shown to enhance binding affinity to human ACE2 ( 2 , 3 ) . The function of mutation P681H is unclear, but it is located immediately adjacent to the furin cleavage site in spike, a known region of importance for infection and transmission ( 4 , 5 ) .

The deletion of two amino acids at positions 69-70 in spike has arisen in multiple independent circulating lineages of SARS-CoV-2, is linked to immune escape in immunocompromised patients and enhances viral infectivity in vitro ( 6 , 7 ) . This deletion is also responsible for certain commercial diagnostic assays failing to detect the spike glycoprotein gene (S gene drop-out), with genomic data confirming these S gene target failures are primarily due to the new variant ( 1 ) . Accordingly, molecular evidence is consistent with a potentially altered infectiousness phenotype for this variant.

 

What no politician will say:

 

We found that regardless of control measures simulated, all NHS regions are projected to experience a subsequent wave of COVID-19 cases and deaths, peaking in spring 2021 for London, South East and East of England, and in summer 2021 for the rest of England ( Fig. 4). In the absence of substantial vaccine roll-out, cases, hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths in 2021 may exceed those in 2020 ( Table 1 ). School closures in January 2021 may delay the peak ( Fig. 4 ) and decrease the total burden in the short term. However, implementation of more stringent measures now with a subsequent lifting of these restrictions in February 2021 leads to a bigger rebound in cases, particularly in those regions that have been least affected so far ( Fig.4 and Table 1 ). However, these delaying measures may buy time to reach more widespread population immunity through vaccination. Vaccine roll-out will further mitigate transmission, although the impact of vaccinating 200,000 people per week—similar in magnitude to the rates reached in December 2020—may be relatively small ( Fig. 5 ). An accelerated uptake of 2 million people vaccinated per week is predicted to have a much more substantial impact. The most stringent intervention scenario with Tier 4 England-wide and schools closed during January, and 2 million individuals vaccinated per week, is the only scenario we considered which reduces peak ICU burden below the levels seen during the first wave ( Table 1 ).