California's growing and dangerous coronavirus strain: "The devil is already here"

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Compounding the problem, California is even more behind on its already-slow schedule for vaccine distribution because the storms in the midwest delayed shipments to several major cities this week.


I was expecting I’d be wearing a mask in rare public outings for another year, but it looks like it’s going to be longer than that…



“The devil is already here”



‘It also opens the door to a “nightmare scenario”: That the two viruses will meet in a single person, swap their mutations, and create an even more dangerous strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.’

This isn’t how viruses work. The covid-19 virus enters a cell and makes copies of itself and at no point does it combine dna with other viruses to accomplish this. That basic error in the reporting makes me somewhat skeptical of other statements that article.


I sincerely hope you are correct. Your comment made me feel better.


I hate to say it, but I think there’s a fairly decent chance it’s going to be the rest of our lives.


I feel a lot better after reading the whole article and comparing it to Mark’s doom prophecy. The way he tells the story and spins the quotes, it’s easy to come away with the impression vaccine antibodies are totally ineffective against this, but that’s just not the case. It’s just resistant, like every other variant. But when the original article says the variant “evades antibodies,” they don’t mean that it evades all antibodies completely.

Even the immunologist they interview says it’s only going to have a limited impact on vaccine effectiveness, ““I do anticipate over time it is going to have an effect on vaccination,” Chiu said. Though the magnitude of the effect varied from sample to sample and was less pronounced than with the South Africa strain, “it still is concerning,” he said.” So it’s not even as vaccine-resistant as other strains we’ve already panicked over!

It’s shameful of Boingboing to hype it up into another goddamn doom scenario we don’t need. Guess turning into the new Skymall wasn’t bringing in enough clicks. shrug


Well, shit. I have been having nightmares about the Brazil variant. This sounds like it might combine the vaccine-avoidance of Brazil with increased transmissibility of UK/SA. Beautiful…
We will be getting boosters and mask/distancing for a long time to come. Remember when we were hearing that this virus was “fairly stable” and did not tend to mutate all that much? April seems decades ago.


It shouldn’t. @Secret_Chimp is correct, but the number of possible recombinations in any given host makes any possible outcome quite probable. This bug is less stable than we initially thought, and is throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. With the slow roll-out of vaccinations we are giving it plenty of opportunities to try to get around the antibodies we have. I will be interested to find out if this is a similar variation as the Brazil strain, or if this a new avoidance strategy. Either way, FUUUUUUCK.


Proverbially, correct? It’s a purely Darwinian-evolution kind of process? I am genuinely asking here, as IANAV(irologist, or scientist, or doctor, or epidemiologist, or…)

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A virus does not make copies of itself. A virus injects its genome into a cell, which then makes copies of the genome, and the proteins for which it codes. Usually, the cell is then killed to release the new virus. This leaves relatively little time for multiple viruses to enter the same cell. But if you’re infected with two variants at the same time, it will happen many many many times, because a human is made out of trillions of cells.

If two similar viruses enter a cell at the same time, the cell can indeed make parts for both of them. And everything a cell does is thermodynamically messy. Even if two similar viral genomes rarely interact, on the scale we’re talking about, it would happen regularly. Again, trillions of cells.

This is, in fact, a well known driver of viral evolution.

It is, of course, more common with retroviruses like HIV which leave their host cells alive for longer.


Is it that it is less stable than we thought, or is it that we gave it enough hosts and reproduction opportunities that the law of large numbers won out? I haven’t looked at any of the recent papers, but the early papers I saw were all premised on not having places like the US, UK, and Brazil allowing mass spread.


My layman’s guess is: probably both.

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Proverbially. Just evolution in action. Evolution has no actual goal in mind other than survival. Every time it infects a cell, it generates innumerable copies of itself, not very precisely, and the variants that can best infect a new host and evade destruction by the host’s immune system go on to make more copies, similar but not identical to themselves, and the process repeats. Through who know how many iterations, it becomes what we now see, and more iterations will result in a virus that is better at evading destruction while seeking out vulnerable hosts. Law of the jungle, man.


It’s both. SARS viruses we knew of (MERV and SARS Cov-1) did not show much genetic drift in their runs, but they were contained much more rapidly. If they had the opportunity SARS-Cov-2 has had, would they have shown this much variation? Let’s not find out, eh?


I (an old fart) am scheduled to get my second Moderna dose Saturday. Here’s hoping it happens, and that this and other vaccines are effective against new strains, which it’s beginning to sound like they’re not.


Congrats! May you not get any side-effects!


Thank you! First one gave me a sore arm like a flu shot. A friend who had the vax I’m getting said it made him tired the next day. Think it’s worth the risk.