This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
With the COVID-19 vaccines showing a lack of efficacy against the latest SARS-CoV-2 mutation, recent research from France gives us a sense of what lies ahead no matter what mechanisms governments put in place to control the spread of the virus.
Scientists in Marseilles, France have released this preprint (not peer reviewed) entitled "Mergence in Southenr France of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant of probably Cameroonian origin harbouring both substitutions N501Y and E484K in the spike protein:
The research was funded by the French government under the "Investments for the Future" program managed by the National Agency for Research among other supporters.
In the paper, the researchers note that SARS-CoV-2 variants have become a major concern since they are able to escape from vaccine-induced immunity. The index case of yet another variant returned from travel in Cameroon three days prior to testing and, after exhibiting mild respiratory symptoms, underwent a private RT-PCR test from a sample collected in mid-November 2021, the day after symptoms appeared. It is important to note that the subject was vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. The test revealed an atypical combination of mutations in the spike gene which did not correspond to the pattern of the Delta variant which was involved in nearly all of the SARS-CoV-2 infections at that time.
The researchers also collected samples from two adults and five children living in the same geographical area who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The samples from all seven of these infected individuals exhibited the same combination of mutations that were seen in the traveller who had returned from Cameroon.
Samples from all eight individuals were sent to the University Hospital Institute (IHU) Mediterranee Infection for genome sequencing. The analysis of viral genomes revealed the presence of 46 nucleotide substitutions and 37 deletions resulting in 30 amino acid substitutions and 12 selections with 14 amino acid substitutions and 9 amino acid deletions being located in the spike protein. This suggests that a new variant has evolved which the researchers termed "IHU", in reference to the name of their institute of study.
Respiratory samples collected until the end of November 2021 from four additional SARS-CoV-2 positive patients living in the same city or borough as the index case were also shown to contain the IHU variant, showing the same combination of spike mutations.
Here is the rather stunning conclusion of the study:
"Overall, these observations show once again the unpredictability of the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants and their introduction from abroad, and they exemplify the difficulty to control such introduction and subsequent spread."
Interestingly, Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche has repeatedly warned about the escape of new variants, thanks to the implementation of vaccines during this pandemic. Here is one of many videos showing his impressive credentials and his thoughts on viral escape if you are interested in more details on the science of viral evolution.
How long will it be before governments realize that they are trying to "stuff the genie back into the bottle" by mandating ever increasing numbers of booster shots? The SARS-CoV-2 virus is proving that it will continue to mutate to new forms which are capable of evading the experimental vaccines which are clearly less than effective at preventing the spread of the virus no matter what proportion of human beings are vaccinated.
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