Seriously! What The Real Story About Omicron? Was It A Relative Of The B.1.1.523 Variant That Originated From Europe?
In November, the world was spooked by the announcement of the B.1.1.529 variant discovered by South African researchers and later renamed by the WHO as the Omicron variant
. The variant raised concerns because of the vast number of spike mutations on it and also because of rising cases in South Africa. Initially it was claimed that the variant originated in Botswana but this was quickly refuted by the Government in Botswana and there were speculations that it could have originated from the UK. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/this-is-getting-hilarious-did-the-omicron-or-b-1-1-529-variant-originate-from-uk-and-not-the-african-continent
The discovery of the Omicron surprisingly led to some very peculiar reactions by so called ‘experts’ from the scientific community.
First, some claimed that it must have originated from some immunocompromised person in the African continent who was having HIV, considering the prevalence of HIV in the continent.
Then some based on lobbying by the WHO said that it was due to vaccine inequality that was causing this possible rise of new variants like Omicron.
No matter what, it was unquestionably agreed by those controlling the COVID-19 narratives that vaccines would be the only solution from preventing the situation from deteriorating should the new Omicron be more transmissible or even cause disease severity as a result of immune evasion!
Hence while waiting for real proper studies on the Omicron variant, crazy leaders and politicians, so called experts were introducing vaccine mandates and promoting booster shots despite certain evidence emerging that the booster shots do not really help prevent infection by the Omicron. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-omicron-causes-severe-condition-in-man-who-was-fully-vaccinated-and-had-received-booster-shot-in-iceland-finland-finds-omicron
Then we have so called ‘experts’ making premature statements that the Omicron only causes mild symptoms based on what they heard from their South African experts. (Note people in the African continent can be bought for small sums of monies to say whatever you want that suits your agenda!) https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/morons-having-initial-mild-symptoms-from-a-viral-infection-does-not-mean-things-are-good-omicron-spreading-rapidly-across-the-globe-uk-the-next-hotspo
Despite studies showing that the Pfizer vaccine for instance has lesser protection against the Omicron, thos
e controlling the COVID-19 narratives or are paid by the same group are still insisting the current vaccines protect a degree of protection or at least prevents disease severity and lowers the risk of deaths. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-study-shows-that-antibodies-from-pfizer-s-covid-19-vaccine-bnt162b2-may-be-up-to-40-times-less-effective-against-omicron-variant
Pfizer is also advocating booster or third doses to deal with the Omicron variant.https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-and-biontech-provide-update-omicron-variant
The same ‘experts’ also said that there was no deaths from Omicron so far despite the prevalence of the variant is now exceeding 92 percent of all new genomic sequencings and there are still people dying everyday from COVID-19 in South Africa! https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/04/who-says-no-deaths-reported-from-omicron-yet-as-covid-variant-spreads
I shall not go into details about ADE (antibody dependent enhancement), original antigenic sin, also known as antigenic imprinting or the Hoskins effect, nor shall I talk about viral priming and the immunodeficient effects caused by each exposure of the spike proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus through whatever means. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/why-is-no-one-warning-the-masses-that-the-sars-cov-2-spike-proteins-are-causing-major-immunodeficiency-issues-in-all-infected-individuals
But pay heed to my simple hypothesis that need further research…..for those who survive each surge or wave of a particular SARS-CoV-3 variant or via exposure to the spike proteins through whatever other means, each time, your immune system and body will be compromised and there will be disruptions and damage in the internal cellular systems and as there will be more surges and waves involving other emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, your body will eventually be too weakened to survive at least one of the coming onslaughts. Being asymptomatic or having mild symptoms does not mean that your immunity is strong, we do not know what damage the variant has done internally while switching off the immune response!
Anyway, coming back to the key question…did the Omicron really originate from Africa or was it a further mutated form or another variant that was already circulating in Europe much earlier.
In a recent study, researchers from Lithuania reported the emergence of a novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant lineage B.1.1.523 containing a set of mutations associated with immune escape, including deletion 156_158del, substitution E484K and S494P in Spike (S) protein.
This variant also spotted numerous mutations on its spike proteins and some along with the cluster like arrangements were familiar with those also found on the Omicron.
The new SARS-CoV-2 variant lineage B.1.1.523 was added to the list of variants under the World Health Organization's Monitoring (VUM) section on July 14, 2021.
The study team conducted an analysis to evaluate the origin of the newly discovered variant as well as predict potential epidemiological impacts and risks. Preliminary phylogenetic analysis indicated that this variant has a distinct viral lineage that may have originated in Russia.
The study findings were published on a preprint server and are currently being peer reviewed. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.11.21.21266655v1
To a certain extent, there is a degree of resemblance of the B.1.1.529 variant (Omicron) to this B.1.1.523 variant.
This novel SARS-CoV-2 variant, classified as B.1 by PANGO, was identified containing multiple S protein mutations associated with immune escape. The variant was assigned the new phylum name B.1.1.523 (https://github.com/cov-lineages/pango-designation/issues/69
Interestingly at the time of concluding this study, the total number of cases with the novel variant had reached 598 in over 32 countries. It is likely that the rapid increase in circulation of the Delta variant could have diminished the rise of B.1.1.523 lineage, however, the spread of the novel SARS-CoV-2 lineage did not cease and has even started to rise.
The study team said, "Presence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.523 lineage is evident regardless of the rapid spread of the delta variant.”
The B1.1.523variant is thought to have originated in Russian Federation and spread across European countries. The sequenced clades peaked at week 25 and then subsided. In total, 95 transmission clusters have been identified. The peak of B.1.1.523 transmission intensity was around April - May 2021. The most numerous transmission clusters were detected for the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) originating from Germany and Russia. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/yet-another-worrisome-new-sars-cov-2-variant-b-1-1-523-has-emerged-in-russia-and-now-spreading-all-over-russia,-germany-and-parts-of-europe
A huge growth of B.1.1.523 can be observed in Germany. Interestingly, the transmission of this lineage has diminished in Russia, where it was most expected to rise. Different diagnostic strategy approaches could explain this in the Russian Federation, where the testing is performed on non-randomly selected sources. Alternatively, this could be explained by the steep rise of the Delta variant in Russia, which started a month earlier than in Europe/ Germany.
Interestingly, the B.1.1.523 lineage possesses three or more mutations that characterize SARS-CoV-2 VOCs, including S:156-158 del, S:E484K and S:S494P. S:156-158 deletion at β-hairpin antigenic supersite located at the same region as that for the Delta variant (E156G and 157-158del). E484K mutation has been detected in Beta variant (B.1.351) and VUM Zeta (B.1.1.28). The mutation contributes to SARS-CoV-2 immune system evasion as evident from a significant reduction of convalescent serum neutralization.
Additionally, S494P mutation is related to 3-5-fold reduced SARS-CoV-2 neutralization in sera.
However, this mutation was not as potent at neutralization as E484K.
The study team warns that with a combination of 158del, E484K, and S494P mutations, B1.1.523 lineage should remain on epidemiologists' watchlist as one of the most concerning SARS-CoV-2 lineages.
Importantly, the maximum likelihood (ML) tree revealed several interesting properties of B.1.1.523. The base of the lineages leading to the B.1.1.523 sequences having a full set of expected S protein mutations branches away in clusters of sequences with the triple S:156_158del deletion. The sequences having the additional substitutions at S:484 and S:494 positions emerge further in the evolution. However, no clear indication was found on the sequential introduction of the mutations S:E484K, S:S494P to form the B.1.1.523 lineage.
The study team shows by molecular modeling that the triple deletion del156-158 could decrease interaction in at least one monoclonal antibody. If combined with other immune escape enhancing mutations at RBD, this could result in a highly resistant variant to immunity.
The Delta variant also possesses sequence changes at the S protein residues 156-158 that can induce immune escape and recombination with the B.1.1.523 variant, or de novo introduction of the N484K and S494P mutations could make the Delta variant even more dangerous.
The study team had warned earlier, "This variant needs to be carefully observed and studied to keep a look out for new mutations that may cause even more harm in the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The question now that needs to be answered is whether or not the Omicron or B.1.1529 variant perhaps originated from the B.1.1.523 strain in Europe. There are possibilities that the B.1.1.523 strain could have recombined with an alpha variant and also with a common cold coronavirus. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-preprint-study-suggest-that-omicron-might-be-a-recombined-virus-containing-bits-of-genetic-material-from-the-common-cold-virus
Whatever it may be, something is seriously not right and we at Thailand Medical News
are not concluding anything but merely saying that further investigation is really warranted.
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