Thailand Medical News Apologizes About A Prediction That A New Catastrophic COVID Surge Will Occur In August. New Study Shows It Will Start Earlier In July!
Thailand Medical News
would like to apologize to readers about a warning and prediction we made claiming about an impending catastrophic COVID-19 surge that will occur globally around August 2021.
Newer studies and emerging data are showing that it would most likely occur earlier, starting around July 2021!
Thailand Medical News finds it critical that we warn our readers properly so that they can better be prepared in time.
One latest modeling study conducted by researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina is also projecting that this new surge will occur around July 2021. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.05.06.21256705v1
While vaccination programmes are underway globally and various monoclonal and polyclonal therapeutics are being used alongside non-effective antivirals etc, the virus is being pushed into an accelerated evolutionary mode to survive and become fitter and unfortunately the SARS-CoV-2 virus is actually winning this war.
With more people getting infected with the virus and numerous conditions providing opportunities for the virus to mutate and evolve including back zoonotic processes, more immune compromised individuals with varying set of issues and conditions getting infected etc, already numerous new mutations are emerging and some of these new variants are not even being detected via the current COVID-19 tests! Some of these new strains have already been detected by researchers across the world but due to lack of sufficient data and also because these variants have yet to become dominant in prevalence, published studies on them have yet to emerge.
To date, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused over 160 million confirmed cases and more than 3.33 million deaths as of today.
The SARS-CoV-2 has been in circulation globally for well over a year now. The virus has been mutating throughout this time, though at a slower pace when compared to the influenza virus and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
One SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern called the B.1.1.7 was found to be more infectious and fatal than other strains.
The rapid emergence of this variant highlighted the uneven pace of mutation and selection of variants. New bioinformatics tools are the need of the hour to clarify this and confirm a dynamic evolution by tracking the mutation rates of the spike protein. It generally takes 1 – 6 months for current variants causing COVID-19 case peaks and deaths to survive the pressure of selection.
To better understand this, many new studies focused on viral phylodynamics by finding and analyzing clades. The Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) maintains the complete genome of SARS-CoV-2 and, as of March 2021, had over 800,000 genomes in the database.
A new bioinformatics approach to determine the mutation rate over time using the RERS metric is currently underway.
The study team from the US recently developed a bioinformatics approach to determine the mutation rate over time using a defined metric, the relative evolutionary rate of spike genomic sequence (RERS). This metric is different from the mutation rate determined by nucleotide substitutions / site / year and focuses on trends or changes in the evolutionary process.
Using the aid of RERS, the study team tracked the evolution of spike protein at every 7 sampling days. They also developed an evolutionary-spreading model to integrate COVID-19 data, genomic spike evolution data, and related geographical indicators and metadata. This model developed by the authors can predict the next pandemic peak by uniquely determining the combined mutation and selection process.
The team said, “Distinct from existing studies only using the missense mutations at the protein level, our team considered all types of mutations for the Spike genomic variations.”
Alarmingly the study findings predict the next COVID-19 peak around July 2021 impacting Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.
The study team warned that based on this analysis and the rapid spike evolution, it is predicted that another COVID-19 peak would happen around July 2021, and this peak would be devastating for Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. This prediction is generated by a mathematical model on the evolutionary spread, which comprehensively considers factors such as mutation rate, spreading speed, and selection course, while predicting future trends. If this prophecy becomes true, that new wave will be the first that is predicted using accelerated spike evolution.
This new model illustrates the significance of mutation and selection to Spike evolution
Genomic surveillance plays a vital role in tracking new variants and understanding the evolutionary spread of pathogens.
The study team warned, “Through gaining new mutations and surviving from the high selection pressure, current variants had the ability to spread more quickly in population, evade detection by specific diagnostic tests, and potentially evade natural or vaccine-induced immunity.”
Interestingly the new model used in this study has shown that mutation and selection are critical to spike evolution. With the help of new mutations arising from the high selection pressure, current variants attain the ability to spread more rapidly in the population and evade detection by some diagnostic tests. They can also evade natural or vaccine-induced immunity.
Significantly this explains why COVID-19 cases and deaths are still increasing while many people worldwide have been receiving vaccines. This is because SARS-CoV-2 has been going through a second evolutionary acceleration starting October 2020, and variants currently in circulation, such as the B.1.1.7 variant, have already succeeded selection and thus could possibly attain a peak around July 2021.
However many new subsets of the B.1.1.7 variant are also emerging, some with unique mutations on them.
The team added, “
Though it is urgent to evaluate if they vaccines are effective enough to compete Spike evolution, our model cannot make such a prediction due to insufficient vaccine data but this will be our future focus after integrating evolutionary rate, pandemic data, and vaccine data.”
Thailand Medical News also warns that a variety of new variants have been discovered some even seeming worst and lethal than even the Indian B.1.617 variant and that these variants have only just started to spread more rapidly. (We will be providing details and articles on these new variants separately)
It will be extremely interesting to watch what is going to be happening around the periods July to September 2021 and also towards the end of 2021. It is believed that this is the real phase of the COVID-19 pandemic that we have all been talking about that has parallels to the Spanish Flu of the 1918.