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WHO in Denial on
Resistance and RBD Changes
The above comments are from the WHO update on transmission of H274Y are hospitals in the United States and United Kingdom. As indicated above, the virus was not only was fit enough to transmit human to human, but also lead to fatal infections in the majority of those infected. Although these patients had underlying conditions, the death of three of four demonstrates that the virus is quite virulent.
However, as was seen in comments on the receptor binding domain change in Ukraine which was detected in all four fatal cases, these dramatic developments are discounted in WHO reports. The outbreaks in hospitals are characterized as being somewhat different from the general population. However, although these patients are more likely to develop serious illness, the majority of the human population is naïve for this virus, so initial infection rates would be similar. The immuno-compromised patients are monitored ore closely, so detection in these patients would be increased, but they would be representative of initial infections.
Like the general population, the reports of cases of H274Y have increased dramatically in the past few weeks, how, in contrast to what is implied in the report, is the rate of detection that is alarming. In the US, that rate has increased almost 10 fold in the past few weeks.
Thus, the WHO report is really a denial of the actual resistance situation. The cases in the hospitals are representative of initial infections in the general population and the rate of infection has spike higher leading tyo a large number of new cases, even though a lower number of samples are tested.
The denial of the explosion of H274Y as well as the association of D225G in fatal lung infections raises concerns that these events are being portrayed in an overly optimistic light. Although cases are declining in many parts of the world, these genetic changes in transmission and ant-viral resistance raise concerns that the next wave will be markedly more virulent and difficult to treat at a time when the efficiency of anti-virals and the utility of the vaccine target are in a decline.