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BA.2.12.1 is on the rise in New York…

A recently named sub-strain represents the latest twist in the ongoing evolution of SARS-CoV-2. It’s currently active in the United States and looks…

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A recently named sub-strain represents the latest twist in the ongoing evolution of SARS-CoV-2. It’s currently active in the United States and looks to be very capable of spreading, outpacing the base model BA.2. As usual, it’s early days so we don’t know a lot about BA.2.12.1 and disease severity or how much protection is offered by previous vaccination. It seems BA.2.12.1 is likely to visit a host near you in 2022.

Analysis of some genomes shows the rise of BA.2.12.1

The US CDC genomic sequencing data page shows this variant’s rise to the week ending 23rd of April. They also model its likely ongoing rapid spread.[2,5]

Graph from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID data tracker, variant proportions website.[2]

BA.2.12.1 has also been highlighted on NEXTSTRAIN – a gold standard resource for following the emergence and changes of a range of important viruses.[2]

Dr Emma Hodcroft notes NEXTSTRAIN has made a place for some new clades in the forest of SARS-CoV-2, and this includes BA.2.12.1 (22C).[3] See the NEXTSTRAIN blog on this image.[4]

Remember that sequencing is a lagging indicator – what we see now, happened in the past. The lag can be bigger or smaller depending on the source.

Genomic sequencing usually shows only the tip of the iceberg. It shouldn’t be used to define the number of cases in an area unless every case is a) captured (some sites are better than others) and b) can be sequenced (depends on sampling, sample handling, whereabouts in the course of the disease the person is, CT, sequencing method, data analysis, etcetera).

Drawing conclusions about changes in virus proportions based on viral genome sequencing is subject to from whom, where and when samples were collected; do they represent what we assume when we look at the data? What proportion cam from hospitalised patients, cases of special interest, asymptomatic cases, are they from a fixed percentage of cases, are they from all over the land, is there a proportional representation of locals and travellers…and so on.

Hospitalised cases are on the rise in New York

Given this apparent rise in BA.2.12.1 viruses in New York COVID-19 cases, it’s also very interesting to look at hospitalisations. Here we find that there’s been a rise in hospitalised cases as well.[1]

Graph from New York State Health Department’s novel coronavirus hospitalisation summary.[1]

BA.2.12.1 is already travelling

With an estimated transmission advantage of 23% – 27% over the original BA.2,[14] it’s no surprise BA.2.12.1 is on the move. Other States in the US have already reported cases,[13] and it’s been detected in a case in Delhi, India [17], among two local cases in Singapore [16] and in the wastewater of the Australian State of Victoria.[15,6]

We know what we can do

There are a few things we know can help us avoid getting sick from circulating respiratory viruses like SARS-CoV-2.

Getting boosted is top of the list

Our immunity to anything drops off over time.

We’ve learned in the pandemic that the first to go is the relatively short-lived immunity that protects from infection (virus getting a foothold in our airways).

The next to go is immunity against more severe disease but that isn’t necessarily because the vaccine-generate immunity has disappeared, but more because SARS-CoV2 keeps evolving. That other slippery virus we know so well, the influenza virus, does a similar thing. So we have to change the flu vaccine annually to keep up with the rapidly evolving flu viruses.

When viruses like SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus spread through so many humans, each infection giving rise to a swarm of mutants, there are more chances (because more hosts) that a “fitter” virus will emerge. In this context, fitness relates to a virus changed enough to be able to doge some of our immune response. We’ll learn more about what BA.2.12.1 can do as time goes by.

Air purity

While not accessible to everyone,[18-19] even in richer nations, we expect our food to be fresh and clean and we expect our water to be toxin and pathogen-free. These two things, when present and working, save lives and prevent a lot of diseases.

The next big revolution in public health is to purify pathogens out of the air we share.[9-12]

If we did this, we would dramatically reduce acute and chronic diseases, reduce sick days and lost education days and hospital and aged care disease outbreaks.

Masks

They don’t hurt and, if you use good ones (e.g. P2/N95) and they fit well and you wear them whenever there is a risk, you’ll reduce the likelihood of inhaling enough virus to get sick.

References

  1. Novel coronavirus, Daily Hospitalisation Summary
    https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/daily-hospitalization-summary
  2. COVID Data Tracker – Variant Proportions
    https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions
  3. Genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 with subsampling focused globally over the past 6 months
    https://nextstrain.org/ncov/gisaid/global/6m
  4. SARS-CoV-2 clade naming strategy for 2022 9last visited, 02MAY2022 AEST)
    https://nextstrain.org/blog/2022-04-29-SARS-CoV-2-clade-naming-2022
  5. New Omicron Variant BA.2.12.1 Now Dominant In New York, Driving Infections; Strain Up 47% Nationwide In Past Week
    https://deadline.com/2022/04/new-omicron-variant-ba-12-1-dominant-new-york-1235010160/
  6. COVID-19 Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 detected in Australia in Victorian wastewater
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-30/covid-19-omicron-subvariant-ba-2-12-1-detected-in-victoria/101027818
  7. Survival Of The Fittest: The Rise Of BA.2.12.1
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamhaseltine/2022/04/22/survival-of-the-fittest-the-rise-of-ba2121/?sh=29687b5b413d
  8. Portable air cleaners and residential exposure to SARS-CoV-2 aerosols: A real-world study
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35481935/
  9. Aerodynamic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 in two Wuhan hospitals
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2271-3
  10. Use of portable air purifiers as local exhaust ventilation during COVID-19
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35290164/
  11. Airborne SARS-CoV-2 in hospitals – effects of aerosol-generating procedures, HEPA-filtration units, patient viral load and physical distance
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35226740/
  12. Use of portable air cleaners to reduce aerosol transmission on a hospital coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) ward
    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/infection-control-and-hospital-epidemiology/article/abs/use-of-portable-air-cleaners-to-reduce-aerosol-transmission-on-a-hospital-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid19-ward/17C5199D3903ABD465017C34AA741826
  13. A new omicron subvariant is spreading in North Texas: What we know about BA.2.12.1
    https://www.star-telegram.com/news/coronavirus/article260860897.html
  14. New York State Department of Health Announces Emergence of Recently Identified, Highly Contagious Omicron Subvariants in New York and Urges Continued Vigilance Against COVID-19
    https://www.health.ny.gov/press/releases/2022/2022-04-13_covid-19.htm
  15. Coronavirus update for Victoria – 29 April 2022
    https://www.health.vic.gov.au/media-releases/coronavirus-update-for-victoria-29-april-2022
  16. 2 S’pore Covid-19 cases infected with new Omicron sub-variant BA.2.12.1
    https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/two-singapore-covid-19-cases-infected-with-new-sub-variant-of-omicron-ba2
  17. Omicron’s BA.2.12.1 mutant found in a Delhi patient, all you need to know about the sub-variant
    https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-omicron-ba-2-12-1-mutant-found-in-a-delhi-patient-all-you-need-to-know-about-the-sub-variant-2947595
  18. Calls for clean water continue
    https://nit.com.au/calls-for-clean-water-continue/
  19. Uranium Detectable in Two-Thirds of U.S. Community Water System Monitoring Records
    https://www.publichealth.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/uranium-detectable-two-thirds-us-community-water-system-monitoring-records

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The post BA.2.12.1 is on the rise in New York… appeared first on Virology Down Under.

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International

Tesla Rivals Challenge Its Lead as Nio Sets Encouraging Record

Tesla’s rivals are not even coming close to producing and delivering EVs at the same rate as the Austin, Texas-based market leader.

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Tesla's rivals are not even coming close to producing and delivering EVs at the same rate as the Austin, Texas-based market leader.

Electric vehicle makers have been struggling over the last two years to produce and deliver cars, trucks and SUVs despite obstacles such as supply chain disruptions, semiconductor shortages and factory shutdowns caused by the covid pandemic.

The industry's leading EV manufacturer Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report on July 2 said that plant closures at its Shanghai gigafactory in April and May and supply chain disruptions led to a smaller number of deliveries than expected in its second quarter ending June 30 with 254,695, which was 26.7% higher than the same period in 2021, but 17.7% lower than its record of 310,048 delivered in the first quarter of 2021. Analysts were originally expecting about 295,000 deliveries.

Tesla's production declined to 258,580 vehicles in the second quarter compared to 305,407 in the first quarter. It had produced 305,840 vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Tesla's rivals are not even coming close to producing and delivering EVs at the same rate as the Austin, Texas-based market leader. But they keep trying.

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Tesla Rivals Struggle to Produce and Deliver Volume of EVs

Tesla rival Nio  (NIO) - Get NIO Inc. American depositary shares each representing one Class A 蔚来汽车 Report on July 1 said that it had delivered 12,961 vehicles in June for a 60.3% year-over-year increase and its highest number of monthly deliveries ever. The company also reported 25,059 EVs delivered in the three months ending June 2022, increasing by 14.4% year-over-year. Nio has delivered a cumulative 217,897 EVs as of June 30.

NIO on June 15 rolled out its ES7, a new mid-large five-seat smart electric SUV, which is the first SUV product based on NIO's latest technology platform Technology 2.0. NIO also launched the 2022 ES8, ES6 and EC6 equipped with the upgraded digital cockpit domain controller and sensing suite, enhancing the computing and perception capabilities as well as digital experience of the vehicles. The company expects to start deliveries of the ES7 and the ES8, ES6 and EC6 in August.

Chinese EV maker XPeng  (XPEV) - Get XPeng Inc. American depositary shares each representing two Class A 小鹏汽车 Report on July 1 said it delivered 15,295 vehicles in June, a 133% increase year-over-year; 34,422 in the second quarter ending June 30 for a 98% increase year-over-year and 68,983 in the first six months of the year for a 124% increase year-over year.

The Guangzhou, China-based company said in August it will begin accepting orders for its new G9 SUV with an official launch in September.

Beijing-based Li Auto  (LI) - Get Li Auto Inc. Report on July 1 said it delivered 13,024 EVs in June, a 68.9% increase year-over-year and 28,687 in the second quarter ending June 30 for a 63.2% increase year-over-year. The company on June 21 began taking orders for its Li L9 SUV and recorded 30,000 orders as of June 24, according to a statement. Test drives will begin July 16 with deliveries beginning by the end of August.

GM Follows Behind Tesla and Other Rivals

General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company Report had 7,300 EV sales in the second quarter, according to a July 1 statement. The Detroit automaker's sales included deliveries of the BrightDrop Zevo 600 delivery van, GMC Hummer EV pickup, and the resumption of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV production.

GM said the Cadillac Lyriq production is accelerating, with initial deliveries in process. Orders for the 2023 model year sold out within hours and preorders for the 2024 model opened on June 22.

The company said it will gradually increase production of the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV Pickup in the second half of 2022. 

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Spread & Containment

Tesla EV deliveries fall nearly 18% in second quarter following China factory shutdown

Tesla delivered 254,695 electric vehicles globally in the second quarter, a nearly 18% drop from the previous period as supply chain constraints, China’s…

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Tesla delivered 254,695 electric vehicles globally in the second quarter, a nearly 18% drop from the previous period as supply chain constraints, China’s extended COVID-19 lockdown and challenges around opening factories in Berlin and Austin took their toll on the company.

This is the first time in two years that Tesla deliveries, which were 310,048 in the first period this year, have fallen quarter over quarter. Tesla deliveries were up 26.5% from the second quarter last year.

The quarter-over-quarter reduction is in line with a broader supply chain problem in the industry. It also illustrates the importance of Tesla’s Shanghai factory to its business. Tesla shuttered its Shanghai factory multiple times in March due to rising COVID-19 cases that prompted a government shutdown.

Image Credits: Tesla/screenshot

The company said Saturday it produced 258,580 EVs, a 15% reduction from the previous quarter when it made 305,407 vehicles.

Like in other quarters over the past two years, most of the produced and delivered vehicles were Model 3 and Model Ys. Only 16,411 of the produced vehicles were the older Model S and Model X vehicles.

Tesla said in its released that June 2022 was the highest vehicle production month in Tesla’s history. Despite that milestone, the EV maker as well as other companies in the industry, have struggled to keep apace with demand as supply chain problems persist.

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International

If You’re A Saudi Cocaine-User, Move To Uruguay

If You’re A Saudi Cocaine-User, Move To Uruguay

According to the latest edition of the United Nations World Drug Report, 284 million people…

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If You're A Saudi Cocaine-User, Move To Uruguay

According to the latest edition of the United Nations World Drug Report, 284 million people used illegal drugs in the last year, while around 21 million of them used cocaine.

The use of the drug has risen in the past decade, according to the report, but slowed somewhat in the Covid-19 pandemic. However, as Statista's Katharina Buchholz details below, with global cocaine production reaching new highs, cocaine supply chains to Europe have been diversifying, which is driving prices down and pushing quality up, potentially increasing the level of harm caused by use of the drug in the region.

You will find more infographics at Statista

In the United Kingdom, for example, cocaine prices fell from the equivalent of $178 to $103 between 2019 and 2020. The country continues to have a high cocaine retail street price in a global comparison, however, with prices lower in most European countries.

In developed economies outside of Europe, a higher premium is usually charged for cocaine, like in Hong Kong ($145 per gram), Japan ($188 per gram), Israel ($205 per gram) or Australia ($242 per gram). For the United States, no 2020 numbers were reported, but in 2019, the price for a gram of cocaine stood at $200 per gram.

Prices were even higher in Arab countries, which have strict laws forbidding drug use and trade.

A gram of cocaine can be found for a fraction of its price on the Persian Gulf in some parts of Europe, such as in the Netherlands and Portugal where UNODC states it has a retail street price of $58 and $38 per gram, respectively. The later country has recently radically decriminalized the use of even class A drugs.

Uruguay, one of the few Latin American countries for which data was available, came in at the very bottom of the list.

Cocaine is expensive in the only African country on the list, Algeria. India was included in the report for the first time this year, with the price of cocaine set at an average $67 per gram. While this is rather low by international standards, attainability is likely lower than in Europe due to the differences in purchasing power in the country.

Tyler Durden Sat, 07/02/2022 - 07:35

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