Tag Archives: xi variant

These are the people who ‘believe in Science’

It certainly passeth my understanding why the travel ban on flights from Africa to the USA is to begin 2 days from (27 November)  now on Monday (29 November) rather than immediately.   This is from the ‘adults in the room’ running our country who supposedly ‘believe in science’.

Sixty-one people who arrived in Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa have tested positive for Covid-19, Dutch officials say.

They have been placed in isolation at a hotel near Schiphol airport.

They were among some 600 passengers held for several hours after arrival while they were tested for the virus.”  — source — https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-59442149.

The new bug (omicron variant to avoid using nu for confusion with new and xi for confusion with you know who (these were the next letters in the Greek alphabet)) is clearly incredibly infectious, based on 10% of the passengers in two flights being positive for a coronavirus.

The time to ban flights from southern Africa is now, not two days from now as have the European Union and many other countries have done.   Perhaps the President didn’t want to be accused of racism, the way he accused President Trump when he did the same thing in 2020.

Now a bit abut the omicron virus itself and why it is of such concern.  The protein of the virus which gloms on to our cells is the spike protein which is large (over 1,000 amino acids).  300 of them are involved is actually binding to a receptor (ACE2) on our cells.

Omicron has changed (mutated) some 30 of them, many more mutations than most viral variants contain.  Remember it just took one mutation of one amino acid  of beta globin to cause Sickle Cell Anemia.  Some of these mutations have been found in other SARS-CoV-2 variants, and these were associated with (1) increased infectivity (2) ability to evade existing antibodies to the virus.   So far there is no evidence that the omicron variant is associated with more lethal disease, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

It is important to remember that all information about omicron does not come from peer – reviewed journal articles — it’s just too early, as the first mention of the virus was 14 November, so all of this may change.  Reports from the battlefield are always fragmentary and inaccurate.