Dober thread Kaia Kupferschmidta na temo iskanja, v katero smer se bo razvijal virus Covid-19
One of the most important things I was looking for in reporting on #SARSCoV2 evolution was a way of making sense of all the virus variants, putting them in some framework. And one of the most useful things I found for that is this antigenic map.
It’s worth explaining a bit.
In its first year #SARSCoV2 spread in mostly naiive people and it made big jumps in infectiousness: D614G, Alpha, Delta.
“This virus has gone up three notches in effectively a year”, @edwardcholmes told me.
(Let’s debate another time whether this was surprising or expected.)
Think of it this way:
The virus spent the last year getting better at spreading in humans.
Now needs to get better at spreading in partly protected humans.
Several researchers told me that we are now at tipping point with evolutionary pressure moving more towards immune evasion.
Well let’s look at the variants so far and this is where that antigenic map really helps me visualize things.
So how do we read the map?
The further apart two dots are the worse antibodies elicited by one variant neutralize the other variant in the lab
The unit as you move from one line to the next is essentially a two-fold drop in neutralization
Yes, these variants have moved, so they are “escaping immunity” but it’s gradual. As @jbloom_lab told me: “Immune escape conjures this catastrophic failure of immunity when it is really immune erosion.”
Yet, as you can see in this diagram showing the frequency of variants Delta is still outcompeting it.
Essentially Beta may “pay” for its immune escape by being a bit worse at spreading. That could suggest future variants that escape even better are less infectious.
Unlike say H3N2 flu. Here is a map 1968 to 2003 (science.sciencemag.org/content/305/56…):
It’s important to remember that there are likely some boundaries to where and how far the virus can move.
Let’s hope it cannot move very far or fast…
And as always: This is antibodies. There are T cells too.
Vir: Kai Kupferschmidt