Thursday, December 24, 2020

"Travel bans are an overly simplistic solution"

Dr. Angela Rasmussen (@angie_rasmussen) tweeted at 10:50 AM on Wed, Dec 23, 2020:
"Travel bans are an overly simplistic solution to new variants with potentially new properties & reflect a superficial understanding of viral mutation. They are also a missed opportunity to educate people with more nuance. My latest for the @guardian."
"We can probably expect to see other variants that may be more effective at spreading, causing disease or circumventing our immune responses. We must be prepared to respond in an informed and thoughtful way, rather than reactively. Unfortunately, because Sars-CoV-2 is spreading so widely, the virus has many opportunities to develop mutations that give it a competitive advantage. The only way to stop the virus from mutating is to take away its ability to replicate, which means drastically reducing community transmission.

Mutations do not automatically make a virus a more exceptional pathogen. The advantages conferred by positively selected viral mutations are good for the virus, but aren’t necessarily always bad for the human host. Many mutations can make the virus better at infecting cells, replicating, or transmitting to new hosts, but will have no effect on the severity or type of disease that they cause. In the case of B.1.1.7, there is fortunately no indication that the 23 mutations distinguishing the variant result in more severe Covid-19"

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