The prospect that SARS-CoV-2, the “novel” coronavirus responsible for causing the illness COVID-19, might be mutating and evolving as it spreads across the globe has been such a terrifying prospect for the scientific community, that medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci seem to avoid even engaging on the topic.
Asked about the possibility of viral mutation during one of the White House’s inaugural task force press briefings, Dr. Fauci assured the public that scientists have found “no evidence” of any concerning mutations, though the prospect that a mutated version of the virus might return during next year’s flu season has kept some virologists up at night with nightmares about needing to start the vaccine clock from zero.
The problem is that vaccines often aren’t as effective against viruses that mutate, like the flu does every season (that’s why you need to keep getting that flu shot year after year). And now, a new scientific paper that – like most of the coronavirus research being cited in the press – has yet to be peer reviewed claims to have identified a mutation in a sample of the virus collected in India that could create serious problems for researchers working on a vaccine.
Monitoring the mutation dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 is critical for the development of effective approaches to contain the 21 pathogen. By analyzing 106 SARS-CoV-2 and 39 SARS genome sequences, we provided direct genetic evidence that 22 SARS-CoV-2 has a much lower mutation rate than SARS. Minimum Evolution phylogeny analysis revealed the putative original status of SARS-CoV-2 and the early-stage spread history. The discrepant phylogenies for the spike protein and it receptor binding domain proved a previously reported structural rearrangement prior to the emergence of SARS-CoV-2. Despite that, we found the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 is particularly more conserved, we identified a mutation that leads to weaker receptor binding capability, which concerns a SARS-CoV-2 sample collected on 27th January 2020 from India. This represents the first report of a significant SARS-CoV-2 mutant, and raises the alarm that the ongoing vaccine development may become futile in future epidemic if more mutations were identified.”
The ominous discovery underscores how the virus’s destructive potential will likely be tied to the vagaries of viral evolution.
Fortunately, the team appeared to confirm an earlier finding by a team of researchers in Italy that the virus “has a much lower mutation rate and genetic diversity” than SARS, which means that a vaccine will likely be able to treat wide swaths of people before becoming ineffective as the virus changes and evolves.
However, this new finding shows that it’s not just the speed of the mutation that matters, but the specific nature of the mutations, when scientists are developing a vaccine.
Experts say that a vaccine could take up to two years to develop, and some city officials have warned that life likely won’t return completely back to normal until a vaccine is ready for mass production. But a mutation could throw a wrench in this process, transforming the process of developing a workable vaccine into a “cat and mouse” game – or at the very least lengthen the time it takes for the initial vaccine to be developed.
Amazon Bans Sale Of N95 And Surgical Masks To General Public – Where Can I Buy N95 Masks Now?
Amazon has banned the sale of N95 and surgical masks to the general public, claiming it would restrict sales to hospitals and government organizations dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ban took effect April 1, according to Recode, after the company said in a forum for Amazon sellers that the ban includes “facial shields, surgical gowns, surgical gloves, and large-volume sanitizers.”
Ok, but where can I Buy N95 masks now?
With Pharmacies, Walmart and nearly all other physical stores out of stock, Amazon out of the game and ebay selling mostly gas masks from China, there’s not much place left to buy N95 masks to protect yourself in th Covid-19 crisis and even if they claim to sell N95 masks, it’s mostly cheap fake masks that won’t offer any protection at all:
As you may already know, the Darknet is selling pretty much everything that is hard to get by in stores or completely illegal. So even if you come by to find a shady shop or entity selling overpriced masks, you never know if they really are what they are advertised (N95 standard) and work and you also never know if they will ever arrive. However, there are still some online shops that are selling the very last N95 masks, one of them being a small company called Amazyble.com.
With the coronavirus pandemic quickly spreading, U.S. health officials have changed their advice on face masks and now recommend people wear cloth masks in public areas where social distancing can be difficult, such as grocery stores.
Research on SARS, another coronavirus, found that N95 masks were highly effective at blocking transmission of that virus. Even ill-fitting medical face masks have been found to interrupt airborne particles and viruses, keeping them from reaching as far when someone sneezes.
The universal use of mouth and nose covering with masks is a low-risk intervention that can only assist in reducing the spread of this terrible illness. If everyone wears a mask, individuals protect one another, reducing overall community transmission. It could even remind people not to touch their faces after touching potentially contaminated surfaces.