New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli announced Monday that a patient infected with the B.1.1.7 strain of coronavirus, first discovered in the United Kingdom, has died in the state.
A total of 315 cases of B.1.1.7 novel coronavirus have been reported in at least 28 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
New Jersey has reported 8 cases of new crown infection with B.1.1.7 variant.
The first fatal case of a mutant novel coronavirus in the United States does not mean that the mutant novel coronavirus is more virulent and lethal.
One obvious reason is that, according to news reports, the patient had “severe underlying disease,” the same condition as those killed by the unmutated virus, meaning that the vast majority of Covid-19 deaths have been among people with severe underlying disease and elderly patients.
But there are deeper reasons.
Several new crown variants have been detected, including B.1.1.7, which has been widely distributed in the United Kingdom since late November 2020, and B.1.351 and P.1, which have subsequently been reported in South Africa and Brazil.
At present, B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 have spread to at least 60 countries.
The change of virus is the same as the change of everything in the world, it is normal and inevitable.
They change to survive, but mostly to escape, both from the organism’s immune system and from the attack of vaccines and drugs developed by humans.
However, even if the virus has a myriad of changes, it is difficult to escape human recognition and control.
Now, the most fickle viruses are HIV, influenza, followed by novel coronavirus.
But researchers have recently found that the virus changes in the same way, with little or no change in key parts, which could help in the development of vaccines and drugs to control it.
It would be much easier to combat the virus if universal vaccines and drugs were designed to target key parts of the virus that are not fickle.
A research team at the Massachusetts institute of technology in a natural language processing (NLP) model to analyze the gene sequences of the virus after the change, found that the virus variation must follow certain principles, as well as changes to evade the antibodies attack, and to maintain their attack and invasion of host cell function and with the help of the host cell to copy their genes, this once again proved that the virus won’t have big change in key position, otherwise, they are hard to survive.
Researchers to choose the more three – HIV virus, influenza virus, and will be coronavirus, and use the 60000 HIV gene sequence, 45000 of the 4000 flu virus gene sequences and coronavirus gene sequence, which predicted coronavirus spike protein, HIV envelope protein and influenza hemagglutinin (HA) protein sequence, and these proteins have been proved to be more easily escape mutations of key parts of the virus.
The results showed that although influenza viruses change more frequently, leading to the production of new flu vaccines each year based on the components that predict virus mutation, the sequence in which influenza viruses are least likely to mutate and escape is at the stem of the HA protein.
This prediction is also consistent with the results of actual genetic sequencing of influenza viruses in recent years.
Therefore, a universal vaccine targeting the stalk of HA could be developed that would protect the vast majority of people.
At the same time, the study on HIV also found that the high variation region of V1-V2 of the envelope surface protein of the virus had a high probability of escape mutation, which was consistent with the results of previous studies.
More encouragingly, the model predicted a novel coronavirus protein called the S2 subunit, which is the equivalent of the HA stalk of influenza viruses, and which is currently used in most novel coronavirus vaccine antigens.
In another case, clinical and viral studies have observed that novel coronavirus mutates at a slower rate than influenza and HIV.
Although novel coronavirus mutations have appeared in several countries, the S protein of novel coronavirus does not change easily, so the vaccine developed now has reliable efficacy.
Even though the British, South African and Brazilian strains all have a mutation in the spiny protein, called N501Y, which means the 501st amino acid changes from the original asparagine (N) to tyrosine (Y), making the virus more likely to bind to human cells and thus more infectious, it is not more virulent or pathogenic.
Of course, the prediction of virus mutation by natural language models should also be confirmed by high-throughput sequencing (NGS).
If the two conditions match, it could provide a possible way to develop a vaccine against the virus in the future, targeting the relatively stable parts of the virus to produce a universal vaccine to control the virus and prevent the disease.
In summary, the discovery of the first fatal case of mutant coronavirus in the United States is not a sign of a worsening epidemic, but the mutant virus still needs to be closely monitored.