U.S. Lacks Critical Data on Covid Variants Spreading Around the Country

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “U.S. Lacks Critical Data on Covid Variants Spreading Around the Country” – below is their description.

    There’s no good place to stand inside the Pandemic Response Lab’s sequencing facility in Queens, N.Y. Take a wrong step, and you’re blocking a gowned-up lab tech as she ferries a plate with the RNA from 384 Covid-19 test samples to a machine that runs a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, identifies positives, and extracts them with a robotic arm.

    A data scientist hurries by, bringing more RNA samples to a device that will convert them into DNA. In the corner are genomic sequencing machines that piece together chopped-up bits of that DNA to identify what form of SARS-CoV-2 a patient has. Name a mutation you’ve heard of, and this lab has seen it, as it takes part in the national and global efforts to sequence virus genomes, spot new and dangerous variations, and stem their spread.

    Things are moving in this world with mind-bending speed. Earlier this year, the main concern was alpha, a variant originally identified in the U.K., which seemed to spread more easily than the original “wild type” coronavirus. Toward the end of April, the Pandemic Response Lab (PRL) spotted the delta mutation, first identified in India and believed to be even more contagious than alpha.

    A variant like alpha or delta is distinguished by changes to its genetic code that have effectively altered the virus’s behavior. Delta has more than 20 differences in its genetic makeup, some of which may make it easier for the spike protein to bind to human cells and help the virus evade antibodies. Sequencing has shown that delta cases make up almost 70% of Covid positives in New York City. The CDC estimates the variant is responsible for 83% of cases nationwide.

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    In This Story: COVID-19

    Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

    Symptoms of coronavirus

    The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

    • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
    • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
    • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

    Latest News about Covid-19

    Below are stories from around the globe related to the 2020 outbreak of novel Coronavirus – since the WHO gave the Covid-19 naming. Most recent items are posted nearest the top.

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    India, officially the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the second-most populous country, the seventh-largest country by land area, and the most populous democracy in the world. New Delhi is the capital.

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  • In This Story: New York City

    New York City (NYC) is located in the U.S. state of New York. The city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world with approximately 23 million people in its combined statistical area.

    New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, hosting the headquarters of the United Nations, as well as the New York Stock Exchange.

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