COVID-19: Key points from S.Africa scientists regarding variant “501Y.V2” — not more severe, but convalescent sera may be less effective

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By Daniel R. Lucey MD, MPH, FIDSA

On Jan. 18 an excellent online conference by scientists in South Africa and the Minister of Health Dr. Zweli Mkhize provided updates (below) on five key points regarding the virus variant “501Y.V2” that is spreading rapidly in South Africa. Between minutes 45:40 and 47:46 of this two-hour conference the slide below summarized the key findings.

The speaker discussing his summary slide is Co-Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 Dr. Salim Abdool Karim, the epidemiologist renowned over decades in the fight against HIV.  This slide conveys the facts of what is known, and not yet known, as of Jan. 18, 2021:

Click to enlarge

Dr. Daniel Lucey

Daniel Lucey, MD, MPH, FIDSA, FACP, is a Clinical Professor of Medicine (Teaching) at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, adjunct Professor at Georgetown Medical Center, senior scholar at Georgetown Law, Anthropology Research Associate at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America Global Health Committee. He served as a volunteer to outbreaks overseas including patient care in Sierra Leone and Liberia (MSF) during Ebola 2014, SARS 2003, MERS 2013, Plague 2017 as well as H5N1, Zika, and Yellow Fever. Since Jan. 6 he has contributed more than 50 posts to Science Speaks on COVID-19 and traveled to China Feb. 11. With career experiences, he proposed and helped design the 2018-2022 Smithsonian Exhibition on Epidemics.

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