Saturday, November 27, 2021

Tweets Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

Migrants, mostly Haitians, walk as they take part in a caravan heading to the U.S. border, near Tapachula, Mexico November 26, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez  

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Caravan of migrants making their way through Mexico (Reuters).

Friday, November 26, 2021

This Is Why The Omicron Variant Is So Dangerous

The Botswana variant has around 50 mutations and more than 30 of them are on the spike protein. The current crop of vaccines trigger the body to recognise the version of the spike protein from older versions of the virus. But the mutations may make the spike protein look so different that the body's immune system struggles to recognise it and fight it off. And three of the spike mutations (H665Y, N679K, P681H) help it enter the body's cells more easily. Meanwhile, it is missing a membrane protein (NSP6) which was seen in earlier iterations of the virus, which experts think could make it more infectious. And it has two mutations (R203K and G204R) that have been present in all variants of concern so far and have been linked with infectiousness 

 Daily Mail: Why IS the Omicron variant so scary? Super strain has evolved to have ALL of the worst mutations of Alpha, Beta and Delta combined plus new ones that could make it the most infectious and jab-resistant variant ever  

* British scientists warn new variant has twice as many mutations as Delta 

* Experts think it will slash protection from Covid vaccines by 40 per cent 

* Health Secretary Sajid Javid last night announced travel from six countries 

The Botswana Covid variant, described by experts as the worst strain ever, has all the worrying mutations from previous versions of the virus, plus many more that could make it the most infectious and vaccine-resistant one so far. 

The super strain has acquired the mutations of Delta, which made that variant so transmissible that it became world-dominant in months. 

 And the new variant also includes the vaccine-resistant alterations seen on Beta — another strain of concern that emerged in South Africa and was thought to be best at escaping the immune system until now.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: In a nutshell. This variant is dangerous because it has evolved to have all of the worst mutations of Alpha, Beta and Delta combined plus new ones that could make it the most infectious and jab-resistant variant ever. 

 So when will we know if this is a threat that we should be concerned about? 

The people that I trust who are experts in this type of analysis are telling me that we will all know within a week or two.

Tonight's Movie Is The 'The Fourth Protocol'

 

From Wikipedia: The Fourth Protocol is a 1987 British Cold War spy film starring Michael Caine and Pierce Brosnan. Directed by John Mackenzie, it is based on the 1984 novel The Fourth Protocol by Frederick Forsyth (Read more).

Did WHO Skip The Next Greek Letter (Xi) In Naming The Latest COVID-19 Variant Omicron So As To Not Embarass The Chinese Leader?

WNU Editor: Jonathan Turley is onto something.

President Biden Was Against Travel Bans Before He Was For It

WNU Editor: The internet is forever. Hat tip to SmallDeadAnimals.

It Could Take Pfizer BioNTech Upwards Of 100 Days To Develop A New Vaccine To Combat The Omicron Covid-19 Variant

Zero Hedge: Pfizer CEO Warns New Vaccine To Combat Heavily-Mutated Coronavirus Could Take 100 Days  

Update (1008ET): Reuters reports BioNTech, Pfizer is expecting laboratory results of the recently discovered Nu variant in two weeks. 

"We understand the concern of experts and have immediately initiated investigations on variant B.1.1.529," BioNTech said.  

"We expect more data from the laboratory tests in two weeks at the latest. These data will provide more information about whether B.1.1.529 could be an escape variant that may require an adjustment of our vaccine if the variant spreads globally," it added. 

Reuters notes, "escape variants are virus versions that elude the targeted immune response brought about by vaccination." 

 Citi analyst Andrew Baum was the first to note that it could take Pfizer, BioNTech upwards of 100 days to develop a new vaccine to combat Nu. 

Pfizer and BioNTech confirmed the redesigned timeline of the new vaccine.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: A hundred days is an eternity in a pandemic. Add in production time, distribution, and setting up appointments. This 100 days could easily stretch 150 more days. 

On a more depressing note. In a worse case scenario .... expect lock-downs to return.

Omicron Variant: From Discovery To Global Panic In 48 Hours

Daily Mail: From discovery to global panic in 48 hours: How South African scientists' warnings about soaring cases of Covid super-mutant variant sparked frantic cabinet meeting and worldwide travel ban 

* B.1.1.529 was first discovered in Hong Kong on Monday when a patient travelled back from South Africa 

* The variant received international attention on Wednesday but dismissed as not an 'issue' by No10 

* A surge in cases in South Africa led to ministers and experts meeting on Thursday to discuss a response 

* Britain and Europe closed off their borders to Southern Africa today and experts mooted further lockdowns 

The world shut itself off from Southern Africa today in response to a super mutant variant that was unheard of just days ago. B.1.1.529 — which has now been named Omicron— was first picked up in Hong Kong on Monday in a patient who had travelled from South Africa. 

It did not catch international attention until Wednesday after a British scientists mentioned its 32 'horrific' mutations on social media after cases were picked up in Botswana and South Africa as well.  

Read more ....  

Update: New COVID-19 variant triggers global alarm as WHO urges caution (Reuters)  

WNU Editor: More information on this variant will become known in the coming days. But in the meantime everyone is expecting the worse .... EU States Agree to Suspend Travel to Southern Africa (Reuters).

U.S. Aays 'All Options' Are On The Table As Russia-Ukraine Tensions Rise

Troops transport trucks on a pontoon bridge across a river during joint military exercises held by Russia and Belarus in September.

Reuters: U.S. says 'all options' on the table over Russian troop build-up near Ukraine 

WASHINGTON, Nov 26 (Reuters) - All options are on the table in how to respond to Russia's 'large and unusual' troop build-up near Ukraine's border, and the NATO alliance will decide what the next move will be following consultations next week, the State Department's top U.S. diplomat for European affairs said on Friday. 

"As you can appreciate, all options are on the table and there's a toolkit that includes a whole range of options," Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried told reporters in a telephone briefing.

"It's now for the alliance to decide what are the next moves that NATO wants to take," she said, speaking ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Latvia and Sweden next week to attend NATO and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) meetings, where she said Moscow's "large and unusual" troop build up would be topping the agenda. 

Read more ....  

Update #1: US Preparing for Multiple Contingencies as Russia-Ukraine Tensions Rise (VOA)  

Update #2: How Far Would Biden Go to Defend Ukraine Against Russia? (Chronicle 42 News/NYT) 

WNU Editor: Here is a good read .... What's Behind The Russia-Ukraine War Fears -- And What Might Actually Happen? (RFE).

NATO Secretary General Warns Russia Of 'Costs' If It Moves On Ukraine

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (file photo)  

RFE: NATO, U.S. Repeat Warnings To Russia Of 'Costs' If It Escalates With Ukraine 

U.S. and NATO officials have issued fresh warnings of the possible consequences of any new Russian aggression against neighboring Ukraine, with Washington suggesting that "all options are on the table" if the alliance is forced to respond to an escalation by Moscow. 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on November 26 that Russia had assembled combat-ready troops, tanks, and heavy military equipment near its border with Ukraine and cautioned Moscow that any force against its neighbor would incur "costs."  

Read more ....  

Update #1: NATO chief warns Russia of ‘costs’ if it moves on Ukraine (AP) 

Update #2: NATO chief warns Russia on troop build-up (Reuters)  

WNU Editor: The NATO statement is here .... NATO Secretary General and Polish President address Belarus, Russian build-up near Ukraine (NATO).