Preparing for the COVID 19 Mutant
Posted by Lyall Small to the Covid 19 Update blog in response to commenter Critical Anlayzer and the Blogmaster to concerns about new strains of the virus.
I think that the difficulties that Barbados has been experiencing in dealing with the new clusters over the last 3 weeks or so is going to be very important in showing the way towards developing additional home grown or regional methods for combating the virus, especially since the cost of the new vaccines might be somewhat prohibitive and indeed that new mutant strains could make some of these vaccines ineffective.
I saw a report recently that the new English mutant of the virus is not only more infective than the older variant but was also likely to result in more deaths. In addition, there was a suggestion that the existing vaccines might not be effective against one or more of the new variants. If this is true we might have to take a new tack and use a new suite of methods to exclude and control that new strain when it gets here. If the effectiveness of vaccines is compromised other methods may have to be developed and used to control the virus.
High Relative Humidity has been claimed to be a low-level environmental deterrent to high infectivity levels of the virus. High temperatures has also been claimed as being a factor that operates in a similar manner. So too have been Sunlight (high UV levels) and consequential Vitamin D levels. I have not seen the research which has fully demonstrated these effects on the virus but the claims of the efficacy of these factors could be researched and the results incorporated into protocols for control of the spread of the virus in combination with the tried and true use of masks, social distancing, washing of hands and even exclusion.
The work that has started with the Electronic GPS bracelets on monitoring and control of the movement of visitors suggests to me that Government might be able to significantly reduce its overall Covid-19 quarantine costs by introducing a system where non-symptomatic locals who have been in contact with positive cases could be also fitted with these bracelets and be self-quarantined at home with regular visits by the Covid-units Doctors and Nurses instead of immediately being put in an expensive Government quarantine or isolation facility once they test positive for the virus.