The month of August is winding to a close. Here are a few updates on site activity. If you are interested, please read on after the fold. Otherwise, a new story will be along shortly.
As I write this, The Mighty Buzzard is in the process of rebuilding three of our Gentoo servers: lithium (our development server; hosts https://dev.soylentnews.org/), aluminum (our eventual replacement for beryllium which is our sole CentOS server), and magnesium (which is one of our two load balancers; the other is sodium). All rebuilds are in progress and happening in the background. The only user-noticeable impact should be a brief outage when the dev server reboots. That is anticipated to occur later tonight (EDT). Thanks Buzz!
[TMB Note]: It's just installing boring old OS updates. Nothing you guys actually use should be impacted in any way.
First off, it's my pleasure to welcome Subsentient back to editing duties on SoylentNews after a bit of a hiatus. We look forward to his contributions to the site! Also, it gives me great pleasure to announce that chromas just posted his 1,200th story! And with that accomplishment, it also marks his moving up to 9th place among our Most Active Authors on the site's Hall of Fame! Congratulations! That represents a great commitment of time and energy in support of SoylentNews. (Not to mention his systemd bot on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) which offers several commands that make our jobs as editors so much easier. Thanks chromas!
Folding@Home is a distributed computing project that leverages spare computing resources on participant's computers. The majority of those resources are now being applied to better understand the SARS‑CoV‑2 virus which causes COVID-19. The current statistics reveal over 25 million cases world-wide with over 850,000 deaths. Note that many survivors have reported experiencing long term, debilitating consequences. Also, there is not just one virus. It has been mutating as it spreads, so continued monitoring and analysis is required to keep on top of things.
Back to F@H, it is my pleasure to report that Runaway1956 is now at the top of our team's standings with 396,857,185 Credits and 11,702 Work Units completed. That makes him the 2,461th-highest, single contributor in the world. Thank-you so much for your efforts in helping to fight this terrible disease!
We are two months into the second half of the year. So far, we have netted $744.16 towards our goal of $3,500.00 for site expenses... that's 21.3% of what we need to pay for the servers, business fees and taxes, accountant, etc. For those who have subscribed, please accept my genuine and sincere thanks! It bears repeating that nobody at SoylentNews has ever received even one cent for their contributions to the site. All staff freely volunteer their spare time and energy to keep things running.
Many, many thanks to the community who supports SoylentNews by submitting and moderating comments. Thanks, especially, to those who have submitted stories. YOU are what makes SoylentNews happen.
It is a privilege to serve you. Thank you for supporting my efforts as Editor-in-Chief; I hope to continue to earn your trust in the days and years that lie ahead!
> Also, there is not just one virus. It has been mutating as it spreads
Frequent mutations in the envelope protein and are none-functional changes. This article says there are 6 strains [phys.org] which is silly. [virology.ws] Counter to that last link, the "S strain" arguably is since the spike protein became more flexible and that is a new biological property.
Second time today but carry on.
It should be pointed out that the G614 mutation may well have a significant impact on the virus [sciencemag.org].
Some of the newer mutations have double or more spikes.
That's being selected for because it's harder to infect humans than their natural hosts, bats.
So we have an experiment going on in terms of viruses investing resources into being individually more infectious versus less infectious but being able to produce more viruses.
The balance will change over time, and a vaccine will in some ways make matters worse. As viruses that can be defeated by the vaccine are killed off, more resistant ones will have less competition (it's not like people don't get infected with multiple strains of cold and flu viruses).
Then again, look at the current risk factors:
Here 88% of deaths are in old age homes, and would have died within a year anyway.
Since we've never had long term antibodies to any coronavirus (the 4 that cause colds repeatedly infect people over their lifetime), and unlike the flu, this is not a seasonal virus, I don't see much uptake for a vaccine that needs booster shots two or three times a year and that will have to be changed as the virus evolves, same as the flu.
I was thinking about this story [soylentnews.org]. A person who had been infected by SARS-CoV-2 was found to have been infected again. This was confirmed by comparing a full-sequence analysis from the original test sample and from a subsequent sample. They found differences in the composition of the virus in the two samples.
Whatever one wants to call it, there were mutations sufficient to allow re-infection. That was the point I was trying to make.
Antibodies are temporary and we simply don't know for certain that a copy of the virus with a different linage presents a different antigen profile. Only one of the recent spate of lab confirmed reinfections had a worse disease 2nd time and that could be the result of a larger infectious dose. What we do know for certain is that despite expected mutation due to replication errors, the genome of SARS-CoV2 remains stable.