Mobile Menu

Round-up: COVID-19 March 2021 (Part Two)

We have again summarised the latest news and research surrounding COVID-19 from the past fortnight.


At the time of writing, there have been:

  • 122,477,529 cases
  • 2,705,222 deaths
  • 98,733,751 recoveries


  • COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 is found to be associated with a significantly higher mortality rate. (Challen et al, 2021)
  • A new study has explored the within-host diversity and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 – two key determinants of variant spread. (Lythgoe et al, 2021)
  • Researchers have reported that B.1.1.7 is refractory to neutralisation by most monoclonal antibodies to the N-terminal domain of the spike protein. (Ho et al, 2021)
  • Using molecular dating tools and epidemiological simulations, researchers have estimated that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was likely circulating undetected for at most two months before the first human cases. (Pekar et al, 2021)
  • Scientists have learned that a lesser-studied region on the pandemic coronavirus is recognised by COVID-19 infection-fighting antibodies. (McCallum et al, 2021)
  • A recent analysis has suggested that B.1.1.7 is not only more transmissible than pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 variants but may also cause more severe illness. (Davies et al, 2021)
  • A modelling study has predicted that vaccination alone is unlikely to contain COVID-19 infections in the UK, but gradual reopening and high vaccine uptake could minimise future waves of infection. (Keeling et al, 2021)
  • Using proteomics, researchers have found evidence to suggest that vertical transmission from mother to foetus during pregnancy is possible. (Shamkov et al, 2021)
  • Results indicate that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine does not have at least 60% efficacy against mild-moderate COVID-19 due to the B.1.351 variant. (Phil et al, 2021)
  • Researchers have found that SARS-CoV-2 hijacks two key metabolic pathways to rapidly replicate in host cells. (Gewurz et al, 2021)
  • A recent paper has described a new SARS-CoV-2 lineage (501Y.V2) characterised by eight lineage-defining mutations in the spike protein. (Oliveria et al, 2021)

Other news

  • Several European countries have suspended the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine over fears of blood clots. Regulators, however, have stated that there is no evidence to suggest that this vaccine causes blood clots. (Wise, 2021)
  • A recent Wired article has emphasised the importance of obtaining more COVID-19 data on the LGBTQ+ community. (Lala Tanmoy Das, 2021)

Image credit: By starline – freepik

More on these topics

Coronavirus / covid-19 / Proteomics / Vaccine