• Scientists are warning of a new coronavirus variant discovered by researchers in South Africa, called B.1.1.529. It has a very high number of mutations that may help it evade immunity. So far, 10 cases in three countries have been confirmed, starting with three in Botswana on 11 November, six in South Africa, starting 14 November, and one in Hong Kong on 13 November in a person traveling from South Africa. Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, warned that “incredibly high amount of spike mutations suggest this could be of real concern,” adding that it should “very, very much should be monitored due to that horrific spike profile.” Source

• Canada becomes the first country to grant full approval for the J & J single-dose coronavirus vaccine. Source

• The South China Morning Post reports that the 27-member WHO  Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens, which has been asked to recommend next steps for studies on the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, held its first meeting. Source

• The European Centre for Disease prevention and Control changes its recommendation for coronavirus boosters in people with immunocompromising conditions and older, frail people to considering them for all adults, prioritizing those over age 40, at least six months after primary vaccination. It also recommended face masks where physical distance is not possible and teleworking. The European Commission is expected to take boosters into account as part of possible changes to COVID-19 certificates later this week. Source

Return to the timeline