A puzzling, and worrying thing about these new variants is that they have no clear line of descent, eg. the new lineage in Manaus denoted P.1 “carries 17 unique amino acid changes, 3 deletions, and 4 synonymous mutations, and one 4nt insertion compared to the most closely related available non-P.1 sequence (EPI_ISL_722052)”. This is a common theme with all three new strains; we haven’t seen any of the intermediate steps, so where are they coming from? Chronically ill patients? A wild animal reservoir? Our own research? Somewhere we aren’t looking, obviously.
With only a small proportion of the world population having been infected so far, there is potential for the rate of evolution to increase several-fold.