Covid 19 CRISIS

calvinhobbes

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Our stupid isn’t always available in English. ;)
 

Dr_Grip

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Here's a nice twitter thread on why we should not worry about vaccine escape mutations - yet.

In another twitter thread I read that the reduction in antibody efficacy from recovered patients we see in the South Africa mutation is pretty much on the threshold the WHO uses as a trigger to update the influenza vaccine. While this is comparing apples with oranges, it shows us where we are: Still safe but it's time to get working on updates.
What does this mean in real-world terms? Pfizer and Moderna have a money printing machine on their hands. Not only will everyone need yearly or 24-monthly updates, many people who took AstraZeneca during the "get out of the pandemic rush" will line up for a mRNA protection booster as well.

But here's a private thought I had the other day. As you know, I am not an immunulogist. I am a philosopher and social scientist. So let me do some social science for you.
We've heard over and over that the "herd immunity" threshold for covid is around 70 to 80 percent, i.e. if that many people are vaccinated, the virus (even British super covid) will run out of hosts and the pandemic will end. Now, this assumes that a) covid infections are spread more or less equally across the populace, and that b) vaccination rate is more or less consistent across the populace, as well.
With the rise of the Brit mutation, there was talk whether one can bend that number downwards by vaccinating people in the worst-hit parts of a country first, which makes a huge difference in mathematical models.
But what if the opposite is true? What if a group of people is disproportionately high affected by covid and has an above-average quota of vaccine refusal at the same time?
We will find out soon, in Israel. As you all probably know, they are world-leading in covid vaccination, having already vaccinated 25% of their adult population. And they are seeing an impact, with infection rate (If I understand conflicting reports correctly, that's positive tests, not developing symptoms!) dropping by 60% two weeks after the first shot. Yet- two-third of infections in Israel are among the ultra-orthodax religious right, who also have a significantly lower vaccine uptake, even though I could not find a hard number on that. With the covid deniers in Europe and the US, I can easily see a similar problem cropping up, so it'll be interesting to see how that plays out...
 

Dr_Grip

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Update! We can really be grateful for Biotech startups like BioNtech, Moderna, and hopefully Novavax* and CureVac, for kicking Covid's ass.

Remember experts saying that "a coronavirus vaccine may not be possible"? With Merck, the second big pharma powerhouse after Sanofi/GSK declares their covid vaccines (plural!) a failure. This means that as long as J&J does not deliver, all working covid vaccines were developed by startups or in academia, while big pharma failed.

If I were big pharma, I'd be ordering books on agile ways of working right now.

*Novavax' candidate seems to be the fan favorite among immunologists, making it the Alex Chilton of covid vaccines.
 

Dr_Grip

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Interesting day today!

Moderna has some data on the South Africa variant and their vaccine:
[URL='https://www.statnews.com/2021/01/25/moderna-vaccine-less-effective-variant/' said:
Stat[/URL]]
In lab research that involved testing whether blood from people who had received the vaccine could still fend off different coronavirus variants, scientists found that there was a six-fold reduction in the vaccine’s neutralizing power against the variant, called B.1.351, than against earlier forms of the coronavirus, Moderna reported.
[...]
Moderna said that despite the reduction in neutralizing antibodies against B.1.351, the antibody levels generated by its vaccine “remain above levels that are expected to be protective.
[...]
“These lower titers [of antibodies against B.1.351] may suggest a potential risk of earlier waning of immunity to the new B.1.351 strains,” Moderna said.
Note that the six-fold reduction reported is down from the eight-fold or even ten-fold numbers in earlier experiments (South Africa, Bloom Lab). Also note that according to the tweets linked above, the antibody profile generated by Pfizer/BioNtech is largely identical to Moderna's, so this data should more or less directly translate to their shot.
 

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93Flareside

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93Flareside

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TLDR, sounds like after emergency people, medical, and older than 65 get it will the vaccine be offered at pharmacies. Hopefully. :|
 

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Oklahoma where climate change is false and you can get a permit to hunt Bigfoot. And the Republicans who did this will getaway with it and do something equally stupid soon.


TLDR, sounds like after emergency people, medical, and older than 65 get it will the vaccine be offered at pharmacies. Hopefully. :|

Interesting they are saying they won't do mass vaccination. I know at least two states that are toying with it NY and CO.

In Colorado were on to 70+ for vaccine and this weekend they will try mass injections. They plan on vaccinating 10,000 at the Rockies stadium parking lots.


My parents in NY are scheduled for their vaccination in late February at the convention center. Though they know people who have gotten theirs sooner rescheduling they don't want to mess with it. They also have drug stores and such but the fairgrounds and convention centers too.
 

93Flareside

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Interesting they are saying they won't do mass vaccination. I know at least two states that are toying with it NY and CO.

My guess is either fear of anti-vaxxers doing something stupid, or lack of resources to do such a thing.
 

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I hope they go mouth-nostril-arse with the swab and not the other way around.

This sounds like a varient to the game Man Person Woman Camera TV.
 

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Dr_Grip

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So, some more independent labs have confiremed that both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech are fully effective against the mutations. In fact they induce an immune response that reacts to the mutations in a way that is pretty close to Paul Hogan's "that's not a knife" moment in Crocodile Dundee.
 
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Momentum57

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Effective but making boosters to milk more money or because it's more likely that without to be reinfected. In Brazil reinfections are indeed behind the second outbreak as P1 is more infectious and more deadly... watch that spike.
 

Dr_Grip

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Effective but making boosters to milk more money or because it's more likely that without to be reinfected. In Brazil reinfections are indeed behind the second outbreak as P1 is more infectious and more deadly... watch that spike.
Moderna are exploring boosters as "a safety blanket", which I think is the smart thing to do, without "milk more money" cynicism. Pfizer/BioNTech even stated they don't see a need to explore boosters at this point in time. Experts like Mt. Sinai's Flo Krammer say vaccine induced immunity can take another tenfold hit from mutations without being compromised.

I've read a lot of discussions about that 70% herd immunity number for Manaus probably being bullshit and the real number of previously infected people being 40% tops... it's a lot more complicated that "reinfection! more deadly! etc!".
What we can assume as a given is that P1 (which is more or less identical to the South Africa variant) is a partial immune escape and the usual 35% more infectious. And mostly, with four(!) documented cases of death after re-infection worldwide, it is safe to assume that for people with a working immune system, reinfection, if it occurs, will be a harmless cold (see blog post linked above on B-cells).
In any case, with vaccine-induced immunity being several times stronger than natural immunity, the mutations all the more reason to get vaccinated.

But hey, good to have you and your cheerful attitude back! Trump is gone, we got vaccines that are A LOT more effective than anyone dared to hope for, and we got them earlier than anyone expected. None of your prophecies of impeding doom happened. Maybe it's time to get off the doom and gloom trip just a tiny bit?

EDIT: Also please, copy edit just a bit before hitting "submit" - "it's more likely that without to be reinfected" is not even a proper sentence.
 
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Momentum57

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Have you been vaccinated? Head count how many people have a covid vaccination? How about how many have the booster? Anyone care to say it's just a cold like Dr. Grip said in August and today? Everyone feeling like we shouldn't worry?

My opinion is just as valid as yours. I disagree with your assessment.
 

Dr_Grip

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This is not about opinions. This is about science. Hard facts.

These are the hard facts on vaccination and variants: https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeli...tion-against-the-new-variants-real-world-data
These are the hard facts on natural immunity and the variants: https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2021/01/19/memory-b-cells-infection-and-vaccination

Of course, science is advancing, and this is only what we know today. So what I believe today might be proven wrong tomorrow. But so far, it is not.

Did I ever say it's just a cold? No, I did not*. I said reinfection most likely only will have symptoms like a cold. You are making exactly the same mistake as in our earlier discussion by putting me into the Trumpist covid denial camp because you can't be bothered to even think about my point.

There is nothing in the NPR article I disagree with. It just does not support your fears.
Yes, we will need boosters at some point in time - scientists believe the timeframe will be three to five years, based on the mutation rate of other Coronaviruses. I even agree with Ravi Gupta's assessment that we won't be done with this in 2021, hopefully the so-called "first world" will be out of the worst, but the rest of the world and the first world's economy will feel the impact a lot longer.

Let's hear from Ravi Gupta himself:


*In fact I did, in January 2020, when we all thought this was a media scare like the Swine Flu. I wish I'd been right.

EDIT: I am a huge supporter of the "Zero Covid" initative, demanding hard lockdowns to get covid infection numbers to single digit per week per 100.000 wherever possible in order to improve quality of life and reduce chances for the virus to mutate while we spend all year vaccinating a billion people in North America and Europe alone.
I strongly believe "normalcy" with concerts, crowded bars, and going shopping free of fear will return sometime in Q3/Q4 2021, at least for North America and Europe. This is even more reason to play it safe in the meantime and not kill more people unneccessarily.


EDIT2: Insanely long "Tweetorial" by Flo Krammer on mutations and vaccines, containting the "tenfold" quote:

EDIT3: I'd like to point out that the assumption that "scientific knowledge" is only an "opinion" and an opinion to the contrary of it is "just as valid" has been popularized first be creationists attacking the theory of evolution and then by climate change deniers...
 
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Dr_Grip

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But now for something complelty different!

Via Flo Krammer's twitter as well, here's Nature's Kai Kupferschmidt on the reasoning for Germany not approving AstraZeneca for over-65s:
And that, friends, is bad science being called out.
 

Misrabelle

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Well, the NSW authorities have been testing at wastewater facilities, detecting fragments of virus, and issuing alerts to communities for testing.
But you can still shed virus while no longer being infectious.

Also, didn't look to see if it was mentioned, but the Pfizer vaccine now has full approval in Australia. Not emergency approval, as in most other countries. Still waiting on the Astra-Zenica vaccine, which most of the population will get.
First wave of jabs (the Pfizer vax) will be for the elderly, and frontline health workers.

The actual timeline for the roll-out still isn't clear. Some reports say mid-February, some say early-March. I say hurry the hell up!
 
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