Friday, October 22, 2021

Are COVID-19 vaccines useful?

Mike Eades updated the current copy of the Arrow to include Alex Berenson's observation that the COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report Week 42 from the UK Health Security Agency (ie the UK Government, such as it is) details that the phenomenon of Original Antigenic Sin is clearly being demonstrated in the UK covid antibody data.

This concept is very simple and predicts that if you are exposed to a single antigen (here the spike protein derived from an mRNA vaccine) your immune system will prioritise a response to that single antigen in preference to other antigens when presented with a mixed antigen soup, as in the whole virus during a subsequent field infection.

So, in double vaccinated individuals you have preferential response to the spike protein over nucleocapsid protein as assessed by antibody titres. Page 23 if you want to have a look:

"recent observations from UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) surveillance data that N [nucleocapsid] antibody levels appear to be lower in individuals who acquire infection following 2 doses of vaccination."

ie the vaccine screws your immune response to nucleocapsid.


However the UKHSA only monitor anti-spike protein and anti-nucleocapsid antibodies because these allow us to distinguish between vaccine exposure and field infection. Obviously field infection triggers many more immune responses in addition to those against spike and nucleocapsid proteins, none of which need to be monitored to get this information.

As we vaccinate using the spike protein alone we will actively favour the survival of vaccine evading mutations. Boosters will speed this up.

So, are we all going to die?

I think not. UKHSA is monitoring antibodies. These are being surveyed in recovered patients.

"Recovered" is the word. 

Ultimately triple (and greater, eventually) vaccinated people, so long as the vaccine is spike protein based, will eventually end up behaving as though they are unable to even "see" the spike protein, their anti-spike antibodies will be present but will do nothing. Spike evasion will have happened and the selection pressure will no longer be present. Lots of anti-spike antibodies, no interaction with the spike, no further selection pressure.

Vaccinated people will have to run on non-spike immune response, which will still be broad and still work. It may not be as effective as in the non vaccinated, because the immune system prioritises large amounts of useless spike response, but most people will still survive (unless they have chosen to be a poorly controlled diabetic, diagnosed or in-situ of course) as they are doing currently.

In some ways I can see some use for the vaccine and the idea of vaccine passports.

Aside: Of course using vaccine passports for anything, especially to pauperise and exclude the unvaccinated, will come with a sh!tload of human rights violations in addition to the health problems automatically generated by pauperisation per se. This is morally reprehensible and unforgivable. It's happening now if you live in the wrong country. Don't you love politicians? End aside.

At the start of the pandemic certain groups of people were thrown under the bus as regards covid. These are people who do actual work. Supermarket checkout cashiers, bus drivers, garbage collectors, postal workers, truck drivers, construction workers. Others, like myself, were given several months leave on 80% of salary with a big garden during some of the sunniest Spring weather I can recall. So we "let the virus rip" through people who actually do jobs ("essential workers") and paid loafers like myself ££££ of my children's and probably grandchildren's money to stay at home and "avoid" the virus. For a while.

Now the vaccine is here and the virus is in reality being allowed to rip through the rest of society, including the laptop classes. Clearly vaccine passports will actively concentrate vaccinated people in to crowded places and so maximise transmission. The UKHSE report cited above also reports vaccinated people are a lot better at getting infected compared to the unvaccinated, interestingly enough. Provided these people do survive (and most will) then they will end up with a ton of useless anti-spike "immunity" plus enough real immunity to other components of the virus to survive future exposure to that virus. We need this.

That should be enough.


PS I can live without the human rights violations which seem to be endemic at the moment. Or should I say epidemic or pandemic???


Marco said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marco said...

I'm italian.
You are absolutely right.
And yes... I actually live in the wrong country.

cavenewt said...

After spending the morning reading that I'm doomed because of my N-thingies being compromised by vaccination, this is a breath of fresh air. I love the thinking outside the box about vaccine passports.

Prior to today I've been thinking I should do my darndest to get infected (my second Moderna shot was in May). Sooner rather than later might be a good idea, or not? It's a long drive to North Dakota to hang out in bars for a week.

Here's an example of the alternative take.

Ben said...

I would think antibody induced selection pressure would select for ADE variants over antibody avoidance variants.

To best find out if ADE is possible, you would want to have have a large population with similar, single antigen antibodies (something that induces original antigenic sin would be useful here), then exclude those problematic people with a broad spectrum of antibodies that may unselect ADE variants, then let them transmit to one another and see where natural selection takes us.

Unfortunately, I doubt we’ll ever see a clinical trial on this as it would probably be considered unethical.

LA_Bob said...

I found Peter's comments on this somewhat reassuring. It suggests there really could be an end to this nonsense, even if it takes two or three more years.

We'll finally get the long-sought herd immunity we might have seen had we followed something like Great Barrington. And without the tragedy of the lockdowns, mask mandates, and economic, social, and medical privations. Eventually, hospitalizations and deaths will stabilize at very low levels, and people will tire of the repeated vaccinations. Businesses will want to juice their customer, client, and employee bases, and the mandates will be increasingly ignored. Governments will look the other way because it will be good politics to do so. I think this will be most true in the USA because of the strong minority opposition to mandates.

Optimistic? Perhaps. But shrinking illnesses and deaths should replace fear with weariness. Politicians don't thrive on apathy for long. So they change the subject or allow the subject to be changed.

I've enjoyed Gabor Erdosi's Tweets on these subjects recently. Like Peter, he's pretty technical, and understanding for me is slow going sometimes. But, when I do gain some understanding (at least I think it's understanding), it's quite rewarding.

Peter said...

Hi Marco, I follow the truckers' protests in Italy but all we can really get in the UK is the MSM take on this. Is the Trieste protest doing anything or has it been suppressed?

cave, I might stick a post up about IgA. Obviously an injected vaccine should not prime the airway mucosal immune system for OAS. Given that this is your first line of defence why shouldn't you still make a whole virus immune response in your airway? I would suggest avoiding suppression of innate immunity might be a good idea but I would expect you to be chronically normoglycaemic as a routine... When I see OAS in airway secretory IgA I'll worry more.

Ben, I've expected ADE ever since we started using an untried vaccine world wide. I think it's real and I think it's probably happening right now. It will never affect everyone and you need lung histopathology to tell it apart from an "ordinary" overwhelming 'rona infection. Not a lot of that going on. I also ask myself: What is the selective advantage to the virus of a new strain which induces ADE? Will it be positively selected for if it facilitates rapid killing of its host?

Ben, I hope I'm correct. We are undoubtedly spreading the 'rona in the UK as fast as practically. We just need vaccinated, then infected/recovered people to have sterilising immunity in their airways. Plus many of the truly susceptible perished in the Twat Handcock debacle during spring of 2020 in care-homes (much as in New York). Folks can only die once. This will limit winter fatalities to those with particularly poor immune function, much as influenza has always selected. There will be a winter resurgence here and some of it will undoubtedly be 'rona. But we today already have lots of other bugs in circulation whereas last winter is was mostly the 'rona plus vaccine induced immunosuppression. Having my kids bring home minor colds from school is so nice. Other bugs will compete with 'rona.


LA_Bob said...

cavenewt, why go as far as North Dakota when Denver is so much closer?

There's always "Death & Co", a "Coloradan offshoot of the New York cocktail bar offering a sophisticated space for specialty drinks." Seems apropos for your ambition.

cavenewt said...

LA_Bob—looks a little rich for my blood, although I really like the dark connotation. It could be a pit stop on the way to North Dakota.

Malcolm said...

Just get on a plane to ... well, anywhere, seems like a good way to get exposure to it. I imagine there are plenty of cheap tickets available just now, and somebody with the virus on pretty much every flight?

cavenewt said...

I read an article somewhere that explained that some aircraft, not all but some specific makes at least, have pretty good ventilation and filtering, so that while it's not quite the same as being outdoors it might be the next best thing. Plus there's the danger of going unmasked on an airplane full of militant maskers. I still think North or South Dakota bars, possibly Montana, would be a good bet.

Hanging-out-in-bars comments are, of course, tongue in cheek. Going to the local grocery store maskless – we are in high tourist season here right now so there's a huge influx of people from all over the world — is probably just as good, though doubtless less entertaining. Less chance of hangover, anyway!

altavista said...

Only 2 jabs and 5 months ago? The height of irresponsibility cave :)

By cdc new definition you are unvaccinated already and your future hospital outcome will be counted in the right column.

This will further prove that vaccines work and Peter was wrong because hey...

Marco said...

Trieste protest has been suppressed with hydrants and tear gas on people basically doing nothing or sitting and praying.
Don't expect to see these things on the MSM.
Protest is growing in the major italian cities.
Government is showing its strength against families and peaceful people.
We need the green pass to work at the moment.
They are talking about mandatory COVID-19 vaccine on children.
It seems to me they're most likely looking for civil war.

Pierre said...

Excess mortality seems to be moving in the wrong direction if vaccinations are harmless.

cavenewt said...

Marco, this does appear to be the case. I only found one recent story in the New York Times about demonstrations: "Italy Puts in Force Tough New Law Requiring Workers to Test or Vaccinate
"The rollout went more or less smoothly, with only scattered protests, as the majority of citizens accepted the ‘Green Pass’ as a tolerable sacrifice to stem the Covid pandemic...Not everyone has been accepting of the requirements. Last weekend, a demonstration of 10,000 Green Pass opponents — a mix of vaccine skeptics, conspiracy theorists, anti-establishment types and workers livid about having to pay for frequent swabs — was hijacked by right-wing extremists and turned violent, prompting Italy to once again reckon with its fascist legacy...In the northeastern coastal city Trieste, one of Italy’s largest shipping and transport hubs, hundreds of port workers, a high percentage of whom were unvaccinated, gathered to block trucks. Their main objective was to get the government to pay for their swabs."

This story definitely downplays the unrest. In a DuckDuckGo search there weren't any major news outlets in the first page of hits.

The global virus panic has gone viral, and has triggered viral authoritarianism.

cavenewt said...

Chris Masterjohn has a pretty measured (at least to me) overview of studies comparing vaccination, natural immunity, and a combination.

Peter said...

Thanks Marco, there have been reports of the Trieste protest "turning violent". I'd sort of assumed this meant the police opened fire with tear gas and rubber bullets. I guess water canon is a routine adjunct.

The prospect of civil war is frightening as it applies throughout Europe. The Green Pass is coming for all of us. My problem, even if I'd only read a most basic immunology textbook, is that the Green Pass is utterly, totally scientifically stupid. But the people who wish to head governments appear to be utterly, totally morally bankrupt as well as scientifically ignorant. It seems a requirement for the job outside of Scandinavia and even there the Swedes were a bit lucky having a good constitution which was respected.

You have to wonder where it will end. Good luck in Italy. I hope we don't follow, though I think we will.


Peter said...

Pierre, yes. But from what? Vaccines, lockdowns, pauperisation, cancelled medical services, social upheaval?????????

cave, I struggle with listening to Chris somewhat but I would agree he is usually factually correct. Is your situation bad, in his opinion?


cavenewt said...

Peter, I didn't listen, I just read the article. I thought it was a pretty good overview of what he considered the more reliable studies comparing vaccination and natural immunity. As for whether my situation is bad? Nobody knows yet, and there hasn't been time for any studies, since the first vaccinations are only starting to lose efficacy. Personally I'm inclined toward not going out of my way to avoid possible infection. Low-carb smugness to the rescue!

There's always more to learn about the immune system, and now I'm starting to wonder what 10 years of immunoglobulin infusions (ending at the beginning of lockdowns) may have had. But largely I'm dispassionate about my own situation—it's more intellectual curiosity.

I've been reading a lot of different authors lately and tend to ignore the reactionary, political, or emotional aspects, and rather focus on whatever facts and reasonable speculations we can glean. Actually it was rather surprising to me to learn recently that Masterjohn is kind of an activist.

karl said...

Petro - you made me laugh so hard my coffee came out my nose..

but on to the vaccines/immune function.

I don't think this is ever going to be over - endemic - most likely. I think Bosche has this rather well pegged. Vaccinated may end up with later immune disorders.. There are several ways that 'over-vaccination' can cause problems - one of the reasons it really does take almost a decade to develop a safe and effective vaccine.

But - there is a large group that actually does not want to return to normal - ever. The shamming and virtue signaling they get to do is providing meaning to their empty lives.

Peter said...

Absolutely karl, endemicity is inevitable and the virus is here to stay. But it will become part of the normal winter respiratory virus milieu. As for the vaccine, it will eventually turn out to be as effective as all the previous coronavirus vaccines we've developed (jk). I have this lucky pebble I carry in my pocket to protect me against the 'rona. It's as effective as the vaccine.

cave, natural vs vaccine immunity is a non starter to me. What matters is whether vaccine failure and subsequent infection is good or bad, even in the short term, but mostly will it generate long acting effective immunity? Chris M has been antivax as long as I've read him. He has some good points. But not good enough for me to avoid vaccines in my kids as most of the vaccines are pretty safe and there may be consequences of being actively labelled as antivax on your medical record. I personally avoid our geriatric flu vaccs because a) they're crap b) they're aimed at last year's virus and c) they're pharma-hubris in a vial. I've survived last year's flu wave every year so far. If my immune system has packed up in the last year I doubt a 40-60% effective vaccine will save me. That 40% is *relative* risk reduction.


Ariadne R said...

I’m aiming for natural immunity, and the sooner the better—but it seems actually rather difficult to come by. In my area, approximately 1 in 5000 people tests positive every day. The CDC considers this a “high” rate of community transmission … hrmph. If I assume that each infected person has one day in which they have a sufficiently high viral load but are asymptomatic/pre-symptomatic and thus out in public and able to spread delta, that’s an awful lot of people I’d need to be around just to get one exposure (statistically anyway) … and I read in some article that for the unvaxxed only 1 in 13 exposures results in infection (no idea how they defined "exposure," however). Public transit seems like a good place to fish for covid, but at a 1/5000 infection rate, and assuming I’m exposed to an average of 20 people’s microbial exhalations per ride, I’d need 250 rides to get one exposure. Plus, the frontline workers and drug addicts (already at herd immunity??) and healthy young students who make up most of the ridership don’t seem all that likely to pass me the rona.

It seems like just hanging out in a bar a few times or riding a plane is unlikely to produce the desired results, but maybe the assumptions I’ve made above are way off?

… Tips on how to improve my odds are welcome ;-)

cavenewt said...

Peter—"What matters is [not?] whether vaccine failure and subsequent infection is good or bad, even in the short term, but mostly will it generate long acting effective immunity?"

Exactly what I'm wondering.

Ariadne R—Let's organize a road trip! A week in crowded North Dakota bars should up the odds.

Ariadne R said...

Cavenewt — A corona crawl ... a spike-spedition ... an antibody adventure! North Dakota does look like better odds, at around 1 in 1500 infected per day. I would actually consider this, though ND would be a little tricky to get to.

LA_Bob said...

cavenewt and Ariadne,

You're both crazy. Not because COVID bar-hopping sounds like the worst idea. But, because winter is coming. Who in hell wants to be in North Dakota during the winter?

I'd say, come to Los Angeles instead. Decent weather and plenty of sick people. Except that starting on my birthday in just over a week, you'll have to be "fully vaccinated" to go to those bars you yearn for.

Ariadne R said...

LA_Bob —

Haha! Yes, but from what I've heard, the only thing to do in places like North Dakota and Wisconsin and some others during the winter ... is drink. Which makes the bars prime spike sharing spots. I would stick out like a sore thumb in a bar in any case, so I wouldn't want to go alone, but with company it'd be "an experience." ... "Hey, let me tell you the story about the time I went bar-hopping in North Dakota ..."

The vaccine requirements (like in LA) and other restrictions are indeed a problem ... puts me in a bit of a Catch-22 ... I want to generate immunity so I don't contract this thing unexpectedly and spread it to some vulnerable person, but if I'm not allowed to mingle with people, how am I ever supposed to catch it?