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Covid News Daily: December 3
Safety and immunogenicity of seven COVID-19 vaccines as a third dose (booster).
A new study published in The Lancet reports on the safety and efficacy of seven different vaccines as a third dose (booster). The randomised trial administered booster shots 10-12 weeks following the normal two doses of AstraZeneca or Pfizer. 10-12 weeks. What this suggests is the normal two-dose vaccine regimen is expected to require boosting after just three months.
The sample size of the study was small, with only about 100 participants in each treatment group because the study design was monumentally convoluted:
18 sites were split into three groups (A, B, and C). Within each site group (A, B, or C), participants were randomly assigned to an experimental vaccine or control. Group A received NVX-CoV2373 (Novavax; hereafter referred to as NVX), a half dose of NVX, ChAd, or quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY)
control (1:1:1:1). Group B received BNT, VLA2001 (Valneva; hereafter referred to as VLA), a half dose of VLA, Ad26. COV2.S (Janssen; hereafter referred to as Ad26) or MenACWY (1:1:1:1:1). Group C received mRNA1273 (Moderna; hereafter referred to as m1273), CVnCov (CureVac; hereafter referred to as CVn), a half dose of BNT, or MenACWY (1:1:1:1). Participants and all investigatory staff were blinded to treatment allocation.
The study did not look at protection from Covid, only the production of IgG antibodies up to a month post-boost. It should come as no surprise that they found giving someone a booster spikes their blood IgG antibody levels for a few weeks; I do not know why the researchers felt the need to conduct this experiment. The question remains if boosters actually prevent the spread of Covid or provide lasting immunological protection to severe disease. This study has nothing to say on the matter. Of course, that won’t stop journalists at The Guardian lying about what it says:
Having a spike in blood serum IgG antibodies does not mean it “strengthens immunity” — the paper even says so itself.
As for the safety profile, I don’t really know how to parse their data, as it is intentionally confusing and mostly buried in appendices and supplementary data. I’ll let you read this paragraph and draw your own conclusions:
Up to 300,000 people facing heart-related illnesses due to post-pandemic stress disorder, warn physicians
Perhaps more of a sign of things to come than anything worth taking seriously at the moment, but a recent article was published in Evening Standard citing two physicians raising concerns over a potential rise in heart-related illness from post-pandemic stress disorder (PPSD). The article states:
Up to 300,000 people in the UK are facing heart-related illnesses due to post-pandemic stress disorder (PPSD), two London physicians have warned.
This could result in a 4.5 per cent rise in cardiovascular cases nationally because of the effects of PPSD, with those aged between 30 to 45 most at-risk, they claim.
The “physicians” cited in the article are Mark Rayner, a psychological therapist, and Tahir Hussain, a vascular surgeon, who are urging for health authorities to recognize PPSD as a legitimate disorder akin to PTSD, and as an explanation for the sudden rise in heart-related illnesses.
Trevor Noah questions the financial incentives of the vaccine manufacturers
Possible systematic miscategorisation of vaccine status raises concerns about claims of Covid-19 vaccination effectiveness
In follow-up to yesterday’s item about vaccine efficacy being a potential statistical artefact of misattributing deaths in the recently vaccinated to the unvaccinated, the Probability and Risk blog is back today with another doozy. They show that if you correct for the misattribution of recently vaccinated deaths as unvaccinated deaths by using a temporal offset, the vaccine efficacy in reducing the mortality rate of Covid disappears entirely:
I am inclined to think the entire ‘real world’ efficacy of vaccines was a statistical artefact stemming from the fact that people did not count as being vaccinated until 14-days post-vax. Whether it was intentional or not remains to be seen, but it must be corrected in all datasets proclaiming to show a strong vaccine effect at reducing Covid mortality. In addition, the Brownstone Institute just yesterday published a piece arguing that the highest quality data we have on vaccine mortality efficacy — the trials — showed no evidence that vaccines reduce mortality:
Simply put, the very best scientific evidence currently available to mankind does not support the widely held contention that COVID-19 vaccination using the Pfizer or Moderna brands lowers risk of death, at least over the first half-year after vaccination.
Omicron Variant May Have Picked up a Piece of Common-Cold Virus
As I covered yesterday, the genetic structure of Omicron is so distinct as to be incredulous. The prevailing theory in the mainstream right now is that it came from an immunocompromised patient (perhaps someone with HIV) where SARS-CoV-2 was able to radically evolve for hundreds of generations before being transmitted to someone else. A new study has now suggested that one such genetic sequence of Omicron may have been the result of recombination with human DNA or DNA from another virus, such as the common cold. More on that can be read here.
Just look how disparate Omicron (in red) is from any other variant of SARS-CoV-2:
Canada inks deals with Pfizer, Merck for COVID-19 antiviral drugs
The pharmaceutical tap keeps flowing in Canada. CTV reports:
Public Services and Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi said Ottawa has placed an initial order for one million of Pfizer’s antiviral pills, and 500,000 of Merck’s pills, with an option for 500,000 more.
The Pfizer drug, Paxlovid, is a protease inhibitor that targets the same enzyme as ivermectin. The inhibition of the protease enzyme prevents the virus from replicating, and helps the body fend off Covid. Merck’s drug, Molnupiravir, induces mutagenesis in SARS-CoV-2, causing the virus to mutate radically. It’s worth wondering if such a drug could cause, say, a radically altered variant?
Let me know in the comments if you came across any news today that you’d like to share.