Saturday, 6 March 2021

Malevolent Designer News - The Pestilential Sadist is Hitting Back?

Physician assistant Philana Liang prepares a vial of COVID-19 vaccine on the Washington University Medical Campus. New research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found that new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 can evade antibodies that work against the original form of the virus that sparked the pandemic, potentially undermining the effectiveness of vaccines and antibody-based drugs now being used to prevent or treat COVID-19.
New evidence COVID-19 antibodies, vaccines less effective against variants – Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Let's pretend there really is an intelligent [sic] designer designing things like the SARS-CoV-2 virus currently killing people throughout the world, like Creationists claim.

In that fantasy, what we are seeing right now is this designer hitting back against the fantastic response of medical science in developing a vaccine against its invention in record time, by redesigning its pet virus to be able to survive attack from the anti-bodies these vaccines produce. The same modification also allows the virus to re-infect those it didn't kill first time round and whose immune systems did what they were intelligently designed by the same designer to do - and make antibodies to protect us from its other creations- viruses and bacteria that were designed to parasitise us. (Seriously! Creationists regard this sort of pointless arms race as evidence of high intelligence and perfection in design!)

The thing is, these antibodies all work by attacking the 'spike' proteins that are part of the virus' protein coat and which are an important part of its ability to break into a cell to infect it and produce more copies of itself. So, our putative intelligent [sic] designer has modified the gene that makes this spike protein so it is no longer recognised by the antibodies.

At least this is the preferred interpretation by the Creationist industry promulgated by the Discovery Institute, apparently oblivious of, or indifferent to, the fact that this makes their putative designer god look like a malevolent sadist and its religion look like the worship of a monstrous evil. Clearly, there is a political agenda at work here in which even the reputation of their god is being sacrificed, just as the evangelical Christians abandoned any pretence of moral superiority by supporting the odious Donald J. Trump.

Today we have news that a team of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA have shown that three new, fast-spreading variants of the virus that cause COVID-19 can evade antibodies that work against the original form of the virus that sparked the pandemic.
New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that three new, fast-spreading variants of the virus that cause COVID-19 can evade antibodies that work against the original form of the virus that sparked the pandemic. With few exceptions, whether such antibodies were produced in response to vaccination or natural infection, or were purified antibodies intended for use as drugs, the researchers found more antibody is needed to neutralize the new variants.

We’re concerned that people whom we’d expect to have a protective level of antibodies because they have had COVID-19 or been vaccinated against it, might not be protected against the new variants. There’s wide variation in how much antibody a person produces in response to vaccination or natural infection. Some people produce very high levels, and they would still likely be protected against the new, worrisome variants. But some people, especially older and immunocompromised people, may not make such high levels of antibodies. If the level of antibody needed for protection goes up tenfold, as our data indicate it does, they may not have enough. The concern is that the people who need protection the most are the ones least likely to have it...

We don’t exactly know what the consequences of these new variants are going to be yet. Antibodies are not the only measure of protection; other elements of the immune system may be able to compensate for increased resistance to antibodies. That’s going to be determined over time, epidemiologically, as we see what happens as these variants spread. Will we see reinfections? Will we see vaccines lose efficacy and drug resistance emerge? I hope not. But it’s clear that we will need to continually screen antibodies to make sure they’re still working as new variants arise and spread and potentially adjust our vaccine and antibody-treatment strategies.

Professor Michael S. Diamond, Lead author
Herbert S. Gasser Professor of Medicine
Division of Infectious Diseases
Washington University, St Louis
The findings, from laboratory-based experiments and published March 4 in Nature Medicine, suggest that COVID-19 drugs and vaccines developed thus far may become less effective as the new variants become dominant, as experts say they inevitably will. The researchers looked at variants from South Africa, the United Kingdom and Brazil.

“We’re concerned that people whom we’d expect to have a protective level of antibodies because they have had COVID-19 or been vaccinated against it, might not be protected against the new variants,” said senior author Michael S. Diamond, MD, PhD, the Herbert S. Gasser Professor of Medicine. “There’s wide variation in how much antibody a person produces in response to vaccination or natural infection. Some people produce very high levels, and they would still likely be protected against the new, worrisome variants. But some people, especially older and immunocompromised people, may not make such high levels of antibodies. If the level of antibody needed for protection goes up tenfold, as our data indicate it does, they may not have enough. The concern is that the people who need protection the most are the ones least likely to have it.”

The virus that causes COVID-19, known as SARS-CoV-2, uses a protein called spike to latch onto and get inside cells. People infected with SARS-CoV-2 generate the most protective antibodies against the spike protein.

Consequently, spike became the prime target for COVID-19 drug and vaccine developers. The three vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use in the U.S. — made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — all target spike. And potent anti-spike antibodies were selected for development into antibody-based drugs for COVID-19.

Viruses are always mutating, but for nearly a year the mutations that arose in SARS-CoV-2 did not threaten this spike-based strategy. Then, this winter, fast-spreading variants were detected in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil and elsewhere. Sparking concern, the new variants all carry multiple mutations in their spike genes, which could lessen the effectiveness of spike-targeted drugs and vaccines now being used to prevent or treat COVID-19. The most worrisome new variants were given the names of B.1.1.7 (from the U.K.), B.1.135 (South Africa) and B.1.1.248, also known as P.1 (Brazil).

[...]

The researchers tested the variants against antibodies in the blood of people who had recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection or were vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. They also tested antibodies in the blood of mice, hamsters and monkeys that had been vaccinated with an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, developed at Washington University School of Medicine, that can be given through the nose. The B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant could be neutralized with similar levels of antibodies as were needed to neutralize the original virus. But the other two variants required from 3.5 to 10 times as much antibody for neutralization.
So, here again is that challenge that creationists all seem to be avoiding like a large elephant turd in the room:

Explain why it is better to present your supposedly all-loving god as a malevolent, pestilential, genocidal, misanthropic monster who hates its creation, and who resembles a man who breeds kittens for the fun of setting light to them and watching them die in agony, rather than accept the scientifically demonstrable and preferential explanation - evolution by natural selection.








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