Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Covidiot News - Why Vaccinated People are Doing Better Against the Delta Variant

Daily New Cases, (USA) [18-08-2021]

Antibodies elicited by COVID-19 vaccination effective against delta variant – Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

A paper published in the journal Immunity a couple of days ago shows what we've pretty much known for several weeks now - that the surge in the δ variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus now being seen in America, Europe and elsewhere, is being facilitated by having a large population of, as yet, unvaccinated people to exploit, and not because it can evade the antibodies in those who are fully vaccinated.

This is why the current surge in the USA looks like a deliberate, self-induced genocide of supporters of the GOP and it's covidiot allies in the evangelical Christian churches, the Trumpanzee cult and the victims of the shadowy, pro-Trump QAnon organization behind much of the disinformation and lies in the antivaxxer movement.

Just as we would expect, and as this paper confirms, the δ variant is not able to make much headway in the vaccinated population because it can't evade their antibodies, hence the proportion of new cases coming from the red states and counties in the USA vastly outnumbers those coming from the blue states and counties. At the start of this recent surge, 40% of all new cases were coming from just three red states, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana, all of which have had a low take-up of the vaccines.

The fact that delta has outcompeted other variants does not mean that it’s more resistant to our antibodies compared to other variants. The ability of a variant to spread is the sum of many factors. Resistance to antibodies is just one factor. Another one is how well the variant replicates. A variant that replicates better is likely to spread faster, independent of its ability to evade our immune response. So delta is surging, yes, but there’s no evidence that it is better at overcoming vaccine-induced immunity compared to other variants.

Jacco Boon, PhD, Co-senior author.
Associate professor of medicine.
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
The research team from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, tested a panel of antibodies generated in people in response to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and found that the δ variant was unable to evade all but one of them (the vaccines result in a spectrum of antibodies each of which targets a specific site on the virus spike protein). Other variants such a β did better, so the reason these variants have been less successful than δ is because they have a lower infectivity and/or replication success rate (but that could change in a future variant so it is essential to reduce the available population in which such a variant could arise by continuing the mitigation measures of face masks and social distancing as well as vaccinating).

From the Washington University School of Medicine news release:
In previous studies, co-senior author Ali Ellebedy, PhD, an associate professor of pathology & immunology, of medicine and of molecular microbiology, had shown that both natural infection and vaccination elicit lasting antibody production. But the length of the antibody response is only one aspect of protection. The breadth matters, too. An ideal antibody response includes a diverse set of antibodies with the flexibility to recognize many slightly different variants of the virus. Breadth confers resilience. Even if a few antibodies lose the ability to recognize a new variant, other antibodies in the arsenal should remain capable of neutralizing it...

The researchers tested the antibodies against four variants of concern: alpha, beta, gamma and delta. Twelve of the 13 recognized alpha and delta, eight recognized all four variants, and one failed to recognize any of the four variants.
Although this paper doesn't address this issue, it is apparent from the figures we are seeing here in the UK that people who have been vaccinated do much better against the δ variant than those who aren't, if they are unfortunate enough to still catch the virus. Consequently, our hospitalisations and death figures are only a fraction of what they were on similar figures in waves prior to the mass vaccination program. For example, last Wednesday (11 Aug, 2021) we had 29.612 new cases and just 838 hospital admissions and 104 deaths, compared to 2687 admissions and 1245 deaths with 29,079 new cases on 20 Jan, 2021 (early in the vaccination campaign).

Although some of those lower figures are undoubtedly due to the generally lower age profile of the recent victims compared to earlier ones, that can't be enough to account for a 12 fold reduction in deaths, and even so, the reason for that shift in age profile is because the mass vaccination campaign was specifically aimed at the older age-groups first, so it is the younger people who have not yet been vaccinated and for whom the take-up has been lower because they believed themselves to be a much reduced risk. And the lifting of most restrictions has meant that younger people, who tend to be more sociable, are at increased risk compared to earlier time in the pandemic.

All in all, it should be abundantly obvious by now that the science very strongly supports vaccinations and that those spreading disinformation about the vaccine, what it contains and what it causes, are causing the deaths of many thousands of those who are gullible enough to listen to them. The same people also tend to be those actively opposing mitigation measures such as social distancing and wearing face masks, so adding to the risks of catching this new variant.

Something has gone seriously wrong with American politics, under the influence of Talibangelical Christian extremists, when one of the two major political parties is knowingly co-operating in the systematic genocide of its supporters, believing that this will pay political dividends in the mid-terms and next presidential elections. A political party with policies that are resulting in the deaths of a large number of its supporters does not deserve to remain a serious political party.

Surely there is something in American federal or state laws which can prevent this mass killing by negligent misstatement or reckless endangerment, which can be brought to bear on those responsible for this effective genocide, including those like the odious failed president, Donald J. Trump, who stand to gain from it and who fail to speak up against it.

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