Friday, 24 December 2021

Malevolent Designer News - Update on Omicron - SARS-CoV-2's Brilliant New Design

New Study Adds More Evidence for Omicron Immune Evasion | Columbia University Irving Medical Center

Creationist mode:

A new study by scientists from Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York and The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China has provided more evidence of the brilliance of Creationism's putative magic designer in the way it has modified its design of the SARS-CoV-2 virus so it can overcome the efforts of medical science to stop it killing people and making many more sick.

They have shown how the modifications it put in the Omicron (ο) variant help it evade the antibodies produced by the vaccines medical science produced. What the putative intelligent [sic] malevolence spotted was the slight flaw in the vaccines - they are all made by injecting the viral mRNA that produces the virus' spike proteins with which it prizes open a cell to gain entry. This means the antibodies produced in response to the spike proteins that the vaccines produce are specific for the spike proteins on the surface of the virus. This was a quick and easy solution to the immediate crisis caused by the virus but it has meant that the putative malevolence behind the virus only had to think of a way to modify the spike proteins so the antibodies wouldn't attach to them and deactivate them, while retaining their function in prizing open the cell.

It did this with about 30 modifications plus another 20 to other proteins, just to be on the safe-side.

Creationist mode:

At least that is what ID advocates would have to admit to, if they are honest and wish to maintain the childish belief in a magic designer of everything.

Science, on the other hand has a grown-up explanation - evolution by natural selection acting on a chance mutation that arose in a population with a low vaccine take-up. With every unvaccinated victim producing maybe a trillion new virus particles compared to maybe just a few million for a vaccinated victim, the billion to one chance mutation will arise far more frequently in a population where the vaccine take-up is low or non-existent. And this is why it is in our own interest in the developed world to ensure as many people in the third world are supplied with the vaccine as possible.

Some of these mutations may also make the virus more infectious in one or more of several ways:
  1. By gaining access to the cells of a victim more quickly and replicating more quickly in it.
  2. By providing a high viral load to be shed before symptoms arise and the victim realises they are infectious.
  3. By providing a high viral load for longer.
The important point here is that the mutations are much more likely to arise in an unvaccinated population because chance mutations happen without design or purpose; they merely exploit the environment in which they arise.

Once such a mutation arises, it will give the viruses with that mutation a very significant advantage in the competition for human resources so it will quickly replace earlier variants in the population, just as δ replaced α and α itself replaced the first version.

If the mutations also enable the new 'design' to evade the antibodies produced by the vaccines or by previous infections, then there will be additional resources available for the virus to exploit. A population with a high vaccine take-up will then be no barrier to a rapid spread of the virus even if the resulting infection is mild or asymptomatic (the latter of course increasing the rate of spread).

This is what we are now observing with the rapid spread of the ο variant in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, although the available evidence is that vaccinated people are able to cope batter with it.

The scientist's findings are made available in a peer-reviewed Nature briefing ahead of formal publication in Nature. The article will go through the normal checking, error correction and editorial process before formal publication. The press release from Columbia University accompanying this briefing explains how they conducted the research and summarises their findings:
A new study from Columbia researchers, in collaboration with scientists at the University of Hong Kong, adds more evidence that the omicron variant can evade the immune protection conferred by vaccines and natural infection and suggests the need for new vaccines and treatments that anticipate how the virus may soon evolve.

It is not too far-fetched to think that SARS-CoV-2 is now only a mutation or two away from being completely resistant to current antibodies, either the monoclonal antibodies used as therapies or the antibodies generated by vaccination or infection with previous variants.

The new results suggest that previously infected individuals and fully vaccinated individuals are at risk for infection with the omicron variant.

Even a third booster shot may not adequately protect against omicron infection, but of course it is advisable to get one, as you’ll still benefit from some immunity.

David D. Ho, M.D., Co-senior author
Director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center
Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. New York, USA.
The findings were published Dec. 23 in the journal Nature by David Ho, MD, director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and the Clyde’56 and Helen Wu Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

A striking feature of the omicron variant is the alarming number of changes in the virus’s spike protein that could pose a threat to the effectiveness of current vaccines and therapeutic antibodies.

Large drop in omicron neutralization by antibodies from vaccines.

The new study tested the ability of antibodies generated by vaccination to neutralize the omicron variant in laboratory assays that pitted antibodies against live viruses and against pseudoviruses constructed in the lab to mimic omicron.

Antibodies from people double-vaccinated with any of the four most widely used vaccines—Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson—were significantly less effective at neutralizing the omicron variant compared to the ancestral virus. Antibodies from previously infected individuals were even less likely to neutralize omicron.

Individuals who received a booster shot of either of the two mRNA vaccines are likely to be better protected, although even their antibodies exhibited diminished neutralizing activity against omicron.

The results are consistent with other neutralization studies, as well as early epidemiological data from South Africa and the U.K., which show efficacy of two doses of the vaccines against symptomatic disease is significantly reduced against the omicron variant.

Most monoclonal antibodies are unable to neutralize omicron

When administered early in the course of infection, monoclonal antibodies can prevent many individuals from developing severe COVID. But the new study suggests that all of the therapies currently in use and most in development are much less effective against omicron, if they work at all.

In neutralization studies with monoclonal antibodies, only one (Brii198 approved in China) maintained notable activity against omicron. A minor form of omicron is completely resistant to all antibodies in clinical use today. The authors note that omicron is now the most complete “escapee” from neutralization that scientists have seen.

In this study Ho’s lab also identified four new spike mutations in omicron that help the virus evade antibodies. This information should inform the design of new approaches to combat the new variant. Future directions

Ho suggests that scientists will need to develop vaccines and treatments that can better anticipate how the virus is evolving.
Perhaps we are fortunate that the &omicon; variant appears in early studies to produce a milder version of COVID-19, although caution needs to be exercised with these studies which are all based on a limited data set and only one month's experience of the new variant which is now rapidly replacing δ in most countries, having first been identified on November 24, in South Africa.

As with similar early studies, this work is based on in vitro measurements of the ability of doner serum containing antibodies to neutralize the virus but it doesn't address the secondary immune response - the mobilisation of killer T-lymphocytes to destroy infected cells before the virus can replicate in them. This line of defence is important in eliminating the virus from the victim's body and so reducing the duration of the illness and the period of infectivity. Earlier work with &delts; showed that immunity to α produced by the vaccines were effective in mobilising these T-cells against δ

How on earth the childish notion of intelligent design by an all-loving creator god can survive the corona virus pandemic beggars belief, especially when, as in the USA, the hardest-hit communities are those same religious fundamantalists who are, by and large, also Creationists. Imagine the intllectuzl summersaults needed to retain that childish superstition in the face of the blatantly obvious fact that any designer of this virus cannot possibly be described as all-loving or intelligent.

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