F Rosa Rubicondior: Malevolent Designer News - Creationism's Divine Malevolence is Getting Better At Killing People

Saturday 14 January 2023

Malevolent Designer News - Creationism's Divine Malevolence is Getting Better At Killing People

The 'kraken' COVID variant XBB.1.5 is rising quickly in the US – here's what it could mean for the UK
Credit: peterschreiber.media/Shutterstock

As is entirely predictable from the Theory of Evolution, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has caused the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has mutated to produce an even more infectious version - a subvariant of the Omicron variant, given the variant name XBB.1.5 and nicknames 'kraken', under the suggested new protocol of naming significant variants after Greek mythological creatures instead of letters of the Greek alphabet..

This appears to have originated in the USA where a large number of people have resisted getting vaccinated due to the politically-motivated antivaxx campaign by the far right supporters of failed president, Donald Trump,. Trump declared the pandemic to be a hoax and COVID-19 to be a mild illness, early on in the pandemic, when he was out of his depth and panicking over how to cope with the emergency. Having acted out of spite and motivated by racism and a desire to expunge his achievements, Trump had stupidly dismantled the contingencies for just such a pandemic put in place by his hated African-American predecessor, Barak Obama.

Inhibited from doing so by his narcissistic personality disorder, Trump was then unable to admit he got it wrong and his cronies in the Repugnican Party and the evangelical white Christian sects set about campaigning against any measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, including establishing the QAnon cult to promulgate disinformation.

The upshot is a high degree of vaccine scepticism in the USA with a significant majority being vaccinated - a recipe for producing lots of new variants in the unvaccinated population which will then find a niche in the vaccinated population, if they can evade the antibodies.

But is this variant anything to be overly concerned about?

In the following article, reprinted from The Conversation under a Creative Commons licence, Dr. Grace C Roberts, a research fellow in virology at the University of Leeds, assesses the risks from this new variant for the world in general and the UK in particular. The article has been reformatted for stylistic consistency. The original can be read here.

The ‘kraken’ COVID variant XBB.1.5 is rising quickly in the US – here’s what it could mean for the UK

Grace C Roberts, University of Leeds

The heavily mutated omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was first detected in late 2021.

Due to the many mutations in the spike protein (a protein on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 that allows the virus to attach to our cells) omicron was able to quickly become the dominant SARS-CoV-2 variant. These mutations allowed it to bind to respiratory cells more tightly than previous variants, rendering it more infectious.

Owing to the dominance of omicron, thanks to these mutations, the past several months have seen the emergence of many subvariants of omicron (scientists have identified more than 650 to date).

The latest variant to worry health professionals and virologists alike is XBB.1.5, nicknamed “kraken” by a group of scientists that has been naming new variants after mythological creatures to make the virus’ evolution more accessible to the public. Here’s what we know about it.

XBB.1.5 is a derivative of the XBB variant of omicron. XBB was never designated as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization because data shows that, while XBB’s mutations enable it to evade our immune systems better than previous omicron subvariants, it doesn’t appear to be causing an increase in infection rates.

In addition to the mutations that XBB.1 has, XBB.1.5 also carries a mutation called S486P in the spike protein region. Preliminary laboratory studies, yet to be peer-reviewed, have shown that, similar to XBB.1, XBB.1.5 is less sensitive to antibodies acquired from vaccination than previous variants XBB and BQ1.1. So it’s very good at evading our immune response.

The same preprint showed that XBB.1.5 was able to bind to ACE2 (the receptor the virus uses to infect our cells) more strongly than these earlier variants. This is the characteristic that made the original omicron variant so infectious and so dominant.
Having first been detected in October 2022 in the US, XBB.1.5 has spread rapidly in the country and is now responsible for around 28% of all new infections. Elsewhere, XBB.1.5 has been detected in at least 23 countries, including the UK. But according to the most recent data, it accounts for only 4% of COVID infections in England.

Given what we’re seeing in the US, it’s likely that XBB.1.5 will become the dominant strain in the UK and Europe in time. But as there are always differences in populations (for example, vaccination rates and social behaviour) it’s hard to predict exactly how things will play out.
A woman at a bus station wearing a mask.
XBB.1.5 is rife in the US, but not in the UK and Europe at this stage.
So should we be worried?

Though some of XBB.1.5’s characteristics are concerning, the real-world infection data is not showing an overall increase in infections or deaths globally or in the US (where XBB.1.5. is rife) at present.

It’s too early to tell whether infections from XBB.1.5 are more severe than previous variants, however experts agree that there is no evidence at this stage that it poses any higher risk than variants that have come before it.

Experts also agree that vaccination will continue to protect against serious disease and death from XBB.1.5.
With a new variant, there’s always the risk it will affect clinically vulnerable people more severely. Older people and those with conditions that affect their immune systems mount weaker responses to COVID vaccines, so are less protected than the “healthy” population. This means variants that spread more easily or can better evade our immune system may be more likely to infect these people if they’re exposed.

So, while COVID continues to circulate, it’s best to take extra precautions when meeting vulnerable people such as wearing a mask, washing your hands thoroughly, ventilating the space that you are in (or even meeting outdoors), and not meeting them at all if you are ill.

The Conversation Grace C Roberts, Research Fellow in Virology, University of Leeds

Published by The Conversation.
Open access. (CC BY 4.0)
It almost goes without saying that for a Creationists to claim intelligent [sic] design at work with these new variants is a tacit admission that their beloved creator god is malevolently designing ways to ensure its virus continues to make people sick and die and to disrupt economies indiscriminately across the world. That Creationists prefer us to have this view of their god rather than accept the science of evolution by mutation and natural selection betrays a hidden political agenda behind Creationism that requites people to distrust science and be misinformed about it.

This is, of course, the stated aim of the Discovery Insitute's failed Wedge Strategy.

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