Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine creates TWICE as many antibodies as Pfizer's, study finds

Those who receive Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine produce twice the protective antibodies of those who receive the Pfizer vaccine, a new study suggests.

Researchers from East Limburg Hospital in Belgium compared antibody levels produced by both vaccines among about 1,600 hospital workers, finding that Moderna recipients produced 3,600 antibody units per milliliter while Pfizer recipients produced only 1,400.

While the findings may suggest that Moderna is more effective against Covid, scientists are still working to understand how antibodies contribute to protection - as Pfizer and Moderna have both proven very successful in preventing infections.

More research is needed to compare the vaccines and study how long immunity lasts, as the U.S. prepares to roll out booster shots in September.

The Covid vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have both proven to be very effective at protecting people against the virus. Both vaccines demonstrated over 90 percent efficacy in clinical trials.

Since the vaccines' roll out in the U.S., they've protected millions from severe Covid symptoms, hospitalization and death from the virus.

Out of over 170 million Americans fully vaccinated, just 11,000 have contracted a breakthrough infection leading to hospitalization or death. That's about 0.006 percent.

As the Indian 'Delta' variant drives case surges across the U.S., however, some scientists and leaders are concerned that these vaccines become less effective as time passes after vaccination. These concerns have led the federal government to announce a plan for booster shots starting in late September.

The study addresses vaccine efficacy concerns by examining the immune system's response to vaccination.

This study - published Monday in JAMA - is unique in that it's the first to directly compare antibody response resulting from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Antibodies are proteins in the body's immune system that recognize - and neutralize - foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria.

Scientists measure antibody levels by taking patients' blood samples, then introducing a specific foreign invader - such as the coronavirus spike protein - into the sample.

If a patient's immune system is prepared to respond to the invader, antibodies will multiply and trigger other immune system actions.

The Belgian researchers measured Covid antibody levels among about 1,600 healthcare workers at their healthcare facility.

All the healthcare workers had received two doses of an mRNA vaccine - about 700 received the Moderna vaccine and just under 1,000 received the Pfizer vaccine.

The researchers tested these workers' antibody levels before they were vaccinated and six to ten weeks after their second doses.

Those workers who received the Moderna vaccine had much higher antibody responses to the coronavirus spike protein than those who received Pfizer, the researchers found.

Moderna recipients had an average antibody titer of 3,800 units per milliliter, while Pfizer recipients had an average titer of 1,400 units per milliliter.

Antibody levels among the Moderna patients were 2.7 times higher.

The researchers suggested that this big difference may be a result of a longer wait time between doses for the Moderna vaccine (four weeks as opposed to three weeks for Pfizer), as well as a higher concentration of Covid mRNA in Moderna's vaccine.

While these results appear to suggest that Moderna recipients are better protected against Covid than those who got Pfizer's jabs, outside researchers have cautioned that antibody levels do not exactly correspond with protection.

'I would urge caution in making the conclusion that because Moderna demonstrated a slightly higher peak on average that its efficacy will be slower to wane,' David Benkeser, a biostatistician at Emory University, told Bloomberg. 'Such a conclusion requires a host of assumptions that have not yet been evaluated,' he said.

The researchers themselves acknowledge that more study is needed to determine the relationship between antibody levels and Covid protection - along with how long protection lasts.

Scientists also continue to evaluate the vaccines' ability to protect against Delta and other concerning variants.

'Still, it's possible that higher initial antibody levels might correlate with longer duration of protection against mild breakthrough infections,' Deborah Steensels, a microbiologist at East Limburg Hospital and lead author on the study, told Bloomberg.

'Also, if higher antibody levels are confirmed to be important, then the Moderna vaccine might be better for immunocompromised people who don't respond well to vaccines, she said.

This study follows other recent research that has suggested Moderna's vaccine may be more durable - and better at protecting recipients against breakthrough cases - than Pfizer's.

In addition to comparing the vaccines against each other, the researchers also compared antibody levels between those patients who did and did not have a prior COVID-19 infection.

A small number of healthcare workers in the study had previously faced Covid infection, including 22 percent of the Moderna group and 13 percent of the Pfizer group.

The researchers found that these previously infected workers had much higher antibody levels - about 9,500 units per milliliter, compared to 1,600 units per milliliter for those who weren't infected.

That's a six-fold difference. This finding suggests that, for people who both experience a Covid infection and get vaccinated, the infection may act as a natural booster shot - providing extra protection against future interactions with the coronavirus.


Corporate Social Justice Programs Don't Work

According to a new report from The Washington Post, America's corporations have committed "at least" $49.5 billion to the cause of "racial justice" since the George Floyd murder last year riveted our national attention on race.

This amounts to a little over $1,100 for every Black man, woman and child in America.

Or, from another perspective, about $16,500 for every Black household earning $25,000 or less.

But we're not talking about corporate America, despite their deep concern for racial justice, just simply giving black Americans cash. As much as they undoubtedly care about these Black citizens, they would never trust them to just take the money and spend properly.

These corporate executives nationwide have concluded that they can justify taking a huge chunk of their shareholders' funds -- an amount equal to the entire economy of the state of Alaska -- and spend it in a way that will produce more racial justice.

It is reasonable to ask why they believe they can achieve this.

It goes against all experience we have had with government.

The federal government has been spending trillions since the war on poverty began in the 1960s -- $20 trillion, by some estimates -- and the incidence of poverty over these years has hardly budged.

Apparently, these corporate executives feel they have some insight that has eluded politicians all these years.

A large percentage of these funds is earmarked for loans and investments in housing and business loans.

According to the report, $28 billion flows from a pledge by JPMorgan Chase to move 40,000 families into home ownership over the next five years.

But, again, special loans and grants to encourage minority home ownership are nothing new.

Government has been doing this for years, causing more damage than good.

Most should recall that we had a major financial crisis in our country in which we saw a collapse in financial markets in 2008 that was the worst since the Great Depression.

According to research at the American Enterprise Institute, this collapse was driven by the bursting of a highly inflated bubble in housing prices, the result of widespread deterioration in lending standards driven by government affordable housing goals and mandates.

Black citizens, who these government programs were designed to help, were disproportionately hurt when housing prices collapsed as a result of the plethora of bad loans.

The great mystery is why the principles that made and make our country great are nowhere to be found in the various ideas and programs being promoted with this vast sum of funds.

Why have so many in corporate America signed off on left-wing dogma that American principles -- principles of protection of life, of liberty, of property -- are the problem rather than the solution?

A healthy portion of American Blacks are doing very well because of these American principles.

Per the Census Bureau's recent annual report -- Income and Poverty in the United States, 2019 -- a larger percentage of Black households, 29.4%, were earning $75,000 or more than the percentage earning $25,000 or less, 28.7%.

Those left behind need liberation from government control of their lives. Less government-created ghettos from federal housing programs, more freedom from failing government schools and from broken government entitlement programs such as Social Security.

I started promoting the idea 25 years ago of releasing low-income earners from the Social Security payroll tax and allowing them to invest those funds in a personal retirement account. Back then, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 10,000. Today, it stands at 35,000.

The very naysayers I heard back then are the ones bleating today about unfairness and the wealth gap.

Rather than betraying the tradition of free enterprise capitalism that built corporate America, America's corporations should be promoting these values. This is the path to more prosperity, more justice, for all Americans.




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