Saturday, August 07, 2021

Fully-vaccinated people who catch Delta Covid variant really may be JUST as infectious as the un-jabbed, Government figures suggest

Fully-vaccinated people who catch Covid really may be just as infectious as the un-jabbed, official data suggested today.

Public Health England say viral loads appear similar among people infected with the Delta variant in both groups, meaning, theoretically, they are equally contagious.

But health chiefs insisted the current crop of vaccines still cut the risk of catching the virus in the first place.

And the jabs – repeatedly proven to be life-savers – have kept tens of thousands out of hospital since they were first rolled out last December, Government statistics also show.

The PHE viral load data follows a huge row in the US, which saw health chiefs make a similar claim.

It prompted fury because the data – which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used to justify recommending vaccinated Americans wear masks again – wasn't published until days later.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has finally released the data that was behind its recent backtrack on mask recommendations for vaccinated Americans to wear masks in indoor places in COVID-19 hot spots.

In a report published on Friday, the federal health agency detailed a COVID-19 outbreak earlier this month in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, linked to the spread of the Indian 'Delta' variant.

Researchers found nearly three-quarters of the infections occurred in people who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with either of three shots approved in the U.S. for emergency use.

What's more, tests showed that immunized people carried about the same viral levels in their noses and throats as unvaccinated people did.

However, there were just four hospitalizations and no fatalities among the fully vaccinated group, showing that the vaccines are very effective against severe disease and death.

'The findings are troublesome,' Dr William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist and a professor of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told

'Frankly it's not what I would have expected. I would have frankly expected vaccinated people to have lower viral loads...That makes me uneasy and explains it's much more contagious than the original Covid virus.'

But experts today warned the PHE figures are not proof that double-jabbed people are just as infectious.

The claim was solely based on cycle threshold (Ct) scores, which attempt to quantify viral load – the amount of virus someone is infected with.

Infected people with lower viral loads are less likely to become ill and spread the virus, multiple studies have shown.

The Ct value represents the number of times a Covid sample has to be amplified before it is spotted by laboratory PCR tests.

A low score represents a high viral load because it was spotted easily.

But Ct values can vary over the course of infection and a single figure may not provide the most accurate picture.

And not every score can be compared accurately, especially if they are examined by different machines in different labs.

NHS Test and Trace data – published in the PHE report – showed daily average Ct values for unvaccinated people who caught the Delta strain was 17.8.


Meanwhile, it was only slightly higher for fully-vaccinated Brits (18).

Scores were also similar between the two groups for the Alpha variant, which triggered the second wave.

It is not clear how many people were involved in the study, nor how often they were tested. It also did not show rates for different age groups, which PHE admitted can skew average Ct values.

PHE said the findings show that while vaccines 'may reduce an individual's overall risk of becoming infected, once they are infected there is limited difference in viral load (and Ct values) between those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.

'Given they have similar Ct values, this suggests limited difference in infectiousness.'

It continued: 'This may have implications for people's infectiousness, whether they have been vaccinated or not.

'However, this is early exploratory analysis and further targeted studies are needed to confirm whether this is the case.'


The report follows similar findings by the CDC, which last week released figures showing unvaccinated and double-jabbed Americans had very similar viral loads.

The research led them to U-turn on mask advice and recommend fully- vaccinated Americans wear coverings indoors again.

Some scientists said the data was 'scary' and not what they 'would have expected'.

But Professor Stephen Evans, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, warned it is 'difficult to be sure of how Ct values translate into clinical infectiousness'.

He told MailOnline: 'The key problem is that a single Ct value may be taken at an unknown stage of infection.

'So we need to be sure that those vaccinated with two doses and those unvaccinated are at the same stage of infection.

'If we assume that, then yes, it would make it likely that both are equally infectious.

'Of course, remember that infection is notably less likely if you are vaccinated, especially two doses, than if you are unvaccinated. So, you are not comparing like with like.

'You are comparing people who are infected and the vaccinated group are much less likely to be infected.

'However, once they are infected, then they may be as likely to transmit infection based on the Ct values, but this depends on their having the PCR test at a similar stage of infection.'

Dr Muge Cevik, a virologist at the University of St Andrews, said: 'Even if viral load may be the same, vaccinated people who become infected are less likely to be infectious than unvaccinated.'

She said this was because jabs reduce 'virus shedding time' – how long someone is infected for – and symptomatic infection.

Meanwhile, the same PHE report showed twice as many doubled-jabbed people went to hospital with the virus (1,098) compared to people who hadn't had a single jab (491).

But this doesn't mean the vaccines don't work.

Instead, the figures are naturally skewed by the country's hugely successful roll-out, experts say.

More than 85 per cent of all over-50s in the country have had an injection, so were expected to make up a higher proportion.

Professor Evans said: 'If 100 per cent of people were vaccinated, and the virus was still circulating there would still be a relatively small number of infections, hospitalisations and deaths because no vaccine is 100 per cent effective.

'All the cases, hospitalisations and deaths would then obviously be in vaccinated people.

'It does not mean that the vaccines are ineffective, just that they are not 100 per cent effective.

Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said the figures 'show once again how important it is that we all come forward to receive both doses of the vaccine as soon as we are able to do so'.

She said: 'Vaccination is the best tool we have in keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe from the serious disease risk Covid can pose.

'However, we must also remember that the vaccines do not eliminate all risk: it is still possible to become unwell with Covid and infect others.

'It is still vital that we exercise caution, particularly while cases are high.

'Remember that meeting outdoors is safer than indoors, isolate if you are told to by NHS Test and Trace, and if you show symptoms stay home and get a PCR test as soon as possible. 'It is so important that we all continue to play our part.'


Why 'herd' immunity against Covid is looking close to impossible

Herd immunity against Covid is looking ever-increasingly impossible, scientists say.

Neither vaccines nor getting infected create a 'perfect' immune response, meaning carriers can still transmit the virus.

When enough people in a population are immune to a pathogen — meaning they are unable to catch and pass it on — herd immunity is achieved.

Countries are desperate to reach the elusive target because it would inevitably bring down infection levels, helping life return to normal. But various factors stand in the way of the target, researchers warn.

The main problem centres around immunity against the virus — either induced by previous infection or vaccines — being imperfect.

While rigorous analysis has proven vaccines slash the risk of infected people dying or being hospitalised, fully-jabbed people can still catch it and pass it on. And top experts say natural immunity may offer even less protection.

But scientists say this makes it even more important to get a vaccine because higher levels of immunity in the population still slow the spread — and jabs will protect tens of thousands of vulnerable people from dying in future waves.

The concept of herd immunity was first floated last March, when SARS-CoV-2 and its clever transmission tactics were shrouded in mystery.

No10's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance claimed the threshold could be hit if approximately 60 per cent of the country — or 40million people — had some level of protection.

His comments sparked huge controversy, with the Government — which had no life-saving vaccines at the time — accused of planning to let hundreds of thousands die to achieve the goal.

Ministers later back-tracked on any claims of purposely seeking immunity by letting people get naturally infected.

As the virus mutated to become more contagious, mathematicians recalculated the threshold for herd immunity and sprouted figures of up to 90 per cent.

This compares to the 95 per cent figure needed to combat the spread of measles and the 80 per cent for polio.

But Covid's true marker remains a wild guessing game, and some top experts now believe it is nigh-on impossible that it will ever be reached.

Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious diseases expert at the University of East Anglia, said immunity against SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes Covid — is likely to be short-lived.

Academics remain clueless over just how long either natural, or vaccine-induced, protection lasts because it's only been circulating in humans for 18 months.

HIV is still engulfed in mystery, 40 years after the Aids pandemic.

Scientists believe immunity will be short-lived because protection from other seasonal coronaviruses only lasts for around two years.

For this reason, even if the UK was to break past the barrier and reach herd immunity, it would likely only last a short period of time.

Instead, it will keep it at an endemic level — where a disease is regularly found among the population but is not harmful enough to impact on society.

Professor Hunter said the virus will circulate for centuries, based on the last two similar pandemics.

Natural immunity is also not 'solid', meaning even if it lasts a long time, some who have previously had it are still susceptible to catching it again.

And the fact vaccines are not as effective at blocking transmission, especially in the face of the extra-contagious Delta variant, make herd immunity an even harder challenge.

SAGE — the expert panel which has guided No10 through the pandemic — estimates two doses of either AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna's vaccine cut the risk of transmission by up to 45 per cent.

This means of 100 unvaccinated people who would theoretically pass on the virus, 55 of them would pass it on if they were double-jabbed.

Dr Adam Kucharski, an infectious disease expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and member of SAGE sub-committee Spi-M, said immunity will gradually build-up over time through a mix of natural infection and vaccines.

He told MailOnline: 'To reach herd immunity, there needs to be enough immunity to reduce R below one, even when everyone is back to normal social interactions.

'So the more transmissible the virus, or the less effective the vaccine in reducing transmission, the higher this threshold.

'Vaccines against measles are very effective, with long-lasting immunity. In contrast, flu vaccines don't reduce transmission as much, and the virus gradually evolves to reduce this effectiveness further.'

Dr Kucharski said it meant large flu outbreaks are still expected every winter, but that they eventually fizzle out as a result of natural immunity.

'Covid vaccines worked very well against the Alpha variant (which triggered Britain's devastating second wave in January),' he told MailOnline.

'It meant transmission of the Alpha variant declined dramatically as a result, but the characteristics of Delta have put us in a scenario closer to what we see with flu.'

But that doesn't mean getting vaccinated is pointless, the country's top researchers insist. Dr Alexander Corbishley, a population health researcher at Edinburgh University, told MailOnline: 'The vaccines are highly effective at reducing the risk of suffering severe Covid, meaning they save lives.'




Friday, August 06, 2021

Vaccines cut chance of being infected with delta variant by only half, UK study finds

People who are fully vaccinated with a two-dose coronavirus vaccine have a 50% to 60% reduced risk of being infected with the delta variant, even asymptomatically, compared with unvaccinated people, according to a new study conducted in England. 

The study examined nearly 100,000 people who took COVID-19 swab tests at home between June 24 and July 12. In that sample group, 527 people tested positive for the coronavirus and 254 of the samples were genetically analyzed; all of the sequenced samples turned out to be the highly transmissible delta variant.

Once the researchers adjusted for factors such as age, they found that people who received two vaccine doses were 49% as likely to test positive for the coronavirus, even without symptoms, compared with people who were unvaccinated and that vaccinated people were 59% less likely to test positive with symptoms.

The findings, which were posted as a preprint and haven't been peer-reviewed yet, are the newest results from Imperial College London's "Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission," or REACT-1, an ongoing coronavirus monitoring study. 

"These findings confirm our previous data showing that both doses of a vaccine offer good protection against getting infected," Paul Elliott, director of the REACT program from Imperial's School of Public Health, said in a statement. The researchers didn't untangle the effectiveness of specific vaccines. 

Their findings conflict with previous studies. For example, a study conducted by Public Health England found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic disease caused by the delta variant (people vaccinated were 88% less likely to develop symptomatic infection compared to people who were unvaccinated), compared with about 93% effective against the alpha variant, the previous dominant variant. That study found that the two-dose AstraZeneca vaccine was 60% effective against the delta variant, compared with 66% against the alpha variant, Live Science previously reported. 

Meanwhile, early data from Israel suggested that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 64% effective against symptomatic disease caused by the delta variant, and data from Canada found it was 87% effective against symptomatic disease, according to an internal presentation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But newer data from Israel found that the efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Delta slipped to 39% (but is still 88% effective against hospitalization and 91% protective against severe illness), according to CNBC.

The new study also found that vaccinated people had a smaller viral load on average, meaning they likely shed less virus and are less contagious than unvaccinated people. That result differs from other data that suggested the delta variant caused similar viral loads in the unvaccinated and in vaccinated people who test positive (so-called breakthrough cases), Live Science previously reported. 

"The delta variant is known to be highly infectious, and as a result, we can see from our data and others' that breakthrough infections are happening in fully vaccinated people," Steven Riley, a professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London, said in the statement. "We need to better understand how infectious fully vaccinated people who become infected are, as this will help to better predict the situation in the coming months, and our findings are contributing to a more comprehensive picture of this."

The researchers also found that the trends between infections and hospitalizations, which had weakened in the spring, were converging again, according to the statement. That could be due to the dominant variant switching from alpha to delta and more younger people, who may be less likely to be vaccinated, becoming hospitalized than before.

Young people ages 13 to 24 had the highest infection rate, and people 75 and older had the lowest infection rate. Roughly 50% of the infections occurred in people ages 5 to 24, even though they make up only a quarter of the population, Riley told Reuters. 

"Today's report shows the importance of taking personal responsibility by self-isolating if you are contact traced, getting tested if you have symptoms and wearing face coverings where appropriate," U.K. Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said in the statement. "I urge anyone who has yet to receive a vaccine to get jabbed and take up both doses — the vaccines are safe, and they are working."


Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Disease Expert Tells CNN: Most Masks Don't Really Work Against Coronavirus

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new Wuhan coronavirus guidance urging Americans to wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status.

"To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission," the CDC released on their website Tuesday. "Wearing a mask is most important if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. If this applies to you or your household, you might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area."

The guidance was a reversal from May when the CDC said vaccinated individuals no longer needed to wear a mask.

During a segment on CNN Monday afternoon, University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy Director Michael Osterholm said cloth or paper masks don't work to stop the spread of the disease.

This, of course, has been well known for over a year. Dr. Anthony Fauci told former Obama Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell that store-purchased masks do little to stop the spread of the disease.

"The typical mask you buy in the drug store is not really effective in keeping out virus, which is small enough to pass through the material. It might, however, provide some slight benefit in keep out gross droplets if someone coughs or sneezes on you. I do not recommend you wear a mask," Fauci wrote in an email on February 5, 2020.


Vaccine Mandates Are ‘What a Tyranny Would Do,’ Arizona Lawmaker Says

When it was announced that Laurel Hubbard, a male athlete who identifies as female, was selected to represent New Zealand on the women’s weightlifting team in the Olympic Games in Tokyo, it was considered by some to be a victory for the transgender movement and “the power of inclusion.” Others consider it unfair to both the sport and the athletes.

Anna Vanbellinghen, a female weightlifter from Belgium who hoped to qualify in the same event as Hubbard, made it clear that she “fully supports the transgender community.” However, she correctly pointed out that steroids—which give athletes unfair advantages—can have retained benefits even years after their use.

“So why is it still a question whether two decades, from puberty to the age of 35, with the hormonal system of a man also would give an advantage [in competing against women]?” she asked in a recent interview.

The International Olympic Committee ruled in 2015 that transgender athletes “who transition from male to female are eligible to compete in the female category” so long as their testosterone level has been below a certain threshold for at least 12 months.

At least two recent peer-reviewed studies challenge this rule. One published in the journal Sports Medicine found “the muscular advantage enjoyed by transgender women [men on estrogen] is only minimally reduced when testosterone is suppressed” for 12 months. A second review article found the male strength advantage to remain even after three years of testosterone suppression.

Even if the strength advantage could be eliminated, however, to reduce the definition of female human being to having a certain level of testosterone in your body for a certain amount of time completely ignores the scientific reality that genetics—not testosterone—is at the root of all that makes the two sexes different.

When males are allowed to compete in athletic leagues designed for females, they deprive female athletes of the opportunity to safe and fair participation in sports. As Vanbellinghen said, “Life-changing opportunities are missed for some athletes—medals and Olympic qualifications—and we are powerless.”

She is not alone. Female sports at all levels have been infiltrated by the transgender ideology. Here are just a few examples of how females have been harmed when forced to compete against males:

In track and field, male high school runner CeCe Telfer won three titles in the Northeast-10 Championships for women’s track, and received the “most outstanding track athlete” award.
In softball, male player Pat (Patrick) Cordova-Goff took one of 15 spots on his California high school women’s varsity softball team.

In basketball, a 50-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch, 230-pound man, Gabrielle (Robert) Ludwig, led the Mission College women’s basketball team to a national championship with the most rebounds.

In mixed martial arts, male fighter Fallon Fox shattered female fighter Tamikka Brents’ eye socket and gave her a concussion. Brents said she “never felt so overpowered in her life.”

In Connecticut’s state track and field championships, two male high school runners, Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, took first and second place in multiple events, beating out top high school girls from across the state. Yearwood was named Connecticut’s “athlete of the year.”

The simple truth is that males outperform females in regard to speed and strength due to inborn genetics and sex hormones. This has consistently been proven by long-term research on elite athletes when matched for training.

The sex hormone testosterone plays an important role in regulating bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, strength, and the production of red blood cells leading to higher circulating hemoglobin. This is particularly true during puberty.

After puberty, male circulating testosterone concentrations are 15 times greater than those of females at any age. The result is a clear male advantage in regard to muscle mass, strength and circulating hemoglobin levels even after adjusting for sex differences in height and weight.

Athletic differences are also due to genetics. Studies have identified more than 3,000 genes that are differentially expressed in male and female skeletal muscle. Obvious bone differences due to a combination of genetics and hormones even exist at birth; the average male is heavier and taller than the average female and this advantage continues, when controlled for stage of puberty, throughout life.

Genetics is why a male who self-identifies as female remains male, and giving estrogen to a male does not transform him into a female.

While it is true that a male using estrogen will lose muscle strength and impair other aspects of his physiology, he does not alter his genetics; he remains male at the cellular level in all body systems.

Similarly, a female who self-identifies as male remains female, and giving her testosterone does not transform her into a male. In terms of genetics, she remains female at the cellular level.

These inherent sex-based differences also mean that females are at higher risk of athletic injuries. For instance, stress fractures involving the long bones of the legs in runners are more frequent in females. Male athletes are far less susceptible due to their larger and denser bones.

Taken together, these discrepancies render females, on average, unable to compete effectively against males in power-based or endurance-based sports.

Science and common sense agree. When males are allowed to compete in athletic leagues designed for females, they deprive girls and women of the opportunity to safe and fair participation in sports.




Monday, August 02, 2021

Most recovered COVID-19 patients mount broad, durable immunity after coronavirus infection

Ending the COVID-19 pandemic will require long-lived immunity to SARS-CoV-2, wrote researchers who published a new study in the journal Cell on July 14, 2021.

‘To end the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to know how long immunity against SARS-CoV-2 will persist after infection and whether it will be sufficient to prevent new infections and severe disease in years to come, continued this study,’ which is excerpted below.

‘Identifying, in-depth, the adaptive immune components leading to recovery and modeling the trends of each response was enabled by the longitudinal sampling of a large number of COVID-19 patients.'

This new study shows that most convalescent COVID-19 patients mount durable antibodies, B cells, and T cells specific for SARS-CoV-2 up to 250 days. The kinetics of these responses provide an early indication for a favorable course ahead to achieve long-lived immunity. 

Because the cohort will be followed for 2–3 more years, they can build on these results to define the progression to long-lived immunity against this novel human coronavirus, which can guide rational responses when future virus outbreaks occur.

The hallmark of the initial immune defense against SARS-CoV-2 is the emergence of antibodies recognizing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, including the RBD and NTD components of the S1 subunit, during the early phase of viral replication. 

These antibodies are likely secreted from plasmablasts rapidly generated from B cells activated upon their first encounter with the pathogen spike antigen. 

The swift rise over the first month of infection, followed by a fast decline of the circulating spike IgG and IgA antibodies, is a consistent finding and likely explained by the disappearance of the short-lived plasmablasts. 

These events occur even sooner for the spike IgM and nucleocapsid antibodies.

Some antibodies that bind to specific epitopes on the spike RBD and NTD can block SARS-CoV-2 infection of respiratory epithelial cells by inhibiting the interactions of the viral spike with the ACE2 receptor.

Thus, as expected, the early rise and decline of antibodies neutralizing live SARS-CoV-2 were similar to the kinetics of antibodies binding the spike and RBD protein. 

The striking finding is the bi-phasic curve of the spike-specific binding and neutralizing antibody responses when analyzed with the power-law model, which provides a better fit for the antibody kinetics after the peak response.

This bi-phasic decline accords with other recently published observations on SARS-CoV-2 serological kinetics. 

With sampling data extended to 250 days, these researchers detected a slowing of the decay of these functional antibodies toward a plateau level, suggestive of the generation of longer-lived plasma cells and durable antibody responses. 

The importance of these observations is that following recovery, neutralizing antibodies may persist, albeit at low levels, and may act as the first line of defense against future encounters of SARS-CoV-2 and possibly related human coronaviruses.

Another interesting finding of this investigation is the remarkably stable antibody responses among the pre-pandemic and COVID-19 patients to the common human coronaviruses acquired in children and adults. 

These data are most consistent with the generation of long-lived plasma cells and refute the current notion that these antibody responses to human coronaviruses are short-lived. 

Moreover, the COVID-19 patients mounted increased IgG antibody responses to SARS-CoV-1, a related pathogen that none likely had experienced previous exposure to. 

This finding is consistent with the booster response of SARS-CoV-1 neutralizing antibodies that we recently observed following SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination.

Taken together, these results may have implications for a broader strategy for vaccines targeting multiple beta coronaviruses.  

The durable antibody responses in the COVID-19 recovery period are further substantiated by the ongoing rise in both the spike and RBD memory B cell responses after over 3–5 months before entering a plateau phase over 6–8 months. 

The persistence of RBD memory B cells has been noted.

These researchers presume this may be explained by sustained production of memory B cells in germinal centers of lymph nodes draining the respiratory tract in the early months, followed by the memory B cell redistribution into the circulation as the germinal centers begin to recede. 

Thus, the induction and maintenance of memory B cells and, over time, long-lived plasma cells will continue to furnish higher affinity antibodies if re-exposures occur.

In contrast to spike memory B cell kinetics, SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+, and CD8+ memory T cells each peak early, within the first month, but then slowly decline over the next 6–7 months. 

Central memory Th1-type CD4+ T cells dominate throughout the early infection and recovery period. 

However, the CD8+ T cells exhibit a predominant effector memory phenotype early that transitions to those effector memory cells re-expressing CD45RA, maintaining expression of antiviral cytokines and effector functions that have been shown to provide protective immunity against other viral pathogens. 

These researchers also provide clear evidence that the CD4+ T cells mount a broader antigen-specific response across the structural and accessory gene products. In contrast, the CD8+ T cells are predominantly nucleocapsid-specific, and spike-specific responses are substantially lower in frequency.

In summary, they wrote ‘Our study demonstrates the considerable immune heterogeneity in the generation of a potentially protective response against SARS-CoV-2, and by focusing on the dynamics and maintenance of B and T cell memory responses, we were able to identify features of these early cellular responses that can forecast the durability of a potentially effective antibody response.’

‘The ability to mount higher frequencies of RBD-specific memory IgG+ B cells early in infection was the best indicator for a durable RBD-specific IgG antibody and neutralizing antibody response.’

‘In addition, higher frequency CD4+ T cells were associated with stronger spike IgG and neutralizing antibody responses.’

‘However, the induction and peak response of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells occurs independently to these antibody responses.’

‘Interestingly, while it has been widely reported that age correlates with COVID-19 disease severity, we found that age and disease severity were independent co-variates associated with the magnitude of both SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ T cell and humoral SARS-CoV-2 immunity, but not with the magnitude of CD8+ T cell responses.’ 

‘In the case of T cells, whether the T cell differences are related to the frequencies or specificities of pre-existing coronavirus CD4+ and CD8+ T cell immunity will require additional future analysis.’

‘Overcoming the challenges to end the pandemic is accentuated by the recognition that SARS-CoV-2 can undergo rapid antigenic variation that may lower vaccine effectiveness in preventing new cases and progression to severe disease.’

‘Our findings show that most COVID-19 patients induce a wide-ranging immune defense against SARS-CoV-2 infection, encompassing antibodies and memory B cells recognizing both the RBD and other regions of the spike, broadly-specific and polyfunctional CD4+ T cells, and polyfunctional CD8+ T cells.’

‘The immune response to natural infection is likely to provide some degree of protective immunity even against SARS-CoV-2 variants because the CD4+ and CD8+ T cell epitopes will likely be conserved.’

‘Thus, vaccine induction of CD8+ T cells to more conserved antigens such as the nucleocapsid, rather than just to SARS-CoV-2 spike antigens, may add benefit to more rapid containment of infection as SARS-CoV-2 variants overtake the prevailing strains.’

Limitations of this study: This study evaluates COVID-19 patients only up to 8 months and requires models to estimate immune response half-lives after that. However, because this longitudinal study will extend beyond two years, these researchers can corroborate models with subsequent experimental data on the persistence of immune memory.

Sunday, August 01, 2021

A dose of COVID reality: Only 6,587 out of 164M fully-vaxxed Americans are hospitalized or die from 'breakthrough' cases

Only a tiny percentage of fully vaccinated Americans have contracted COVID-19, according to new data released on Friday - leading to accusations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scaremongering by issuing dire warnings about the Delta variant.

The Delta variant is sweeping the United States and causing a significant surge in cases. Mask mandates have been reintroduced in areas such as Los Angeles County, and the CDC on Tuesday recommended that all people resume wear masks indoors.

Yet on Friday it emerged that the risk for fully vaccinated people was incredibly small - leading a former White House coronavirus advisor to label the CDC's communication strategy a 'disaster.'

Only 6,587 - or 0.004 per cent - of the 163 million Americans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 had suffered serious 'breakthrough' infections as of Monday.

Of that total, 6,239 people were hospitalized and 1,263 died, according to the data.

Those numbers amount to 0.0038 percent and less than 0.0008 percent, respectively.

Admiral Brett Giroir, who served on Donald Trump's COVID taskforce, told Fox News on Friday that CDC Director Rochelle Walensky made a mistake in failing to disclose the full data until Friday.

'One thing that I think was a disaster is to come out with recommendations when you had the data but didn't disclose the data,' he said.

The CDC was criticized this week by politicians and scientists alike for updating the mask guidance without detailing the science behind it.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Washington Post that the move violated scientific norms.

'You don't, when you're a public health official, want to be saying, 'Trust us, we know, we can't tell you how,' Jamieson said.

'The scientific norm suggests that when you make a statement based on science, you show the science.

'And the second mistake is they do not appear to be candid about the extent to which breakthroughs are yielding hospitalizations.'

Kevin McCarthy, the most senior Republican in the House, was vocal in his condemnation of the CDC and the Biden administration, pouring scorn over their research and describing the mask u-turn as 'total hypocrisy'.

The CDC itself, in an internal document obtained by The Washington Post, admitted that there were 'communication challenges' fueled by cases in vaccinated people, including concerns from local health departments about whether coronavirus vaccines remain effective and a 'public convinced vaccines no longer work/booster doses needed.'

Giroir reiterated that the Delta variant will mainly affect unvaccinated Americans.

'Vaccinations are highly effective against death and hospitalizations. It's less effective about preventing infections - it doesn't create a force field around you.

'That's why you need to get the vaccine,' he said.

​​'Their messaging needs a lot of help. That's why I want to help transmit that message.'

On Thursday, Giroir warned Fox News viewers that if they were not vaccinated, they were very likely to get COVID because the Delta variant was so contagious.

He reminded viewers that it was as infectious as chickenpox and Ebola.

On Friday, he said: 'If vaccines stay where they are right now, from a public-health standpoint masking indoors is gonna have to be added to control this.

​'​And if people don't mask and they don't get vaccinated, then, unfortunately, governments are going to be put into the situation of considering lockdowns, which I think would be a disaster​.​

'Until everybody can get vaccinated, if you're in a high-risk circumstance, like being in an indoor party, it's a good idea to wear a mask.

'It will protect you and it will protect others from being infected by you.'


The vindication of AstraZeneca: A vaccine trashed by Macron, politicised by Europe but quietly saving lives across the world

Last week research scotched claims the Oxford vaccine posed a blood clot risk. But the mixed messaging has caused lasting distrust

A new study of more than one million Covid-19 vaccine recipients has concluded a rare blood clotting side effect is as likely to occur from a Pfizer jab as the much-maligned AstraZeneca vaccine.

In a paper pre-released in The Lancet, researchers from the UK, Spain and the Netherlands said both jabs have a "similar" incident rate of thrombosis.

"In this study we have found the safety profiles of ChAdOx1 (AstraZeneca) and BNT162b2 (Pfizer), an mRNA-based vaccine, to be broadly similar," the paper explained.

The study of Spanish patients also found blood clots are more common in people who test positive for Covid-19 than those who have received either jab.

While the paper is not yet peer reviewed, it is an alarming development that will put into question the narrative around the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia, where confidence in the jab plummeted earlier in the year following the reporting of fatal cases of blood clotting.

While Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has repeatedly stressed the benefits of the AstraZeneca jab outweigh the risks, there has been conflicting advice from other health authorities, notably Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young.

When Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged under 40s to seek advice on the AstraZeneca jab last month, Dr Young said she "genuinely did not understand" why Mr Morrison would make such an announcement.

"I do not want under-40s to get AstraZeneca," she stressed, saying there was minimal death in young Australians from Covid.

As cases of blood clotting arose earlier in the year, believed to be thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advised against under 60s receiving the AstraZeneca jab.

Weighing up the heightened risk with Delta outbreaks, ATAGI has since changed its advice, telling over 18s they can seek GP advice on the AstraZeneca.

Dame Sarah Gilbert, the vaccinologist who co-developed the AstraZeneca jab, told the publication she feared people are "too worried" after receiving mixed messages.

"I think the problem is the messaging around the vaccination, because if you’re telling people at some stage, ‘oh you shouldn’t have this vaccine, it’s probably not the best thing for you’ and then you want to change that message and say ‘oh, no we’ve changed our mind, it is good’, I think that makes it difficult for people who are considering whether to get vaccinated and when to get vaccinated," she said.