Why even with vaccines, COVID will always be with us

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The Seattle Times 09 May, 2021 - 06:36am 30 views

Public Health Watch: Military Study Suggests SARS-CoV-2 Immunity May Last Up to 1 Year in Some

Contagionlive.com 10 May, 2021 - 03:24am

That researchers are still trying to work out the durability of immunity gleaned from prior SARS-CoV-2 infection some 15 months into the pandemic is a testament to the dynamic nature of the virus (and all viruses), as opposed to any shortcomings of studies to date.

So far, we have heard that prior infection itself provides immunity lasting for anywhere from 3 to 6 months—maybe more, maybe less. The duration of protection offered by currently available vaccines is, at this point, anyone’s guess.

One of the more recent attempts to quantify and qualified the immunity derived from SARS-CoV-2 antibodies comes in the form of a pre-print authored by researchers from the Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Among active-duty service members in the US military with confirmed COVID-19, 95% (183/192) of outpatients and 100% of inpatients (58/58) remained seropositive at 6 months, and 9 of 11 outpatients and 8 of 8 inpatients remained seropositive at 12 months after symptom onset. For all patients in the study, anti-SARS-CoV-2 binding-Immunoglobulin G (IgG) responses had a half-life of >1000 days following symptom onset, according to the researchers.

Generally, neutralizing antibodies levels (geometric mean titer: 378 in inpatients vs 83 in outpatients) and durability (65 in inpatients vs 33 in outpatients) were based on COVID-19 severity, the researchers said. However, notably, older patients generally had both higher IgG binding and neutralizing antibody there were “no significant relationships” between antibody responses and COVID-19 clinical outcomes, they said. All instances of seroreversion occurring 6 to 12 months following symptom onset involved outpatient participants <65 years old (median age: 30 years).

Although the findings suggest that humoral responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection are robust on “longer time-scales,” even following milder disease, “the magnitude and durability of the antibody response after natural infection was lower and more variable in younger participants who did not require hospitalization for COVID-19,” according to the researchers, who would not comment on their work while it is being evaluated for peer-reviewed publication.

Given these findings, in their concluding remarks, they noted that they “support vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in all suitable populations, including those individuals that have recovered from natural infection.”

David O. Freedman, MD, Professor Emeritus of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, agreed, although he emphasized that the study involved “military population, so the young folks are very fit, active-duty people and the older folks are still a selected group who were more fit than most to get into the military in their younger days.”

Still, “either older age or how severe your initial infection was predicts how long and strong your immune response is,” Freedman told Contagion. “Younger patients [seem to] lose antibodies at 1 year, which speaks to the need for vaccination in this population.”

Is COVID-19 a new disease?

News-Medical.Net 10 May, 2021 - 03:24am

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Even given the unprecedented scientific scrutiny aimed at severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) since the beginning of the pandemic, the scientific community is only at the early stages of understanding the infectivity and transmissibility of the virus, the mechanisms behind the frequently observed acute respiratory manifestations in severe cases, and the associated lingering symptoms known as long COVID, the result of dysregulated immunomodulation. Some of the key points from the review are discussed below.

The coronavirus family contains several human pathogens, with SARS-CoV-2 being genetically similar to SARS-CoV, and slightly less so with MERS-CoV.

The mortality rate of SARS-CoV is almost 10% compared to the much lower rates reported for SARS-CoV-2, particularly once counting asymptomatic cases. However, there were only around 8,000 cases of SARS-CoV in 2003. MERS-CoV had a higher rate still, around one-third, though fortunately, there were only around 2,500 cases in 2012.

The much broader transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 is thought to be related to initial infection in the upper airways, with viral loads being observed to peak earlier than in the other coronaviruses.

There is a robust and long-term T-cell response to the SARS-CoV-2 challenge, and this has been shown to provide protective immunity from reinfection in most cases.

Antibody production is usually correlated to T-cell response, though an uncoupled response has been reported in COVID-19 as antibody response is strongly tied to disease severity, with mild or asymptomatic cases sometimes producing low or undetectable responses.

Cross-reactivity in T-cell response between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 has been demonstrated, with around 20-50% of the population additionally reportedly bearing pre-existing T-cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 related to exposure to common human coronaviruses, four of which are common colds, while antibody cross-reactivity is rare.

The authors advise caution regarding the commonly reported cytokine storm induced by COVID-19, stating that though an increased systemic response is not in question, it is in fact lower than that observed in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) induced by other causes.

Post-mortem studies of lungs have also found varying results and similarly raised cytokine levels are observed in influenza. The ACE2 receptor can also be more heavily expressed elsewhere in the body than the lungs, namely the small intestine and heart. Though studies have demonstrated that these organs are also affected, they do not bear potentially cytokine-related effects to nearly the same degree.

Severe COVID-19 is associated with many thrombotic events in the lungs, endothelial inflammation, pleural effusion, and pulmonary edema induced by an unusual phenomenon termed silent hypoxemia, where a patient has critically low oxygen pressure but appears to be in only mild respiratory discomfort. The reason for this condition is not yet entirely apparent, nor is the mechanism by which SARS-CoV-2 spreads from the upper to the lower respiratory tract, which tends to distinguish mild from severe COVID-19.

The authors describe two currently preferred theories: aspiration of virus particles released from the upper airway or direct infection of the lower respiratory tract via breathing.

In summing up, the authors declare that a new infectious profile is evident in SARS-CoV-2. Some older coronaviruses such as hCoV-229E or hCoV-NL63 (common colds) infect the upper airway and cause mild-to-moderate respiratory disease, while more highly pathogenic coronaviruses have previously been seen to settle further into the lower respiratory tract, resulting in more severe pneumonia and ARDS.

SARS-CoV-2 shares features of each of these subspecies, infecting the upper airways and then progressing into the lower tract and resulting in ARDS only in severe cases.

Compared to SARS-CoV or influenza, COVID-19 disease more frequently results in multi-organ failure and thromboembolic events, and endothelial and epithelial infection also dominates SARS-CoV-2 infections, rather than alveolar-centered infections.

COVID-19 patients also exhibit heightened but variable levels of proinflammatory cytokines for a more extended period of time than those infected with influenza, though levels are often lower than those seen in patients with non-COVID-related ARDS. A dysregulated host response is associated with viral load the severity of disease, and evidence suggests that it is poor response control by the host that leads to severe COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 appears to be associated with inducing this dysregulation and generates a unique and as yet poorly understood inflammatory profile.

Given the similarity of COVID induced ARDS to ARDS by other means, the authors deem many of the critical clinical responses employed for those with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection to have been appropriate, though also stress that COVID-19 should be considered a new entity with distinct pathophysiology and should be studied without preconceptions based on other diseases.

Future research prioritized by the group includes establishing the molecular basis for the lower pathogenicity observed in SARS-CoV-2 than SARS-CoV, and the development of precise predictive thresholds for disease progression.

Regarding severe COVID-19 and the development of long COVID, the role of pre-existing and acquired T-cell immunity in COVID-19 must be elucidated, and optimum anti-coagulative and immunomodulatory strategies must be developed to combat late-stage disease until better preventative measures can be put in place.

We forget that covid-19 is a new disease, never having been seen until late 2019, w/ different features than any prior illness. A truly outstanding review today on its pathophysiology https://t.co/8gx2w8r1xf @LancetRespirMed @osuchm and colleagues pic.twitter.com/WGIfI2nb9B

Posted in: Medical Research News | Medical Condition News | Disease/Infection News

Tags: ACE2, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Antibody, Breathing, Cell, Coronavirus, Coronavirus Disease COVID-19, Cytokine, Cytokines, Edema, Heart, Hypoxemia, Immunomodulatory, Inflammation, Influenza, Lungs, Medicine, MERS-CoV, Mortality, Oxygen, Pandemic, Pathophysiology, Pneumonia, Pulmonary Edema, Receptor, Research, Respiratory, Respiratory Disease, SARS, SARS-CoV-2, Severe Acute Respiratory, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Small Intestine, Stress, Syndrome, T-Cell, Virus

Michael graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a B.Sc. in Chemistry in 2014, where he majored in organic, inorganic, physical and analytical chemistry. He is currently completing a Ph.D. on the design and production of gold nanoparticles able to act as multimodal anticancer agents, being both drug delivery platforms and radiation dose enhancers.

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Greenwood, Michael. "Is COVID-19 a new disease?". News-Medical. 10 May 2021. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210509/Is-COVID-19-a-new-disease.aspx>.

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In light of World Asthma Day, News-Medical interviewed Dr. Samantha Walker from Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation about fighting asthma in 2021.

For World Asthma Day 2021, News-Medical interviews Krisnah Poinasamy from Asthma UK about smart inhalers and their benefits for improving asthma care.

In support of World Malaria Day, News-Medical spoke to Dr. Laurence Slutsker, an internationally recognized expert in malaria, about fighting this disease in 2021.

News-Medical.Net provides this medical information service in accordance with these terms and conditions. Please note that medical information found on this website is designed to support, not to replace the relationship between patient and physician/doctor and the medical advice they may provide.

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Combo COVID-flu vaccine protects against current and emerging variants in animal model

News-Medical.Net 10 May, 2021 - 03:24am

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The unprecedented development of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines over the past 12 months appears to be mitigating the COVID-19 epidemic in geographies where implementation has been successful. The rollout of over a dozen vaccines, with many more in the pipeline, has brought hope that the pandemic can be brought to an end and life can soon return to normal.

Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), such as lockdowns, mask-wearing, social distancing, and closure of non-essential institutions, have led to a temporary reduction in cases and deaths in most regions where they were applied. Along with the steep fall in COVID-19 cases, seasonal influenza has also shown a drastic decline during the pandemic.

However, as vaccine uptake becomes more robust globally, social and business interactions are bound to increase, and the flu will come back, say researchers. As antigenic drift occurs, new strains will emerge, including potentially novel strains. This could, perhaps, lead to a new pandemic of influenza.

Seasonal flu claims around 400,000 lives every year, on average, but four significant influenza pandemics have already occurred over the last century. The 1918-1919 H1N1 Spanish flu with 50 million deaths, 1957-1959 H2N2 Asian flu with 1.5 million deaths, 1968-1969 H3N2 Hong Kong flu with 1 million deaths, and 2009-2010 H1N1pdm09 swine flu with somewhere 150,000 to 575,000 deaths worldwide.

Now, in new research posted to the bioRxiv* preprint server, scientists at Novavax, Inc. present a vaccine including recombinant influenza hemagglutinin (HA) antigen along with recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, with saponin Matrix-M adjuvant. Both have passed independent safety tests in phase 1 trials.

Quadrivalent nanoparticle influenza vaccine (qNIV) has repeatedly been shown to elicit broadly protective immunity against older and newly emerging strains, probably due to highly conserved neutralizing epitopes in the HA stem domain and rudimentary esterase domain. Both hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) and microneutralizing (MN) antibodies have been elicited against both older and novel A and B strains of H3N2 and H1N1 viruses.

Earlier researchers employed a recombinant insect cell production platform for the generation of nanoparticles bearing the full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike stabilized in the prefusion conformation. These proteins are in the form of trimers that form rosettes by associating with polysorbate 80 (PS 80) micelles.

The antibodies elicited by this vaccine were protective against the Wuhan-Hu-1-like virus USA-WA1, as well as the UK (B.1.1.7) and South African (B.1.351) variants of SARS-CoV-2. When tested in mice and two monkey models, the vaccine prevented both upper and lower respiratory tract infections after exposure to this virus.

The vaccines' safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity have been established in many trials, showing it to induce a Th1-biased CD4+ T cell response.

Thus, both components of this vaccine have been individually tested for safety and efficacy.

In the current study, the qNIV and spike vaccine combination was shown to retain its protective capabilities against influenza A and B, via HAI and neutralizing antibodies, while also protecting against both upper and lower respiratory infection with SARS-CoV-2. The researchers took advantage of this unique pandemic situation coupled with the data from the qNIV vaccine trial to develop this novel combination.

While earlier vaccines were almost always intended for use in children, the current vaccine offers a low-risk pathway for approval since the influenza HA component has been shown to elicit protective levels of immunity, as well as the recombinant spike protein component.

In addition, the combination vaccine offers protection against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, which is an essential requirement in the current situation. Viruses like this one, with a ribonucleic acid (RNA) genome, are known to mutate rapidly and often, especially when faced with immune responses from host cells and organisms, and in the case of zoonoses like SARS-CoV-2, due to antigenic shift as well.

The South African variant of SARS-CoV-2 has shown adaptation to immune challenges by escape mutations which enabled recurrent outbreaks among a population group supposed to have achieved population immunity. The use of nanoparticle-based spike protein allows for cryptic epitopes to be exposed, taking advantage of epitopes conserved between this variant and the prototype strain.

This could include eliciting antibodies that are not obtained by natural infection.

The influenza vaccine also appeared to show poor efficacy on the field, as shown by the occurrence of several seasonal outbreaks of severe influenza mainly due to A(H3N2) strains. This is apparently due to differences in the antigens when generated in the egg-based vaccines, but also due to antigenic changes in the viruses.

However, the Matrix-M adjuvanted recombinant hemagglutinin (HA) trivalent nanoparticle influenza vaccine (tNIV) was recently shown to induce immunity to highly conserved epitopes with broad neutralizing capability.

The use of the full-length surface HA glycoprotein allows the wild-type circulating viral sequence to be retained while simultaneously allowing cryptic epitopes to be exposed to the immune system and thus elicit polyclonal broadly neutralizing antibodies.

Earlier studies showed that this formulation did improve the immune HAI response against A/H3N2 variants resulting from antigenic drift over several years, compared to the high-dose inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine (IIV3-HD).

Not only is the suppression of influenza likely to be transient, but co-infections of both influenza and SARS-CoV-2 will become more common. Influenza will often be overlooked due to the very similar symptoms of COVID-19.

Admitting that the outcome of such co-infections is unknown, it is urgent to prepare for this eventuality by a combination vaccine such as this. Not only does it obviate the need for separate vaccine logistics, but it protects against current and emerging strains of both viruses.

bioRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.

Posted in: Drug Trial News | Medical Research News | Disease/Infection News

Tags: Animal Model, Antibodies, Antigen, Asian Flu, CD4, Cell, Cell Production, Children, Coronavirus, Coronavirus Disease COVID-19, Efficacy, Flu, Genome, Glycoprotein, H1N1, H2N2, H3N2, Immune System, Immunization, Influenza, Nanoparticle, Nanoparticles, Pandemic, Protein, Research, Respiratory, Respiratory Tract Infections, Ribonucleic Acid, RNA, SARS, SARS-CoV-2, Severe Acute Respiratory, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Spike Protein, Swine Flu, Syndrome, Vaccine, Virus

Dr. Liji Thomas is an OB-GYN, who graduated from the Government Medical College, University of Calicut, Kerala, in 2001. Liji practiced as a full-time consultant in obstetrics/gynecology in a private hospital for a few years following her graduation. She has counseled hundreds of patients facing issues from pregnancy-related problems and infertility, and has been in charge of over 2,000 deliveries, striving always to achieve a normal delivery rather than operative.

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Thomas, Liji. "Combo COVID-flu vaccine protects against current and emerging variants in animal model". News-Medical. 10 May 2021. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210510/Combo-COVID-flu-vaccine-protects-against-current-and-emerging-variants-in-animal-model.aspx>.

Thomas, Liji. "Combo COVID-flu vaccine protects against current and emerging variants in animal model". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210510/Combo-COVID-flu-vaccine-protects-against-current-and-emerging-variants-in-animal-model.aspx. (accessed May 10, 2021).

Thomas, Liji. 2021. Combo COVID-flu vaccine protects against current and emerging variants in animal model. News-Medical, viewed 10 May 2021, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210510/Combo-COVID-flu-vaccine-protects-against-current-and-emerging-variants-in-animal-model.aspx.

In light of World Asthma Day, News-Medical interviewed Dr. Samantha Walker from Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation about fighting asthma in 2021.

For World Asthma Day 2021, News-Medical interviews Krisnah Poinasamy from Asthma UK about smart inhalers and their benefits for improving asthma care.

In support of World Malaria Day, News-Medical spoke to Dr. Laurence Slutsker, an internationally recognized expert in malaria, about fighting this disease in 2021.

News-Medical.Net provides this medical information service in accordance with these terms and conditions. Please note that medical information found on this website is designed to support, not to replace the relationship between patient and physician/doctor and the medical advice they may provide.

Owned and operated by AZoNetwork, © 2000-2021

What’s the Valneva COVID-19 vaccine, the French shot supposed to be ‘variant proof?'

Rappler 09 May, 2021 - 10:43pm

A COVID-19 vaccine from French company Valneva has yet to complete clinical trials. But it has caught the eye of governments in the UK, Europe, and Australia.

One of the vaccine’s main selling points is its apparent ability to mount a more general immune response against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, rather than rely on the spike protein to do this.

This means the vaccine is more likely to be effective against the type of virus variants we’ve already seen emerging, and may emerge in the future. Some reports describe it as “variant proof.”

The hope is vaccines using this technology would be able to provide protection for longer, rather than keep being reformulated to get ahead of these new variants.

Valneva’s vaccine, called VLA2001, is based on tried and tested vaccine technology. It’s the technology used in the vaccine against poliovirus and in some types of flu vaccines. And the company already has a commercially available Japanese encephalitis vaccine based on the same technology.

VLA2001 uses an inactivated version of the whole virus, which cannot replicate or cause disease. The virus is inactivated using a chemical called beta-propiolactone or BPL. This is widely used to inactivate other viruses for vaccines. It was even used to make experimental versions of vaccines against SARS-CoV, the virus that caused SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

This type of inactivation is expected to preserve the structure of the viral proteins, as they would occur in nature. This means the immune system will be presented with something similar to what occurs naturally, and mount a strong immune response.

After being inactivated, the vaccine would be highly purified. Then, an adjuvant (an immune stimulant) is added to induce a strong immune response.

VLA2001 isn’t the first inactivated vaccine against COVID-19. Leading COVID-19 inactivated vaccines, such as those developed by Sinopharm and Bharat Biotech, have been approved for use in China and received emergency approval in other countries, including India.

However, VLA2001 is the only COVID-19 vaccine candidate using whole inactivated virus in clinical trials in the UK and in mainland Europe.

This approach to vaccine development presents the immune system with all of the structural components of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, not just the spike protein, as many other COVID-19 vaccines do.

So Valneva’s vaccine is thought to produce a more broadly protective immune response. That is, antibodies and cells of the immune system are able to recognize and neutralize more pieces of the virus than just the spike protein.

As a result, Valneva’s vaccine could be more effective at tackling emerging COVID-19 virus variants and, if approved, play a useful role as a booster vaccine.

Valneva’s vaccine can be stored at standard cold-chain conditions (2-8℃) and is expected to be given as two shots.

According to the company, no safety concerns or serious adverse events were associated with VLA2001 in early-stage clinical trials.

VLA2001 was given as a low, medium, or high dose in these trials with all participants in the high-dose group generating antibodies to the virus spike protein.

One measure of immune response in the high-dose group after completing the two doses indicated antibody levels were, after two weeks, at least as high as those seen in patients naturally infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Interestingly, VLA2001 induced immune responses against a number of virus proteins (including the spike protein) across all participants, an encouraging sign the vaccine can provide broad protection against COVID-19.

The vaccine has since advanced to phase 3 clinical trials in the UK. The trial, which started in April 2021, will compare its safety and efficacy with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The phase 3 trial is expected to be completed by the northern hemisphere’s autumn this year. And if successful, would be submitted for regulatory approval after that.

Despite phase 3 clinical trials only just starting, the UK government has pre-ordered more than 100 million doses of the vaccine from Valneva, with the option of buying more down the track. If trials prove successful and pass regulatory approval, this means the vaccine could be used as a booster in time for this year’s northern hemisphere’s winter.

Australia has confirmed it’s also in talks with Valeneva about importing the vaccine. Some countries in Europe are also reportedly keen to strike a deal.

As new cases of COVID-19 increase globally, we’ll continue to see new viral variants emerge that threaten to escape the protection existing vaccines offer.

Already, we are seeing vaccines from companies such as Moderna and Novavax begin to reformulate their spike protein-based vaccines to get ahead of emerging variants.

So Valneva’s vaccine, with the potential to elicit a more broadly protective immune response, may prove to be a useful tool to combat the rise of the virus and its mutations. However, whether the vaccine is really “variant proof” or merely less affected by emerging variants remains to be seen. – The Conversation|Rappler.com

Adam Taylor is an Early Career Research Leader, Emerging Viruses, Inflammation and Therapeutics Group, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University.

This piece was originally published in The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

Country-wide COVID-19 vaccine study finds Pfizer provides 95% protection

New Atlas 09 May, 2021 - 09:10pm

As Israel faced a major surge of COVID-19 infections in December it began one of the biggest and fastest country-wide vaccination campaigns in the world. Almost exclusively deploying the Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccine the country had fully vaccinated over 70 percent of its adult population by early April.

"As the country with the highest proportion of its population vaccinated against COVID-19, Israel provides a unique real-world opportunity to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine and to observe wider effects of the vaccination programme on public health,” says Sharon Alroy-Preis, lead author on the new study from the Israel Ministry of Health.

The study reports a striking 95.3 percent protection from symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection seven days after a second vaccine dose. Protection against asymptomatic infection in fully vaccinated individuals was 91.5 percent.

The study also examined vaccine effectiveness after one dose finding 57.7 percent protection from infection 7 to 14 days after an initial Pfizer dose. This indicates one dose of this vaccine offers some protection but affirms previous data indicating two doses are crucial in generating effective immunity from disease.

“These data confirm the Pfizer mRNA vaccine provides very high protection from serious COVID19 disease and death – even in older more vulnerable people,” says Jonathan Ball, from the University of Nottingham. “Importantly, the study shows that two doses of the vaccine significantly increase levels of immunity and protection. This is why it is important that people get both doses.”

In late January Israel’s current wave peaked at more than 10,000 new cases a day. Three months later the country reported just 28 new cases on the May 8.

It is important to note Israel did not achieve this dramatic fall in cases through vaccination alone. The country was subject to major restrictions from late December, and a lockdown that lasted until early March.

However, the researchers do note the data indicates high vaccine coverage in certain age groups effectively corresponded with case reductions, pointing to vaccinations as the primary driver of this drop in SARS-CoV-2 infections.

“… even after reopenings occurred, SARS-CoV-2 incidence remained low, suggesting that high vaccine coverage might provide a sustainable path towards resuming normal activity,” the study concludes.

The study also notes the B.1.1.7 variant, commonly referred to as the UK variant, was most prevalent in the country across this period of time. This indicates the vaccine is effective against this variant, although the prominence of other variants was low so it is unclear whether these strong numbers hold up against other iterations of the virus.

"Until this point, no country in the world had described the national public health impact of a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign,” says Alroy-Preis. “These insights are hugely important because, while there are still some considerable challenges to overcome, they offer real hope that COVID-19 vaccination will eventually enable us to control the pandemic."

The new study was published in The Lancet.

Source: The Lancet

The human fingerprints all over the virus | The Conservative Woman

The Conservative Woman 09 May, 2021 - 07:17pm

COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers (and their allies in mainstream science and government) have so far failed to acknowledge evidence from adverse event reporting schemes that their products are killing and injuring thousands. They say that apart from ‘extremely rare’ allergic reactions – to which they have reluctantly added ‘extremely rare’ blood clotting disorders – there are no known mechanisms whereby such damage could be occurring.

That position was never tenable. The famous spike protein, which most of the vaccines introduce into the body as a means of countering the virus, is in itself a dangerous toxin. The reason it is so dangerous is similar to the reason why the virus itself is a threat to human beings: it has characteristics that enable it to bind to, and distort the action of, a wide range of human cells.

These characteristics almost certainly stem from it being a chimeric virus, originally native to Chinese bats but manipulated in the laboratory to test its capacity to change into a threat to humans.

Scientists hope that the vaccine, through challenging our immune systems by getting our body cells to manufacture small quantities of the protein, will protect against much greater damage from the virus. But the nature of the protein is such as to make it inherently risky, a risk that may be dangerously multiplied when vaccination coincides with a wave of infection, as in India recently.   

paper widely held to be the ‘smoking gun’ for ultimately bequeathing us Covid-19 was published in Nature in 2015 by US and Chinese researchers, who deliberately altered the spike protein of a bat coronavirus so that it could infect human cells. The work, mainly at the laboratory in Wuhan, China, from which many believe the virus to have accidentally escaped, was claimed to ‘underscore the potential threat of cross-species transmission’ of the virus. 

The researchers acknowledged that these so-called ‘gain of function’ experiments carried risks, writing: ‘The potential to prepare for and mitigate future outbreaks must be weighed against the risk of creating more dangerous pathogens.’ 

Also in 2015, a document written by Chinese scientists and public health officials discussed the weaponisation of such viruses, according to a report published on Saturday by Weekend Australian. It says the document is discussed in a book, What really happened in Wuhan, by The Australian investigations writer Sharri Markson, to be published by HarperCollins in September.

Entitled The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons, the paper is said to have predicted that World War Three would be fought with biological weapons. It describes SARS viruses as a ‘new era of genetic weapons’ which can be ‘artificially manipulated into an emerging human ­disease virus, then weaponised and unleashed in a way never seen before’. 

Despite the enormous importance to the world of getting to the truth of how Covid-19 originated, the scientific establishment has seemed desperate to deny the possibility that it was man-made.

In March last year Nature added an ‘Editors’ note’ to the ‘smoking gun’ paper, stating: ‘We are aware that this article is being used as the basis for unverified theories that the novel coronavirus causing Covid-19 was engineered. There is no evidence that this is true; scientists believe that an animal is the most likely source of the coronavirus.’

This is, to say the least, being economical with the truth, and may come to be seen as an extreme betrayal of science by a journal world-famous for its supposed reliability. 

More than a year ago, an Anglo-Norwegian team of scientists pointed to the 2015 Nature report findings as the most likely precursor of research which culminated in SARS-COV-2, the virus causing Covid-19. They emphasised that vaccine makers who failed to acknowledge its chimeric nature might unwittingly put the public at risk.   

British vaccines expert Angus Dalgliesh, a London University professor of oncology, co-authored with leading Norwegian researchers a paper that spells out in ruthless detail the sequence of laboratory events through which they claim the SARS-COV-2 spike protein arose. This understanding was reached through the team’s own work aimed at developing a safe candidate Covid vaccine. 

The paper is headed: ‘The evidence which suggests that this is no naturally evolved virus – A reconstructed aetiology of the SARS-COV-2 spike.’

After analysing the biochemistry of the spike, the team concludes that it has six inserts, ‘unique fingerprints . . . indicative of purposive manipulation’. It describes four linked published research projects ‘which, we suggest, show by deduction how, where, when and by whom the SARS-COV-2 spike acquired its special characteristics’.   

The authors write: ‘Since, regrettably, international access has not been allowed to the relevant laboratories or materials, since Chinese scientists who wished to share their knowledge have not been able to do so and indeed since it appears that preserved virus material and related information have been destroyed, we are compelled to apply deduction to the published scientific literature, informed by our own biochemical analyses. 

‘We refute pre-emptively objection that this methodology does not result in absolute proof by observing that to make such a statement is to misunderstand scientific logic. The longer the chain of causation of individual findings that is shown, especially converging from different disciplines, the greater the confidence in the whole.’

The researchers say that the four key ‘gain of function’ studies are linked in two ways: scientifically, in that the third and fourth build on the results of the first and second; and in the continuity of the institution and personnel across all four.

‘The Wuhan Institute of Virology is a key collaborator in all these projects and Dr Zheng-Li Shi is one of the institute’s most experienced virologists and bat specialists. She is a common thread through all the key research projects.’

The unique ‘fingerprints’ of manipulation which make what was once a bat virus so dangerous include the following:

A large part of the spike protein has high human similarity, ‘a built-in stealth property’ that also ‘implies a high risk for the development of severe adverse events/toxicity and even antibody-dependent enhancement’ [a problem in which a previous infection or vaccination increases rather than reduces the risk from subsequent infection]. Specific precautions would be needed when using the spike protein in any vaccine candidate, ‘precautions that might not suggest themselves to designers employing conventional methodologies and innocent assumptions about the target virus’.

The spike protein has inserts on its surface which greatly increase its ability to hook into, infect and harm a wide range of human cells. ‘Such a result is typically the objective of gain of function experiments to create chimeric viruses of high potency.’

The paper tracks in detail how these and other unique features of the virus came about, from work on bat and human viruses first reported in 2008 by Dr Zheng-Li Shi and Wuhan Institute of Virology colleagues, through collaboration with American researchers working with human epithelial cells, which are widespread throughout the body, and culminating in a virus capable of infecting human lung, taste, intestinal and other tissues.

Despite the eminence of its authors the paper has remained largely hidden from view, being published only on a Norwegian website.    

Its importance, however, is highlighted by a string of recent research findings which confirm that Covid-19 is much more than a simple respiratory infection, and that even without the virus, the spike protein can damage blood vessel linings (epithelial tissues), causing heart and circulatory disorders as well as respiratory disease and gut problems (see here and here and here and here and here). 

Despite millions seemingly receiving the vaccine safely, scientists and regulators may be failing to recognise deaths and injuries linked to this wide-ranging toxic potential of the spike protein that forms the basis of most of the jabs. The research findings add urgency to calls on the government and regulators to investigate numerous reports of vaccine-related deaths, especially in the elderly and care homes, and especially in the hours or days immediately following vaccination.  

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Revealed: Why some patients test positive for Covid-19 long after recovery

Free Press Journal 09 May, 2021 - 01:27pm

Researchers from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, showed that genetic sequences from the RNA virus SARS-CoV-2 can integrate into the genome of the host cell through a process called reverse transcription. These sections of the genome can then be "read" into RNAs, which could potentially be picked up by a PCR test. The results are published online 6 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"SARS-CoV-2 is not a retrovirus, which means it doesn't need reverse transcription for its replication," said first author Liguo Zhang, postdoctoral researcher at Whitehead Institute. "However, non-retroviral RNA virus sequences have been detected in the genomes of many vertebrate species, including humans." Zhang added.

They were able to calculate the fraction of genes that were transcribed in these patients' cells which contained viral sequences that could be derived from integrated viral copies.

The percentage varied from sample to sample, but for some, a relatively large fraction of viral transcripts seem to have been transcribed from viral genetic material integrated into the genome.

For SARS-CoV-2, the frequency of integration in humans is still unknown. "The fraction of cells which integrate could be very small," said Rudolf Jaenisch, professor of biology at MIT. "But even if it's rare, there are more than 140 million people who have been infected already, right?"Jaenisch said.

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