HERD IMMUNITY AND REALITY

53-covid19

Politicians are not epidemiologists and neither is doctor Fauci. Viral infections are commonplace and for the most part are harmless. Coronavirus is by far the most common in the entire animal kingdom. Herd immunity will not be reached until more than 85% to 95% are fully immunized. Your webmaster, for example, has had a single dose of Pfizer so far with no prospect for a second dose.

The higher required immunity levels are driven by mutation as much as contagious rates which are likely going to be stressing the population perpetually. Global immunization rates are negligible as the need for over 20 billion doses are required.

COVID-19 is so serious it is has reduced life expectancy substantially around the world. WHO estimates are -1 to -3 years.

Coronaviruses are single strand positive sense RNA virus. As of 2020 there are 45 species recognized but I dispute using systemic classification for highly mutable viruses. Cladistics is also hard pressed.

The genome of coronaviruses span from 26 to 32 kilobases which is comparatively large. The surface of the virus is covered with club-like proteins which are highly variable. Coronaviruses were first discovered in 1930s.

The current COVID-19 plague is caused by a civet coronavirus which recombined with a bat coronavirus to create a novel new variant that is able to infect humans and cause serious disease. The recombination was random and unfortunate. After some 18 months from discovery, more than 4 million have died with millions more expected. WHO reports likely severely underestimate the true level of the pandemic.

The Wuhan strain has been identified as a new strain of Betacoronavirus from group 2B with approximately 70% genetic similarity to the SARS-CoV. It is well known that RNA viruses mutate rapidly.

A person infected with COVID-19 has a 89.7% chance of a fever, 67,7% change of a dry throat, 18.6% chance of dyspnea (breathing difficulty), 13.9% chance of a sore throat, 3.7% chance of diarrhea and a 4.1% chance of needing ventilator support. Older people are at higher risk for serious complications.

Transmission is airborne in vapor droplets. When infected droplets enter the nose, mouth or even the eye, the virus can gain a foothold and cause disease. Transmission seems to be worse indoors. As of September 2020 it was estimated that one infected person will, as a crude average, infect between two and three other people.

Early on there was a shortage of face masks to prevent infection. Many are using very poor quality masks which is why new infections are still present. Now that masks are readily available it calls into question why there are now 3 waves of infection. The successive waves suggest mutations that are more communicative are preset.

Dr Fauci did not believe successive waves of coronavirus is possible. Fact is that RNA viruses are generally rapidly mutating randomly. Eventually variations that can evade the immune system and spread more readily evolve and the unwise reopening simply led to more than 150,000 unnecessary American deaths. President Trump was also critical of Fauci and did not believe it would be much of a problem.

Since his nonsense there have been three successive waves and mostly likely with the most recent opening the delta variant will spread rapidly. The delta variant has already spread to all continents and it is twice as infective as the original serotype.

MUTATIONS GALORE

Coronaviruses mutate rapidly. Mutations galore have been discovered.

WHOPANGO LINEAGEDISCOVEREDTRANSMISSIBILITYVIRULENCEANTIGENICITY
indexCOVID-19China100%100%100%
alpha B.1.1.7 UK+43-130%+61% no change
betaB.1.351 South Afrika+20-113%no changeSignificant reduction in neutralisation by antibodies
gamaP.1Brazil+145-176%+50%Overall reduction in effective neutralisation
deltaB.1.617.2 India+115%Under investigationSlight reduction in effective neutralisation
epsilonB.1.429 US+19-24%Under investigationModerately decreased sensitivity to neutralising antibodies
etaB.1.525 NigeriaUnder investigationUnder investigationPossibly reduced neutralisation
kappaB.1.617.1 IndiaUnder investigationUnder investigationSlight reduction in effective neutralisation
iotaB.1.526US Under investigation Under investigation Under investigation
thetaP.3Brazil Under investigation Under investigation Under investigation
zetaP.2Brazil Under investigation Under investigation Under investigation
B.1.1.7 with E484KUK Under investigation Under investigation Significant reduction in neutralisation by antibodies
B.1.1.318Unclear
A.23.1

Currently in British Columbia, the Alpha and Gamma variants are the most common in the province. The number of cases of the Delta variant is relatively low, although the proportion of people who have tested positive for this variant is rising. Very few cases of the Beta variant are being detected.

The B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, B.1.427, and B.1.429 variants circulating in the United States are classified as variants of concern. Laboratory studies suggest specific monoclonal antibody treatments may be less effective for treating cases of COVID-19 caused by variants with the L452R or E484K substitution in the spike protein, the combination of K417N, E484K, and N501Y, or the combination of K417T, E484K, and N501Y substitutions in the spike protein.

It appears that of the main mutations, many additional mutations are emerging almost daily, Some of the new variants are very infectious and very harmful. Some concerns with the emerging mutations observed so far:

  • Increased transmissibility
  • Increased morbidity
  • Increased mortality
  • Ability to evade detection by diagnostic tests
  • Decreased susceptibility to antiviral drugs (if and when such drugs are available)
  • Decreased susceptibility to neutralizing antibodies, either therapeutic (e.g., convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibodies) or in laboratory experiments
  • Ability to evade natural immunity (e.g., causing reinfections)
  • Ability to infect vaccinated individuals
  • Increased risk of particular conditions such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome or long-haul COVID.
  • Increased affinity for particular demographic or clinical groups, such as children or immunocompromised individuals.

Many who survived the first wave of infections have reported being severely disabled from the damage caused by the virus. No reports are available for sequelae from the second wave. The damage to a person from the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be far worse than media are admitting. The likelihood of a lager number of disabled persons will be the result of the pandemic.

THREE WAVES AND COUNTING

From March 2020 when the first wave caused extensive layoffs, the repeated efforts to reopen the economy have resulted in successive waves of new infections. At present the slow reopening is stoking fears of a a fourth wave and already reports of higher infection rates have surfaced in areas that reopened. The summer is arriving and the risks are high due to multiple new variants of coronavirus in the populations. Reinfection is worrisome for many who may become harmed from COVID-19 before immunizations were available.

US AND CANADA IMMUNIZATION

In the US, three vaccines are now licensed and in the US they are reaching about 65% of the population being partially vaccinated while in Canada we are only about 4% due to the brual Harper cuts in 1990 that trashed industries galore in the nation. Tax cuts are coming back to bite with a vengeance as hospitals are overloaded. With the US reaching saturation large scale shipments to Canada are now available which should improved the national immunization rates. Many countries are vulnerable to mass infection rates which will cause extensive damage long term.

All of the vaccines are designed for B.1.1.7 (alpha) and the big questions can be answered. Moderna and Pfizer are mRNA class immunizations which require two injections spaced 21 days to achieve over 90% efficacy. The AstraZeneca immunization is a conventional single injection protocol. The question of immunity conferred from a single dose of Modern and/or Pfizer rises to above 85% after 3-4 weeks from the day of injection. It’s is not known what effect of a long delay for a second injection will have on overall resistance. Clinical studies of mixed immunization are being done to see if there is any advantage or disadvantage.

IMMUNIZATION PRODUCTDOSES NEEDEDEFFICACY
AstraZeneca (COVISHIELD)two, 3-36 weeks in phase 3 trials95%
Modernatwo, 3-4 weeks in phase 3 trials94.1%
Pfizertwo, 3-4 weeks in phase 3 trials 95%
Johnson and Johnsontwo, 3-4 weeks in phase 3 trials 64%
Novarax two, 3-4 weeks in phase 3 trials 55.4%
Sputnik V two, 3-4 weeks in phase 3 trials 96.1%
Sinopharm two, 3-4 weeks in phase 3 trials 79%

Originally only Moderna and Pfizer were two dose scheduled but clinical trial data from AstraZeneca show that all three require two injections to reach an adequate level of immunity. All of the immunizations are provisionally approved given the pandemic. Efficacy varies depending on the coronavirus serotype stressing a population. Clinical trials are ongoing to study the effect of mixed immunization products etc.

AstraZeneca has very rare side effects. This includes severe cases in unusual sites such as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and splanchnic vein thrombosis, as well as arterial thrombosis, concomitant with thrombocytopenia. The majority of these cases occurred within the first 3 weeks following vaccination. Some cases had a fatal outcome. Healthcare professionals should be alert to the signs and symptoms of thrombosis and thrombocytopenia. Vaccinated individuals should be instructed to seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or pain, or persistent abdominal pain following vaccination. Additionally, anyone with neurological symptoms after vaccination including sudden onset of severe headaches, persistent or worsening headaches, blurred vision, confusion or seizures, or who experiences unusual skin bruising or petechiae beyond the site of vaccination after a few days, should seek prompt medical attention

Reports my myocarditis with the Pfizer vaccine was suspected in Israel in younger males. The CDC has noted myocarditis and pericarditis with some requiring hospitalization with both Pfizer and Moderna. Problems seem to be related to the second dose but very few cases are known from 130 million fully vaccinated Americans. It appears that vascular disease is caused by the spike proteins on the virus itself and immunization seems to partially affect the target receptors which is the cause of vascular disease. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) has been identified which triggers mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production and glycolytic shift. Recovery is usually quick and complete.

Given the pervasive mutations it’s likely that new immunizations will be needed at least annually perpetually. A plant based meal plan is dramatically less risky as rice, potatoes and corn etc are largely free of problems.

REFERENCES

CDC Graduate Textbook on Epidemiology

GAME