So much data to put out that I got a little behind on the research, which just keeps getting cranked out. The state finally caught up with some of its processing delays today and we got a mammoth case dump. Lot of reinfections in the past three weeks, but I know that a huge percent of the cases currently being processed are breakthroughs. All I hear from people–readers, friends, business associates–is about fully vaxed and boostered people getting infected. So I think Omicron is far more transmissible, still haven’t seen a clear explanation of why, appears to be partly the method of entry into a cell.
I have been talking about this from the start of the epidemic. The immune system of almost everyone has encountered a seasonal coronavirus or two, and those encounters leave you with some level of B and T cell memory cells. A question has been whether those cells can help fight off CV-19. Early evidence suggested yes and then the research sort of tapered off. Here is a paper in Nature again finding that these memory cells do indeed react against CV-19. In particular the presence of nucleocapsid protein-homing T cells was associated with a lower risk of infection. The vaccine designers erred in only including spike protein. (Nature Article)
Two very well respected health researchers from the UK explain just how pathetic the “evidence” to support masking children in school is. (UK Story)
According to this study from Israel a booster was associated with lower risk of infection among health care workers, but median followup was around 40 days. Give it a few more weeks. (JAMA Paper)
This paper followed infected persons for twelve months, ascertaining antibody and B cell levels. While antibody levels declined, all had memory B cell responses at twelve months. (JID Study)
Professor Ioannidis’ latest work on infection fatality rates, showing a vanishingly low rate for all younger groups and adults. (Medrxiv Paper)
If you like to worry about the vaccines, here is something I don’t like to read, because I know something about the use of lipid nanoparticles for drug delivery. There has been a lot of uncertainty about pharmacokinetics–what happens to them in the body, how do they break down. So using them in the vaccines made me more nervous than the mRNA technology. Anyway, this study shows that the vaccines can induce more antibodies to polyethylene glycol, a component of the lipid particles. We develop antibodies to all kinds of foreign substances. Anyway, PEG antibodies aren’t necessarily a good thing to have lots of and their formation suggests that the lipids aren’t clearing all that fast. (Medrxiv Paper)
This paper compared rapid tests to PCR tests and found that they were pretty accurate, especially at lower cycle numbers, meaning the rapid antigen tests do a better job of only calling people who are infectious positive. (Medrxiv Paper)