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Covid-19 #30: Vaccines and All That JJAZ

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, JoannaL said:

I saw an interesting table about the distribution of the different variants in Germany. The  British mutant is now at 93%. What I found interesting:

At the beginning of January the distribution between variants  was  almost all wildtyp , 1-2 % South African and 2 % Britisch mutant. Now the British mutant has displaced the wild type, but the proportion of the south african mutant has not grown (2%). so I was thinking perhaps to have a more contagious variant can even be an advantage in the long run? It may keep other - less contagious but for other reason less favourable variants out (in case of the South African variant its less favourable because the vaccines do not work as well) ?

Unless that more contagious variant has more morbidity associated with it.  Also more contagious implies more chance for mutation, ie more variants.

Edited by Gareth

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Posted (edited)

This doesn't really fit here, but may not deserve a thread of its own.

A different Oxford vaccine is proving effective against Malaria, humanity's biggest killer. 77% effective in children!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/23/oxford-malaria-vaccine-proves-highly-effective-in-burkina-faso-trial
 

Obviously small scale trial so far - but if it can be repeated in larger trials, this is massive

Edited by Which Tyler

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5 hours ago, Leap said:

The US did a similar study earlier and found that the mRNA vaccines are actually slightly better than that:

Quote

 

A single dose of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine was 80% effective in preventing coronavirus infections, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of vaccinated health-care workers.

The effectiveness of partial immunization was seen two weeks after the first dose, according to the CDC, which looked at nearly 4,000 health-care personnel, first responders and front-line workers between Dec. 14 and March 13. The health-care personnel and other essential workers in the study, which was published Monday, had no previous laboratory documentation of Covid-19 infection.

 

It looks like the UK study is averaging the Pfizer and AZ (probably with a strong lean towards AZ since they have more of it) to get the 65%. If we knew that Pfizer and Moderna were 80% effective after one shot before April, the strategy for rolling out vaccines might have been different -- we might have done what New Hampshire did and just given everyone one dose as soon as possible rather than chase that additional 10-15%. However, now that the vaccination rate in the US is constrained by demand rather than supply, that argument is moot.

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5 minutes ago, Altherion said:

The US did a similar study earlier and found that the mRNA vaccines are actually slightly better than that:

Also an issue with time frames - That recent UK study was after 3 weeks; yet Pfizer doesn't plateau effectiveness until week 5; whilst AZ is still increasing into week 6 - in terms of preventing disease; unknown, but reasonable to expect similar for preventing transmission of disease

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13 minutes ago, Altherion said:

The US did a similar study earlier and found that the mRNA vaccines are actually slightly better than that:

It looks like the UK study is averaging the Pfizer and AZ (probably with a strong lean towards AZ since they have more of it) to get the 65%.

Nope. They actually specifically say 'there was no evidence of any difference in effectiveness between the Pfizer-Biontech and Astrazeneca-Oxford vaccines'. It also mentions the US study of healthcare workers, it was a much smaller sample and the confidence interval was 59%-90% so I'm not sure it's actually saying much that the results differ a bit.

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40 minutes ago, ljkeane said:

Nope. They actually specifically say 'there was no evidence of any difference in effectiveness between the Pfizer-Biontech and Astrazeneca-Oxford vaccines'. It also mentions the US study of healthcare workers, it was a much smaller sample and the confidence interval was 59%-90% so I'm not sure it's actually saying much that the results differ a bit.

That wasn't in the article. Is it from the pre-print? It's a bit disappointing if true, but probably doesn't matter too much (at least in the US) since most people are getting their second dose.

1 hour ago, Which Tyler said:

Also an issue with time frames - That recent UK study was after 3 weeks; yet Pfizer doesn't plateau effectiveness until week 5; whilst AZ is still increasing into week 6 - in terms of preventing disease; unknown, but reasonable to expect similar for preventing transmission of disease

Yes, I was a bit confused about that because for Pfizer, one is supposed to get the second dose after 3 weeks.

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5 hours ago, Toth said:

you are as bad with directions with me (I'm the one who is certain to ALWAYS leave a train station at the wrong end of where I am supposed to go).

Hate to disillusion you, but that describes me, perfectly!

As for variants, we see our own state has its very own variant. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/24/health/coronavirus-variant-nyc.html

Quote

 

....The new variant, called B.1.526, first appeared in samples collected in the city in November. By the middle of this month, it accounted for about one in four viral sequences appearing in a database shared by scientists....

....Dr. Nussenzweig said he was more worried about the variant in New York than the one quickly spreading in California. Yet another contagious new variant, discovered in Britain, now accounts for about 2,000 cases in 45 states. It is expected to become the most prevalent form of the coronavirus in the United States by the end of March....

 

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/03/new-york-city-coronavirus-variant-b-1-526-what-we-know.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/13/nyregion/coronavirus-variants.html

Quote

 

....The information serves as a vivid reminder that the dynamics of New York’s epidemic have changed over the past few months, and that the original forms of the virus are increasingly unusual across the city.

“It makes something that’s been pretty abstract and maybe less accessible that much more tangible to people,” Dr. Denis Nash, an epidemiologist at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, said of the data. “The landscape is changing quickly.”

The variants are spreading

A variant first discovered in New York, B.1.526, has spread more widely in the city than all of the others so far. There has also been a significant increase in cases linked to the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in Britain last year and now makes up nearly 30 percent of new cases sequenced in New York City....

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/22/health/covid-ny-variant-vaccine.html

Quote

 

For weeks, New Yorkers have witnessed the alarming rise of a homegrown variant of the coronavirus that has kept the number of cases in the city stubbornly high. City officials have repeatedly warned that the variant may be more contagious and may dodge the immune response.

On that second point, at least, they can now breathe easier: Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will effectively prevent serious illness and death from the variant, two independent studies suggest....

 


 

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6 minutes ago, Altherion said:

That wasn't in the article. Is it from the pre-print? It's a bit disappointing if true, but probably doesn't matter too much (at least in the US) since most people are getting their second dose.

Yes, I was a bit confused about that because for Pfizer, one is supposed to get the second dose after 3 weeks.

 

1 hour ago, ljkeane said:

Nope. They actually specifically say 'there was no evidence of any difference in effectiveness between the Pfizer-Biontech and Astrazeneca-Oxford vaccines'. It also mentions the US study of healthcare workers, it was a much smaller sample and the confidence interval was 59%-90% so I'm not sure it's actually saying much that the results differ a bit.

The difference is probably explained in this paragraph:

Quote

Further work by the team, reported in a second preprint, analysed antibody responses to the vaccines. Antibodies rose faster and to a higher level with one shot of Pfizer vaccine, but then dropped back down, particularly in older people, to a similar level reached with the Oxford shot. Although the immune responses differed, Dr David Eyre at Oxford’s Big Data Institute said a strong antibody response was achieved in 95% of people.

So, Pfizer immunity from the first shot rises higher at first but drops back down. The US study was done after two weeks as opposed to three weeks in the UK study, so that is consistent. 

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8 minutes ago, Altherion said:

That wasn't in the article. Is it from the pre-print?

Yeah, here it is if you're particularly interested.

8 minutes ago, Altherion said:

It's a bit disappointing if true, but probably doesn't matter too much (at least in the US) since most people are getting their second dose.

I don't think the difference really matters. I think people have gotten overly focused on the high early numbers from the Pfizer and Moderna trials but the remember the goal was above 50% efficacy for a viable vaccine. That both Pfizer and Astrazenca are comfortably above that with one dose is a good thing.

 

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Like India, the sheer numbers here should have us all concerned.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/23/brazils-rapid-and-violent-covid-variant-devastates-latin-america
 

Quote

 

....By February, Araraquara, a city 1,500 miles south in São Paulo state, had been forced into lockdown by an explosion of infections linked to P1. Hospitals across Brazil reported being inundated with Covid patients, many disturbingly young, and Brazil’s death toll nearly doubled, from just over 195,000 at the start of January to 380,000 now. By March, the variant, which has now been detected in eight South American countries, was invading Brazil’s neighbours, too: sweeping west into the Peruvian Amazon, leapfrogging the Andes, and laying siege to Lima, more than 1,300 miles to Manaus’s south-west.

“It’s not just a much more contagious variant but it also increases the levels of reinfection, which reduces the efficacy of vaccines,” said Antonio Quispe, a Peruvian epidemiologist who said P1’s “rapid and violent” spread was dire news for the region.

With fears over how some new variants might dodge vaccine protection, governments have tightened travel restrictions and closed borders. France recently suspended all flights to Brazil as a result of what the prime minister, Jean Castex, called its “absolutely dramatic” epidemic....

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Geez I hope the U.S. is restricting flights to and from both Brazil and India until this gets under control.

Eta: If you look at the top dozen countries for the week, that all had over 100,000 new cases for the week, no-one from these countries should be allowed to fly anywhere imo.

Edited by DireWolfSpirit

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But -- why should this matter to US/us? Ohio's rethug Rep Jim Jordan says it's unnecessary for us to care whether or not other people are vaccinated.  "If you are vaccinated, why do you need others to be, or even care?"

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5 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Yes.  Very troubling.

Although the NYT article does touch upon the re-infection point.   

Quote

In both new studies, neutralizing antibodies from vaccinated people were better at thwarting the virus than those from people who developed antibodies from being sick with Covid-19. 

 

10 hours ago, JoannaL said:

Has J&J also delivering problems?

They are having major trouble in the US with manufacturing, so I would fear for J&J in Europe.  I was surprised when they delivered to the EU ahead of schedule.    Hopefully it can continue.

5 hours ago, Gareth said:

Unless that more contagious variant has more morbidity associated with it.  Also more contagious implies more chance for mutation, ie more variants.

I don't believe the UK variant is more dangerous than the South African variant.  But the latter seems to be able to evade the vaccine more, so the UK variant seems more desirable right now.

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3 minutes ago, Padraig said:

 

They are having major trouble in the US with manufacturing, so I would fear for J&J in Europe.  I was surprised when they delivered to the EU ahead of schedule.    Hopefully it can continue.

I wouldn’t be worried about the European plant, the US problems are because of the idiots running the Emergent plant.

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It still quite astonishes me how little has changed over the millennia including the behaviors, language and practices we use regarding plagues/pandemics*, to either contain or handle them.

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/what-shakespeare-actually-wrote-about-the-plague

Quote

It was early recognized that the rate of infection was far higher in densely populated cities than in the country; those with the means to do so escaped to rural retreats, though they often brought infection with them. Civic officials, realizing that crowds heightened contagion, took measures to institute what we now call social distancing. Collecting data from parish registers, they carefully tracked weekly plague-related deaths. When those deaths surpassed thirty, they banned assemblies, feasts, archery contests, and other forms of mass gathering. Since it was believed that it was impossible to become infected during the act of worship, church services were not included in the ban, though the infected were not permitted to attend. But the public theatres in London, which routinely brought together two or three thousand people in an enclosed space, were ordered shut. It could take many months before the death rate came down sufficiently for the authorities to allow theatres to reopen.

Ultimately, it's looking like, vaccines won't make that much difference for certain activities -- if we are smart that is. The ultimate difference vaccines make are keeping us, as individuals, from getting very sick, from dying.  Which is wonderful.  But they could do so much more if everyone had access to vaccines and everyone got vaccinated.

* This is equally so regarding speculation/investment/gambling, particularly in Europe, particularly starting in the 15th centuries. "Puts" were already in use in English in the 17th century!

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4 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Since it was believed that it was impossible to become infected during the act of worship, church services were not included in the ban, though the infected were not permitted to attend.

Seems to still hold true :rofl:

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21 minutes ago, Zorral said:

It was early recognized that the rate of infection was far higher in densely populated cities than in the country; those with the means to do so escaped to rural retreats, though they often brought infection with them. 

That's pretty much the setting of Boccaccio's Decameron, and that was during the Black Plague, so Tuscany in 1350.

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5 hours ago, Which Tyler said:

This doesn't really fit here, but may not deserve a thread of its own.

A different Oxford vaccine is proving effective against Malaria, humanity's biggest killer. 77% effective in children!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/23/oxford-malaria-vaccine-proves-highly-effective-in-burkina-faso-trial
 

Obviously small scale trial so far - but if it can be repeated in larger trials, this is massive

I saw that earlier and wondered if there was anything shared with the Covid vaccine since I think it's coming out of the same institute but it sounds like a different technology. I also note that they seemed to have decided to partner with companies that aren't AstraZeneca this time.

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Hooray! My brother is now vaccinated! The second booking I made for him for today administered the desired Pfizer shots!

And on the topic of my anti-vaxxer SiL: what is really weird is that she was never an anti-vaxxer before Covid-19. She was very happy, for example, to get the hepatitis vaccine, Twinrix, 10 years ago or so. And my brother told me she was talking to my cousin’s wife this morning, and they were expressing horror over the fact one my cousin’s kids was getting vaccinated. I did not know my Polish cousin and his Polish wife were anti-vaxxers too. As well as a Polish client of my brother’s who we both know.

I told him I am seriously thinking of sending an email to the Cardinal here in Toronto asking that priests be asked to tell their parishioners that getting a vaccine is a good thing, and pointing out that the Pope and the whole Vatican have been vaccinated. My parish priest signed up for the AZ vaccine as soon as they opened it up for the 60-65 age group, posted the news on Facebook, then posted a vaccine selfie encouraging people to get the jab as soon as they can. The priests at the Polish churches in town, on the other hand, haven’t said a damn thing. I wonder if they are anti-vaxxers as well. I realize that may be because Moderna and Pfizer performed confirmation tests using fetal cell lines and J&J used fetal cell lines in their vaccine development. 

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4 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

I wouldn’t be worried about the European plant, the US problems are because of the idiots running the Emergent plant.

Fair point.  My worry is that Europe was already providing vaccines to the US before this issue.  I don't think J&J will meet its US targets without further help.  So what does J&J do?  What can it do?

Anyhow, it has been cleared in the US.  The blood disorders that have happened are much more biased towards women (14 out of 15), compared to AZ.

Scientific American has an article about the issue.

This is also a pdf from the EMA.  Its a very detailed analysis of the risks around Astrazeneca.  I'm wondering are they a little annoyed at how cautious the individual countries have been?  There is nothing explicit in the document but they originally said it was fine, and then they said "it's still fine" and now they are saying "no really, it is fine.  Look at the numbers".  Might be a good sign for J&J, since the probabilities are even better around it..

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