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Are vaccines the light at the end of the tunnel?


Ken the cruiser
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1 hour ago, hcat said:

Question for Science People posting here:

 

What are the differences ( in simple language) in the variants that make the current vaccines less effective protection..?

How and why did the variants evolve?

What are the chances it will change again?

Will adjustments in a  booster vaccines be able  to challenge the variants?

 

Thanks much!

 

Very basically, the spike protein is different. The result is that one's antibodies don't quite recognise it as something they know how to deal with.  

 

It's like you know judo, but an adversary comes at you with a new move that you haven't seen before.  You're still pretty well able to defend yourself against most of what they throw at you, and your odds of winning are really good, but they're able to get several blows in that you didn't expect. 

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Just now, D C said:

Very basically, the spike protein is different. The result is that one's antibodies don't quite recognise it as something they know how to deal with.  

 

It's like you know judo, but an adversary comes at you with a new move that you haven't seen before.  You're still pretty well able to defend yourself against most of what they throw at you, and your odds of winning are really good, but they're able to get several blows in that you didn't expect. 

We will see, but right now my sense is that you have a greater chance of getting the virus with the SA variant even after having the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, but your chances of having to go to the hospital or dying are still pretty low.  And, isn't that the main goal.  Not that worried about getting a mild case.  

 

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8 hours ago, zanderblue said:

@TeeRick not the Novavax trial protocol per se, but see below an extract from an email I received from doctor managing trial at the hub I attend.

 

”Thank you for getting in touch with us about your NHS appointment. I will try and give you a call tomorrow - apologies as we have received a very high volume of calls.

 
In the meantime I wanted to explain that there are two options going forward.
 
Following the news of Novavax's vaccine efficacy of 89.3%, Novavax is on the way to change to format of this trial. This will involve all our participants getting the Novavax vaccine. How this will work is that everyone will get injected with two courses of placebo or vaccine; the opposite of what they received the first-time round. This will mean that everyone will be ensured a vaccine without breaking the blind of the original injection.
 
If you decide to wait for the Novavax vaccine, this will require that you wait for this change to implemented, and this will occur end of March / beginning of April until approval is received by the governing body. The advantage is that unlike the NHS schedule, you can receive both shots within 3-4 weeks as opposed to waiting 12 weeks for your second injection.
 
If you would prefer to get vaccinated sooner, we would ideally arrange an unblinding visit 1-2 days before to take a blood sample before we unblind you. This would be a short visit and once done, your original fourth visit can be skipped. After that, we would keep you in the trial unblinded and continue the antibody tests. (The visit only applies if you have not already attended a fourth visit.)
 
Once you have considered the options, let us know what you decide, and we can make a plan going forward. Feel free to get in touch again if you have any other questions.”
 
The doctor did call me the following day and discussed more detail. The dates provided are expected to be improved upon, and are subject to vaccine receiving timely approval. 
I have decided to forego my NHS vaccination this week and stay blinded in the trial, at least for now. Very much a watching brief though...........

Thanks very much for posting this !!

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2 hours ago, hcat said:

Question for Science People posting here:

 

What are the differences ( in simple language) in the variants that make the current vaccines less effective protection..?

How and why did the variants evolve?

What are the chances it will change again?

Will adjustments in a  booster vaccines be able  to challenge the variants?

 

Thanks much!

 

hcat,

-The vaccines are all made against a protein (called SPIKE) on the surface of the virus.

-The vaccines were made to match the "original" SPIKE that was described in early 2020.

-The vaccines produce a large number of antibodies that bind to and "neutralize" SPIKE. 

-The Virus Variants (such as South Africa and UK) have a slightly different SPIKE.  

- For the Variants, some antibodies made to the original SPIKE are less effective in binding to it and neutralizing it.  But they still do to some extent, just less.  Or bind less tightly.

- After vaccination (or infection) you have White Blood Cells(T-Cells) that react against the virus too.  

- These T-Cells are against many overlapping parts of SPIKE and so are not as much impacted by different versions as compared to the antibodies.  So that is very good news.

-Both Antibodies and T-Cells are produced in abundance when your body sees the virus or the antigen (SPIKE) again, like in the second shot of the vaccine.

-You are likely to fight off a variant virus if you see it again, but perhaps get mild cold-like symptoms.  The data show that you are not likely at all to get a severe case, be hospitalized or die.

-OK ???  It is much more complicated but this is the gist of it!

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2 hours ago, hcat said:

Question for Science People posting here:

 

What are the differences ( in simple language) in the variants that make the current vaccines less effective protection..?

How and why did the variants evolve?

What are the chances it will change again?

Will adjustments in a  booster vaccines be able  to challenge the variants?

 

Thanks much!

 

hcat- part 2 of your questions:

- The Variants evolve by natural evolution. 

-There are many many variants evolving constantly.  But almost all of them have no greater ability to infect you, make you sick, or worse.  So they do not really take hold.

-Only when a variant can be better than the original (at infection mostly) can it get an advantage over the other circulating virus strains and the really take off in the population.  This is very rare.

-The variant from South Africa, the UK and Brazil have this characteristic.  Out of thousands discovered and sequenced to date.  Others might eventually arise too.

- Natural Immunity and Vaccine Immunity (in particular) will have some effect on these variant viruses or others that might arise.  But the immunity might be somewhat less effective.

- New vaccines against some of these variant viruses are already being made.  It is easy to do for these current mRNA vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna) and Adeno vector vaccines (J&J).  But it will take quite some time to manufacture and test in the clinical trials (but smaller easier trials).

-So in another year or so you might need to get a booster vaccine made against a Variant.  Kind of like annual Influenza vaccines.

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31 minutes ago, TeeRick said:

hcat- part 2 of your questions:

- The Variants evolve by natural evolution. 

-There are many many variants evolving constantly.  But almost all of them have no greater ability to infect you, make you sick, or worse.  So they do not really take hold.

-Only when a variant can be better than the original (at infection mostly) can it get an advantage over the other circulating virus strains and the really take off in the population.  This is very rare.

-The variant from South Africa, the UK and Brazil have this characteristic.  Out of thousands discovered and sequenced to date.  Others might eventually arise too.

- Natural Immunity and Vaccine Immunity (in particular) will have some effect on these variant viruses or others that might arise.  But the immunity might be somewhat less effective.

- New vaccines against some of these variant viruses are already being made.  It is easy to do for these current mRNA vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna) and Adeno vector vaccines (J&J).  But it will take quite some time to manufacture and test in the clinical trials (but smaller easier trials).

-So in another year or so you might need to get a booster vaccine made against a Variant.  Kind of like annual Influenza vaccines.

Hcat, to add one thing to TeeRick's excellent explanation - the more virus replicates (reproduces) the more opportunities the virus has to develop a mutations/variants (mutations are copying errors in the process of replication). Increased replication can be within an individual person who cannot clear the infection (like the immunocompromised patient discussed on another thread) or it can be just total virus circulating as it passes from person to person. So the vaccines can tamp down the development of variants even if the vaccine isn't completely effective against a given variant. If vaccinated people in general are less likely to get infected/release less virus per infection/simply sneeze and cough less because they aren't as sick - then there is less virus in circulation and lower R value and eventually fewer variants. Wear a mask and it goes down even more because masking reduces the virus spread by aysmptomatic people who are just talking.

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1 hour ago, cangelmd said:

Hcat, to add one thing to TeeRick's excellent explanation - the more virus replicates (reproduces) the more opportunities the virus has to develop a mutations/variants (mutations are copying errors in the process of replication). Increased replication can be within an individual person who cannot clear the infection (like the immunocompromised patient discussed on another thread) or it can be just total virus circulating as it passes from person to person. So the vaccines can tamp down the development of variants even if the vaccine isn't completely effective against a given variant. If vaccinated people in general are less likely to get infected/release less virus per infection/simply sneeze and cough less because they aren't as sick - then there is less virus in circulation and lower R value and eventually fewer variants. Wear a mask and it goes down even more because masking reduces the virus spread by aysmptomatic people who are just talking.

If we all get vaccines as soon as we can, continue to wear masks, etc., the less  the virus will spread and replicate itself and the fewer variants there will be.  

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On 2/17/2021 at 2:27 PM, drarill said:

Rick, yesterday my son got his second dose on the Novavax trial.  He was told that in two months he will get a third shot with the opposite of what he got the first two times, and a fourth shot three weeks after the third.  They are doing this with everyone on the trial.  I guess this way they keep everyone blinded, but at the same time all the participants know that they are getting the vaccine.  

Wow!  That is a lot of shots.  We are having difficulty in organizing and giving out two shots, I can't imagine organizing four shots to millions of people. 

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2 minutes ago, whirlybird3 said:

Wow!  That is a lot of shots.  We are having difficulty in organizing and giving out two shots, I can't imagine organizing four shots to millions of people. 

That's a clinical trial, so it's not general public (thousands of people, probably).

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4 hours ago, shiphound said:

We will see, but right now my sense is that you have a greater chance of getting the virus with the SA variant even after having the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, but your chances of having to go to the hospital or dying are still pretty low.  And, isn't that the main goal.  Not that worried about getting a mild case.  

 

 

That's the hope, but I don't believe there is real reliable data yet. 

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Here's an interesting "flicker of light" article which, of course, is only providing someone's opinion. But if the curve does continue to flatten by April, how would CDC rule on when cruise lines might be able to sail out of US ports again? 

 

John Hopkins Doctor Thinks COVID Will Be Largely Gone By April, Half of U.S. Has Herd Immunity (msn.com)

 

And here is the John Hopkins COVID tracking link which will hopefully continue to stay green in the days and weeks to follow.

 

Have we flattened the curve in the US? - Johns Hopkins (jhu.edu)

 

As they said, time will tell.

Edited by Ken the cruiser
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38 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Here's an interesting "flicker of light" article which, of course, is only providing someone's opinion. But if the curve does continue to flatten by April, how would CDC rule on when cruise lines might be able to sail out of US ports again? 

 

John Hopkins Doctor Thinks COVID Will Be Largely Gone By April, Half of U.S. Has Herd Immunity (msn.com)

 

And here is the John Hopkins COVID tracking link which will hopefully continue to stay green in the days and weeks to follow.

 

Have we flattened the curve in the US? - Johns Hopkins (jhu.edu)

 

As they said, time will tell.

Even if this is just an optimistic opinion, I believe that by late Spring we will see a lot of progress in that direction and perhaps travel and cruising will open up by Summer.

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48 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Here's an interesting "flicker of light" article which, of course, is only providing someone's opinion. But if the curve does continue to flatten by April, how would CDC rule on when cruise lines might be able to sail out of US ports again? 

 

John Hopkins Doctor Thinks COVID Will Be Largely Gone By April, Half of U.S. Has Herd Immunity (msn.com)

 

And here is the John Hopkins COVID tracking link which will hopefully continue to stay green in the days and weeks to follow.

 

Have we flattened the curve in the US? - Johns Hopkins (jhu.edu)

 

As they said, time will tell.

 

Just an FYI. There are a lot of Johns Hopkins doctors. They have a bunch of affiliated hospitals, medical practices and educational campuses. 

Edited by Charles4515
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Not trying to interfere with all the science everyone is discussing here.  Just noted that Crystal Cruise lines just announced Vaccine to required for all 2021 sailings.  Believe more Cruise Lines will follow same requirement very soon.

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5 minutes ago, palamoh said:

Not trying to interfere with all the science everyone is discussing here.  Just noted that Crystal Cruise lines just announced Vaccine to required for all 2021 sailings.  Believe more Cruise Lines will follow same requirement very soon.

I saw that too. Hopefully, that will be the case for most major cruise lines, at least in the near term, as I'm sure some ports be visited may also have a similar vaccine requirement for those desiring to come ashore.

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8 hours ago, shiphound said:

From what I have read, there is some thinking that having had the virus may in many cases be like getting the first of the two doses of the vaccine.  There is at least some thought that people who have had the virus may only need one dose of vaccine.

May be, may be not have not seen what antibodies are created by having the virus vs those produced by the vaccine.

 

Without trials to test that theory one is better off to follow the trials and get both doses.

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1 hour ago, Charles4515 said:

 

Just an FYI. There are a lot of Johns Hopkins doctors. They have a bunch of affiliated hospitals, medical practices and educational campuses. 

And the author of the op ed is a surgeon, not an epidemiologist, immunologist, virologist or other medical specialist more commonly associated with discussions on natural immunity.

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3 hours ago, palamoh said:

Not trying to interfere with all the science everyone is discussing here.  Just noted that Crystal Cruise lines just announced Vaccine to required for all 2021 sailings.  Believe more Cruise Lines will follow same requirement very soon.

Wonder what the time frame would be for the shots or booster prior to the cruise and tests. ?

 

Timing all this out is not always workable esp for tests and getting results.  We tested in proper time frame for trvl to NY this  week. Then our flights were cancelled. Health dept said we will be okay if we get the 2nd test on time....adds to the stress!

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5 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Here's an interesting "flicker of light" article which, of course, is only providing someone's opinion. But if the curve does continue to flatten by April, how would CDC rule on when cruise lines might be able to sail out of US ports again? 

 

John Hopkins Doctor Thinks COVID Will Be Largely Gone By April, Half of U.S. Has Herd Immunity (msn.com)

 

And here is the John Hopkins COVID tracking link which will hopefully continue to stay green in the days and weeks to follow.

 

Have we flattened the curve in the US? - Johns Hopkins (jhu.edu)

 

As they said, time will tell.

My money is on the CDC not budging before fall, regardless of what any data might suggest. Cruising is pretty much the only place where they have any actual authority and they don't seem to be in any hurry to make any change of direction. 

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1 hour ago, D C said:

My money is on the CDC not budging before fall, regardless of what any data might suggest. Cruising is pretty much the only place where they have any actual authority and they don't seem to be in any hurry to make any change of direction. 

international flights to the US as well and they just tightened the rules with their new testing requirements.

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