2021-10-14 General

Vaccines

Someone is live-tweeting the La Jolla Immunology Conference, and during a panel about an important paper from May that I’ve already talked about, they said something which I missed: that inter-individual variations in antibody responses are larger than the variations between responses to different variants.


I’ve talked about the two-proline (2P) and six-proline (6P) modifications before. Basically, these are modifications to the spike proteins which keep them from going all floppy when they don’t have a big ol’ rest-of-virion to hold their shape. This means that the immune system doesn’t waste as much of its time making antibodies to the floppy shape. This preprint from May says that they have found an even better modification called VFLIP. That ought to help develop vaccines which are even more effective. (There are vaccines using the 6P modification — called HexaPro — which are slowly wending their way through clinical trials now.)


This article says that the US FDA approved Moderna’s half-dose booster for the same groups as were approved for Pfizer. The interesting thing is that their data was weak. They basically said, “hey, you gave approval to Pfizer and our vax is just like Pfizer, give it to us too”. It will be interesting to see if Canada follows this low-data lead.


This web page from the US CDC has these interesting graphs:


This study of veterans in the USA shows waning effectivity of the different vaccines authorized in the US:

Note, however, that it doesn’t take into account how many people got vaccinated when — maybe all the Janssen (J&J) people got vaccinated in March and the 1/6 of the Moderna people got vaccinated every month. It also doesn’t factor in that the variant mix changed from Alpha to Delta over this time period.


This preprint from the Netherlands says that:

  • The effectiveness of full vaccination of the infected person against transmission to unvaccinated household contacts was 63% for Delta, vs. 73% for Alpha.
  • The effectiveness of full vaccination of the index against transmission to fully vaccinated household contacts was 40%, which is in addition to the direct protection of vaccination of contacts against infection.

This study of blood in test tubes found that while antibody levels dropped over 3-6 months, the B cell and T cells protection stayed good.

Treatments

This study looked at home infusion with monoclonal antibodies (which takes an hour or two and usually is done in a clinical setting, and is usually in or near the cancer ward because most infusions are for chemo). It apparently worked well.

Transmission

This preprint from Belgium did very careful following of students, teachers, and their families and found that most transmission in schools came between teachers and between children. In household transmissions, most were introduced from school.

Hesitancy

There is now a phone service where you can phone in and get answers to your questions about vaccines. It’s sponsored by Scarborough Health Network, but apparently anyone in Canada can call.

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