This article reports that NACI now says that you should wait three months after getting COVID-19 before you get a booster. It’s not bad, it’s just that three months will give you better protection, they think. Note that they don’t actually have any data on the COVID-19 booster specifically, they are basing that advice on how other similar vaccines work.
This preprint says that a Moderna-brand Omicron-specific booster is worse (in test tubes) than your bog-standard Moderna-brand COVID Classic booster. They injected chimps with two doses of regular Moderna (at 0 and 4 weeks) and then either with regular Moderna or Moderna for Omicron at week 41. The antibody levels against both COVID Classic and Omicron were better with the regular booster, as shown in this table of antibody levels:
|against COVID Classic
|2x regular Moderna
|regular Moderna booster
|Omicron Moderna booster
Dr. Henry has often said that all the vaccines are good, just take whatever you’re given and be happy. I’ve seen people be mad that they took an “inferior” vaccine. While it is true that there are differences between vaccines, the difference between vaxxed and unvaxxed is So. Much. Higher! From this web page (from the USA):
This article is an interview with the author of this tweet, which is a summary of this paywalled article. It talks a lot about why so many people are dying of COVID-19 in the USA, but there are some other interesting bits in there:
- Omicron about as intrinsically severe as COVID Classic, which I had not realized. Omicron is about 30-50% as severe as Delta, but Delta was a lot deadlier than COVID Classic.
- What is important to look at for comparisons isn’t the number vaccinated, but the number not vaccinated. The difference between 98% vaxxed and 99% vaxxed doesn’t look like much, but there’s a 2x difference between 2% unvaxxed and 1% unvaxxed.
- Age is the biggest factor in hospitalizations, and way way bigger in deaths. This means that death rate is going to be even more sensitive to vax rate among the elderly than hospitalization is. 95% vs. 98% vax among the 80% actually makes a big difference in death rate.
- A longer dose interval is significantly better than a short dose interval; the interviewee thinks a longer interval is about twice as effective as a shorter interval after waning.
- There is some evidence that while two doses is way less effective than three against infection, two is almost as good as three against death.
If, while reading this article, you wonder how BC or Canada are doing on deaths, BC’s current official death rate is at about half of our peak rate (from this tweet):
while Canada’s current official death rate is close to its peak death rate (from this page).
(I think the first big peak in Canada was mostly driven by the Quebec (and to a lesser extent Ontario) nursing homes.)
Here’s the cumulative normalized numbers for Canada, UK, US, provinces, and territories:
|Cumulative cases per 10K
|Cumulative deaths per 10K
Now, I should mention that this study from June 2021 claims that most of the provinces are undercounting cases by roughly half. On the other hand, this report estimates that Canada had 6-10 COVID-19 deaths per 10K vs. reported deaths of 9 / 10K.
This article says that yes, pediatric cases make up a higher percentage of cases than before, but no, Omicron is not more targeted to children. Children are in fact one-third to one-half as likely to be hospitalized by Omicron as they were by Delta, it says, and hospitalization is milder.
This study found that ACE2 binding (which is what allowed SARS-CoV-2 to jump to humans) has been around for a long time in bat coronaviruses, but got lost in some branches of the bat coronavirus tree. This is basically bad news. Worse, they found that some bat coronaviruses from outside Asia can already bind to ACE2.
This preprint says that yes, dammit, masks really do help prevent infection.
You thought the vaccines were developed and approved quickly? This article explains how Paxlovid was developed faster than any other drug ever.
I referenced this article above in the Transmission section, but really, you should go read it. It’s that good.