2022-03-24/25 General


This article reports that the World Health Organization’s COVAX project declined to approve Medicago’s vax — not because their vax doesn’t work, but because Medicago is largely owned by Big Tobacco, and that’s verboten.

This preprint says that a trivalent version of the NDV-HXP-S vax with a mix of Beta, Gamma, and Delta spikes was extremely effective in mice against all the VOCs, even against Omicron. The trivalent vax had 11x more neutralization against Omicron than a COVID Classic-based vax.

Many cases get detected now when people go to the hospital for other reasons. That means that the vaccine effectiveness “against hospitalization” metric actually is more like the “against infection” metric for many people. This report looks at vaccine effectiveness for “65+ year olds admitted for more than 2 days stay with a respiratory code in the primary diagnostic field”, and finds that that stays strong at 85.3% 15 weeks after a booster. Vaccine effectiveness against needing oxygen/ventilation/ICU was 86.8% after 15 weeks.

The same report says that vax effectiveness against BA.2 is almost the same as BA.1:

The same report also gave updated charts (which you’ve seen before) for Pfizer and Moderna (and AZ, but probably zero of you care about that) waning effectiveness against infection:

This report gives information about waning effectiveness of mRNA vax against hospitalization from Omicron for under and over 65s:


This paper says that infection with Omicron without vaccination doesn’t actually give good immune responses in test tubes to other VOCs. (Translation: if Delta comes back, all you who counted on your Omicron infection-acquired resistance to save you are shit out of luck.) If, however, people were vaccinated and got a breakthrough Omicron case, have very good protection (as measured in test tubes).

One thing this means is that vaccines tailored for Omicron are probably a bad idea, because they would ONLY help against Omicron.

This paper looked at Omicron-targeted vaccines in monkeys, and found that bog-standard Moderna and Moderna targeted to Omicron gave very similar protection against different VOCs for most measures, and on a one measure gave worse protection than the bog-standard Spikevax. (Yes, that’s completely counter-intuitive. I don’t understand how that could happen and this is why I am not a microbiologist.)

This preprint from Israel says that after three weeks, a fourth dose of Pfizer gave a VE against infection was 64%, but dropped to 29.2% after ten weeks.

This preprint says that a previous infection 3-6 months ago gives 43.1% VE-equivalent level of protection, but after a year that drops to only 14.6%.


This preprint says that, among health care workers in Quebec who had a symptomatic COVID-19 infection, 46% of non-hospitalized cases had continuing symptoms after four weeks and 40% after twelve weeks. For people who had been hospitalized, 76% had symptoms after four weeks and 68% after twelve weeks!


This paper theorizes that SARS-CoV-2 has elements which act as superantigens.

This preprint from Hong Kong of children who had neither been vaccinated nor infected (remember, Hong Kong had almost no cases before Omicron) says that Omicron is not mild:

  • The Omicron death rate (0.35%) was higher than for influenza (0.05%) and parainfluenza (0.04%).
  • The risk of admission to the pediatric ICU was 18.5x higher for Omicron than for previous COVID-19 variants, 2.3x higher than for influenza.
  • The proportion of Omicron-infected kids with neurological complications was 14.9%; the risk was 75% higher than for influenza and parainfluenza.
  • Omicron kids were at a 11.5x risk fo croup (an inflammation of the upper trachea) compared to previous versions of COVID-19, and 2x higher risk compared to influenza.

Recommended Reading

Do masks interfere with little kids ability to learn language? This interview with a developmental psychologist examines this question. (Spoiler: no.)

I hesitate about recommending this article about the threats which medical people have gotten due to COVID-19 because it’s depressing. (“What”, I hear you say, “like you telling us HOW MANY PEOPLE DIE EACH DAY isn’t depressing enough???”) However, it’s something that we should probably read as informed citizens.