Public health observers are confident that China’s “zero tolerance” COVID-19 policy will safeguard the country to withstand epidemic flare-ups, although the outbreak in East China’s Fujian Province is still intense and Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province reported three fresh cases on Tuesday during the national holidays to mark the Mid-Autumn Festival.
China also shut an entire city down today after ONE case of Covid-19 was found:
“Chinese officials shut down the northern city of Harbin after a single patient was hospitalized with Covid-19, adding a second flank to the country’s ongoing delta outbreak during the Mid-Autumn Festival and public holidays.”
Here, we demonstrate that the Mu variant is highly resistant to sera from COVID-19 convalescents and BNT162b2-vaccinated individuals. Direct comparison of different SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins revealed that Mu spike is more resistant to serum-mediated neutralization than all other currently recognized variants of interest (VOI) and concern (VOC). This includes the Beta variant (B.1.351) that has been suggested to represent the most resistant variant to convalescent and vaccinated sera to date.
Here we show that even previously infected and fully vaccinated subjects with high anti-S IgG titers are susceptible to infection by VOC, highlighting that immune responses induced by either natural infection or vaccination may not be sufficient to prevent infection by SARS-CoV-2 variants.
For this study we selected 72 SARS-CoV-2 recently tested positive individuals with nasopharyngeal swabs collected between mid-January and March 2021 with SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR Ct values <30. These include both cancer patients and healthcare workers (HCW) from the Brazilian National Cancer Institute (INCA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Of those 72 subjects, six were vaccinated prior the current infection and two out of those six were also reinfection cases. Another three subjects also represented reinfections, showing a previous infection during the first wave of the pandemic in Brazil.
Six HCW included in this study have been fully or partially vaccinated with one of the vaccines available in Brazil, either CoronaVac (Sinovac/Butantã) or ChAdOx1-S/nCoV-19 (AstraZeneca/Oxford/Fiocruz). All six tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR after at least one vaccine dose and reported mild symptoms during infection.
“We also observed that the spike protein of the Lambda variant presented increased infectivity when compared with the spike protein of the Alpha and Gamma variants, both of them with reported increased infectivity and transmissibility. Together, our data show for the first time that mutations present in the spike protein of the Lambda variant confer escape to neutralizing antibodies and increased infectivity.”
“The evidence presented here reinforces the idea that massive vaccination campaigns in countries with high SARS-CoV-2 circulation rates must be accompanied by strict genomic surveillance aimed to rapidly identify new viral isolates carrying spike mutations as well as studies aimed to analyze the impact of these mutations in immune escape and vaccines breakthrough.”
Wall Street Journal opinion: “not a single published study has demonstrated that patients with a prior infection benefit from Covid-19 vaccination. That this isn’t readily acknowledged by the CDC or Anthony Fauci is an indication of how deeply entangled pandemic politics is in science.”
There is a significant risk of “vaccine breakthrough” with the Sinovac vaccine, or CoronaVac, with international evidence showing that many who had taken it were later infected with COVID-19, said the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) director of medical services Kenneth Mak on Friday, 18 June 2021.
Associate Professor Kenneth Mak said that Singapore has been assessing the experience of countries such as Indonesia, which has vaccinated a “larger proportion” of the population using CoronaVac.
More than 350 doctors and medical workers have caught COVID-19 in Indonesia despite being vaccinated with Sinovac. Dozens have been hospitalised. Most of the workers were asymptomatic and self-isolating at home but dozens were in hospital with high fevers and falling oxygen-saturation levels.
14th June 2021: We’ve spent two days scouring the internet looking for Plan B for what happens in the event of complete Covid-19 vaccine failure. So what does happen if the vaccines fail? Here is what we have found so far:
Actually, we found no results. It seems that no one is even asking the question. Perhaps it’s time to start that conversation?
** UPDATE 31ST JULY 2021 ** Finally, the UK government takes a peek out of the front screen to see what is oncoming rather than checking the rear-view mirror to look at the pile-up that has just occurred.
*Warning* The report contains plenty of dire predictions but proposes no solutions whatsoever.
** UPDATE 15th AUGUST 2021 **
“UK Ministers are being pressed to reveal what contingency plans are in place to deal with a future Covid variant that evades current vaccines, amid warnings from scientific advisers that such an outcome could set the battle against the pandemic back a year or more.”
** UPDATE 27th AUGUST 2021 **
If you have two hours to waste, you could spend it reading this new European view on the future of Sars-CoV-2:
In our opinion, this article is by far the poorest attempt yet to predict the future course of the pandemic, relying largely on outdated information and stale groupthink. For example:
“What can be expected in the autumn and winter of 2021 depends substantially on what happens in the summer; specifically, the success of vaccination programs both in Europe and worldwide, and the emergence and spread of (new) VOCs. Compared to the summer, autumn and winter bring the additional complication of unfavorable seasonal effects. The seasonality of coronaviruses is expected to increase infections in the autumn and winter months…..”
It’s a 0/10 from us.
** UPDATE 14TH SEPTEMBER 2021 **
The UK has another stab at Plan B:
Er, yeah, I guess we’ll keep searching…
As of the early hours of this Saturday, 12th June 2021, Santiago de Chile has once again entered quarantine. The entire region begins with the mobility restriction measure when 57.8% of the country’s target population has completed their covid-19 vaccination schedule, but ICUs are on the brink of collapse.
According to the latest figures provided by the Undersecretary of Health, Paula Daza, the occupation of critical beds reaches 96% nationwide. But the vast majority of seriously ill patients are not immunized and there is a worrying decrease in the age of patients admitted to critical beds. Patients under 50 years of age in ICUs have tripled compared to the worst moment of last year, according to ICOVID, an initiative led by the University of Chile, the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and the University of Concepción based on official data . The deaths reach 38,685, between confirmed and suspected.
El Pais report (in Spanish)
Lineage chart courtesy of Outbreak.info
Daily cases chart courtesy of OurworldinData.org
As of Sunday 30th May 2021, Guangdong had recorded a total of 2,468 cases with 1,035 of them imported. Currently, 75 people are in hospital. Guangdong province has also identified two imported confirmed cases, one from Cambodia to Guangzhou, and another from the United States to Foshan. Guangzhou has reported eight asymptomatic imported cases – from the United Arab Emirates, US, Chad, Amman, the Philippines, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea.
Parts of southern China are in lockdown to contain the Covid-19 outbreak. Guangzhou bears the brunt of latest cluster with 38 zones sealed to stop the spread as new infections continue to be identified.
Researchers reported that among 20 fully-vaccinated healthcare workers with vaccine breakthrough COVID-19 cases, all were infected with coronavirus variants. An earlier study had linked breakthrough infections with low viral loads, suggesting low transmission risks, but “we found many samples in our breakthrough cohort with high viral load,” said coauthor Pavitra Roychoudhury of the University of Washington. CONTAGIOUS: “Our work suggests that not all breakthrough infections are at low risk of initiating transmission and, if they did, these infections could lead to the continued spread of variants of concern, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates.”
The CDC has genetic data for virus samples from 555 vaccine breakthrough infections. Mutated variants of the coronavirus, including those first seen in the UK and South Africa, accounted for 64% of the breakthroughs.
Medrxix preprint – Variants of concern are overrepresented among post-vaccination breakthrough infections of SARS-CoV-2 in Washington State
FT: “the vaccines send the DNA gene sequences of the spike protein into the cell … Once inside the cell nucleus, certain parts of the spike protein splice, or split apart“
During the last months many countries have started the immunization of millions of people by using vector-based vaccines. Unfortunately, severe side effects became overt during these vaccination campaigns: cerebral venous sinus thromboses (CVST), absolutely rare under normal life conditions, were found as a severe side effect that occured 4-14 days after first vaccinations. Besides CVST, Splanchnic Vein Thrombosis (SVT) was also observed. This type of adverse event has not been observed in the clinical studies of AstraZeneca, and therefore led immediately to a halt in vaccinations in several european countries.
These events were mostly associated with thrombocytopenia, and thus, similar to the well-known Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). Meanwhile, scientists have proposed a mechanism to explain this vaccine-induced thrombocytopenia. However, they do not provide a satisfactory explanation for the late thromboembolic events. Here, we present data that may explain these severe side effects which have been attributed to adenoviral vaccines.
According to our results, transcription of wildtype and codon-optimized Spike open reading frames enables alternative splice events that lead to C-terminal truncated, soluble Spike protein variants. These soluble Spike variants may initiate severe side effects when binding to ACE2-expressing endothelial cells in blood vessels. In analogy to the thromboembolic events caused by Spike protein encoded by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we termed the underlying disease mechanism the “Vaccine-Induced Covid-19 Mimicry” syndrome (VIC19M syndrome).
Researchgate paper “Vaccine-Induced Covid-19 Mimicry Syndrome: Splice reactions within the SARS-CoV-2 Spike open reading frame result in Spike protein variants that may cause thromboembolic events in patients immunized with vector-based vaccines”.
FT Article “Scientists claim to have solved Covid vaccine blood-clot puzzle”
The highest ever daily country case figure for coronavirus on Planet Earth was recorded in The Seychelles in May 2021. The Seychelles daily case figure, adjusted for population, reached an astonishing 4,083 cases per million.
What is also surprising is that many of the countries on the list with the highest daily case rates also have excellent vaccination rates (see below). The Seychelles, for example, has vaccinated more than 60% of its population.
The reasons behind some of the high daily case numbers are given in articles we have previously published and have linked to below.
The Seychelles, which has fully vaccinated over 60% of its population against Covid-19, is bringing back restrictions amid a rise in cases. The archipelago of nearly 100,000 people recorded close to 500 new cases in the three days to 1 May and has about 1,000 active cases. A third of the active cases involved people who have had two vaccine doses, the country’s news agency said. The rest had either had a single dose or were unvaccinated.
There are currently 1,068 active Covid cases in the Seychelles, of which a third have been detected in people given two doses of either AstraZeneca’s or China’s Sinopharm’s vaccine. It unclear what has triggered the surge in cases but testing has detected the South African variant spreading on the islands. (Daily Mail report)
Graph courtesy of Ourworldindata.org