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The biology of coronavirus COVID-19 - including research and treatments

Discussion in 'Epidemics (including Covid-19, not Long Covid)' started by Trish, Mar 12, 2020.

  1. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Potentially AOS?
     
  2. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    would you mind if you have time explaining what that means Snow Leopard? I dont know what 'immune escape' is?
     
    MeSci, oldtimer, mango and 1 other person like this.
  3. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    So protection against symptomatic infection is dependent on having antibodies against the receptor binding domain of the virus. If the RBD is blocked, then this prevents cells being infected.
    However, due to selection pressures due to people being vaccinated (or having antibodies due to prior infections), as well as the fact that the virus is still new to the human population and thus there is plenty of natural selection pressures that lead to mutation of the RBD. If antibodies stimulated by a vaccine or a prior infection no longer bind to the RBD of subsequent variants, then this is considered to be 'immune escape'.
     
    Lilas, Mithriel, MeSci and 7 others like this.
  4. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Get Ready for the Forever Plague
    Public health officials’ COVID complacency has opened the door to new illnesses and devastating long-term damage.

    https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2022/07/04/Get-Ready-Forever-Plague/
     
  5. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Location:
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    There are probably reasons to criticize this article, although I think it probably downplays it anyway, it's beyond clear that medicine is simply not able to deal with issues like this and they will remain hidden until a massive cultural shift makes medicine let go of their mythology. There are people actually saying "where is this issue if it's so common? I, me, personally, am not seeing it", as they continue to dismiss all evidence of it. It's pure stubbornness.

    But most of the people I saw criticizing it have been wrong about most things so far, have made wrong prediction after wrong prediction, always minimizing, downplaying, the risks, insisting it's just fearmongering or whatever. The people who mocked the idea of Long Covid, who then assured everyone the vaccines would make the issue go away, who insisted at every wave that it was the last and strongly asserted that people would be protected for years to come after their first infection, that infection was protective and so good that children should be infected as much as possible.

    Generally speaking, my approach with listening to people is checking over time how accurate their predictions are. The vast majority of the people criticizing this article have a terrible prediction record, more or less proportional to how furiously they huffed and puffed about this piece, and every prediction before that turned out accurate. The most obsessive deniers and minimizers are especially furious with it.

    So when people who have a consistent record of being wrong are vehemently insisting that this article is alarmist doomsaying, exactly what they said about every accurate prediction they dismissed before, and for the same reasons, it's a good bet that it actually underestimates the issue.

    Hey, it could be that after a long series of wrong predictions, this is the one they are right about. But since it's basically the same prediction every time, I very much doubt it.
     
  6. LarsSG

    LarsSG Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Interesting, @rvallee, I had the exact opposite experience: Lots of people criticizing this article and the ones I'm seeing through my filter are mostly people who have been fairly accurate to date. I read through it and, although I agree with the conclusions about what we should do, I found a lot of the claims in it were either just clearly wrong or way too speculative to report as fact. In general, there has been a lot of reporting lately that strings together results from a few pre-prints as if they were reporting the scientific consensus.

    On Twitter, things have become increasingly polarized, with a certain group seemingly jumping on whatever bad news comes out and loudly calling anyone who has doubts a minimizer. If we believe some of those folks, half of people have Long Covid and just don't know it, we're all going to get Covid every three months, everyone's immune system is completely destroyed, and people are dying from post-acute Covid left, right and centre. I worry that Long Covid is going to be dismissed even more than it already is as people look around them and see that people they know in real life just aren't experiencing what is being claimed.
     
    Wonko, Binkie4, Hutan and 1 other person like this.
  7. Binkie4

    Binkie4 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    John Campbell's recent youtube on the latest variant BA.5 which says that it causes more severe infection which again attacks the lungs rather than the upper respiratory system.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnR917NUlNg




    What happened to the theory that the virus gets less severe over time?
     
    ahimsa, Leila, shak8 and 3 others like this.
  8. ahimsa

    ahimsa Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Merged thread

    Opinion: The worst virus variant just arrived. The pandemic is not over. (Washington Post)


    Short op-ed that talks about BA.5 and BA.4. Regular link to story:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opin...us-variant-just-arrived-pandemic-is-not-over/

    Gift link (no paywall for 14 days) to the story:

    https://wapo.st/3as4DRO
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2022
    Ariel, sebaaa, Lilas and 10 others like this.
  9. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Here in the UK we seem to be only seeing limited reporting of these latest Omicron variants. There is a dramatic upturn in the number of cases happening, including many people who are vaccinated and/or who have been previously infected (see https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ ), with even the government figures indicating a nearly 33% rise in hospital admissions.

    I have seen a couple of news reports wheeling out experts to say that though the numbers of infections are rising, meaning the number of hospital admissions are also rising but in terms of proportions of infected people this is not worrying, as these new variants are not generally triggering particularly severe forms of infection, just that they are more transmissible than previous variants.

    Although some settings are reintroducing or reaffirming mask wearing, here testing remains low with free testing for the general public now stopped. In many/some work settings, now quarantining is no longer compulsory, workers will lose pay if they try to quarantine themselves. Though the number of cases I am aware of locally seems relatively high, including school children and people who have recently travelled internationally, there seems to be a general sense of complacency. This week is our village Wakes or carnival, with events everyday, with one or more infected person and their household members actively participating, without masks and without them avoiding touching things used by others. In general the response seems to be this is OK because the events are outdoors.

    [added later - my carer was at several of the events, though she avoided anything indoors, and when she realised there were potentially people out and about with Covid she stopped going. However she emailed me to say she tested positive for Covid this morning. I have not seen her since Thursday afternoon, and I am so far testing negative, so fingers crossed. Then later corrected some typos. ]
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2022
    mango, bobbler, Ariel and 15 others like this.
  10. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    yes, there is this, imo ridiculous, thing about 'outdoors = safe'. As if outdoor air was full of disinfectant or something. Like people who wear gloves who act as though if they touch a contaminated surface with their gloves on, the gloves somehow prevent it from being transmitted to the next surface they touch - with the same gloves on. As if the gloves were somehow magic, it drives me potty.

    Last week i could smell, strongly, the aroma of BBQ in my bedroom. I looked out of the window & the garden containing the bbq & a group of about 15 people, was about 50yrds away, i dont know why people think aerosols from a bbq can travel that far but somehow coronavirus just disappears as soon as it gets breathed out into outdoor air. Its so illogical
    :banghead:
     
    mango, Ariel, alktipping and 7 others like this.
  11. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    'Helpfully' in the UK not only have they removed the ability of people who think they may have covid to get tested for free, and any accommodations that were deemed not just sensible, reasonable, and essential, to allow people to isolate should they have covid, but they also went a step further.

    They removed people's ability to assess the likelihood of becoming infected in an area, so that personal judgement could be used to decide if an activity was 'needed' enough to justify itself.

    So now I know, say, that in England 1 in 35 people may be infected, this includes cities, trains, shops, clubs, sports events, etc.

    What I no longer know is how likely I am to encounter someone with covid whilst going to a local shop, or doing anything else, as I'm only allowed to know the average value, across the country, including areas with very high density/mixing.

    As a matter of deliberate policy this information has been removed, probably as a means of 'encouraging' people to behave 'normally', during a pandemic, with a variant that has mostly escaped all of 'our' measures to limit it's spread.

    Or so I read.

    ...and no one says or does anything.

    ...apart from partying and BBQs.
     
    Wits_End, mango, Ariel and 12 others like this.
  12. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I believe that this is a matter of deliberate policy here in the UK where we have a government that has invested significant political capital in having ‘got the big decisions right’, in having ‘got Covid done’. Unfortunately Covid is not done.
     
    Wits_End, bobbler, Ariel and 10 others like this.
  13. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    So weird how a virus is adapting to be fitter at surviving.

    No one could have seen that coming. In the 1850's. Literally no one.
     
    Wits_End, Sean, bobbler and 8 others like this.
  14. Binkie4

    Binkie4 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It's very different from what we were told in 2020.
    Has anyone attempted an explanation for the increasing severity and transmissibility?
     
    Peter Trewhitt likes this.
  15. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Charles Darwin.
     
    Missense, Wyva, rvallee and 4 others like this.
  16. Binkie4

    Binkie4 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thank you @Wonko.

    So covid might lead to the elimination of ME: in no way could we be described as the fittest. I don't think that is the solution we've been looking for.

    Prior infection and the vaccines don't seem to be affecting illness rates as expected with BA. 4 and 5. I keep reading that reinfection can take place extremely fast after prior infection, and vaccination doesn't prevent illness although it might mitigate the consequences.

    This virus seems to be breaking the rules.
     
    Peter Trewhitt likes this.
  17. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    If you go to this page : https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ and scroll down the page there is an option to enter your postcode and find out some data for your local area.
     
  18. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    So my area is at 220 per 100,000 (week prior to 1st July, basically 2 weeks out of date).

    The last figure i had was about a month ago, where it was 70.

    So a fair increase, in roughly 3 weeks.

    None of which is being publicised.

    Over the entire first lockdown the rate per 100,000 was around 30 here.

    Vaccines didn't exist then, now they are, so I am reading, largely ineffective.

    Another couple of successful mutations and with the public health policy we currently have......things may get entertaining.
     
    sebaaa, merylg, Wits_End and 5 others like this.
  19. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    You may have missed my point, evolution of the virus is why the virus is still going, and why it must become better at spreading, if it is to survive.

    We alter something in our behaviour, the virus evolves to survive us doing that, and as mutations are essentially random, may well pick up other 'new' characteristics at the same time as becoming better at spreading, hardier, that sort of thing.

    The more we make life 'difficult' for it the greater the evolutionary pressure for the virus to mutate - unless we make life so difficult for it it can't successfully mutate it's way out of it, and it is 'unsuccessful'.

    Of course the fewer gazillion viruses out there, in the least hosts, the less chance of any one mutation helping the virus (as a population) - but that boat has sailed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2022
    Hutan, Amw66, Binkie4 and 3 others like this.
  20. LarsSG

    LarsSG Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Early data seems to show vaccine effectiveness against BA.4 & BA.5 is about the same as against BA.2 (about 50% against infection for people boosted more than a few months ago). There are definitely some people who are getting re-infected quite soon with the next variant, but I don't think we have any good data on how common this is yet. I'm sure prior infection, especially Omicron, does something, just not as much as we'd like.

    I think it's more that we're giving the virus plenty of opportunity and selective pressure to evolve very rapidly for immune escape and transmission. Some viruses have high mutation rates and we're just letting Covid do its thing very quickly on a global scale with predictable results. More infections = faster evolution. Turns out all the herd immunity talk in 2020 and 2021 was bunk.
     
    Hutan, Helene, Wyva and 7 others like this.

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