I’m back home in the Netherlands and finally managed to fix my broken comment page. You can all comment again and most of your comments have been restored. This whole site hangs together with linen threads and duct-tape, it is forever one PHP update or database overflow away from imploding into a giant pile of rubble. Such is life.
The lungs adjust quite well to this brave new world, the brain not so much. It’s a general principle of biology that nervous tissue is much worse at repairing itself than our other tissues. We also know that SARS2 is evolving towards greater neurotropism: The antibodies are bad at crossing a well-functioning healthy blood-brain barrier, so the brain is a great hiding place now that almost everyone has antibodies.
One thing we observed however, is that Dutch people under 25 do not report an increase in memory problems. This is relatively simple to explain: People under the age of 25 have increased cognitive reserve. The brain is overengineered, so that mild insults that can happen throughout life don’t mean that a 30 year old mother suddenly fails to remember to feed her children. It’s once we grow old, once we’ve moved past the age at which we can still contribute to the well-being of our offspring, when things start decaying pretty rapidly.
However, young people can be expected to suffer from other problems. As an example, what is depression? Severe depression is essentially an inflammatory condition in the brain. As the brain of teenagers is infected by SARS2 you can expect to see all sorts of inflammatory signaling, as the brain’s own immune cells try to stop the infection from spreading and clean up the damage. You may expect an increase in severe depression as a result. About 40% of people report developing depression within half a year after catching COVID.
What do we see in teenagers? Once again, we’ll look at the numbers the Dutch RIVM is reporting:
These are the numbers of teenagers reporting serious thoughts of suicide. There’s a clear rise visible in this data. It begins once we enter the Omicron era of constant mass infection (December 2021). Note how the elevation remains visible by march 2023. This is rather weird, if you want to attribute all this misery to the lockdowns. My explanation is pretty simple: A bunch of teenagers now suffer from severe immune abnormalities in their brains. In half a year, we saw a sudden doubling in the number of teenagers reporting thoughts of suicide. How can such a thing happen?
Here we have teenagers reporting they often feel stressed:
Again, it peaks in march 2022 and remains elevated afterwards. You can’t reasonably blame this on the lockdowns.
Instead, it’s time to acknowledge the simple fact that through a failed pandemic strategy, the world has bred itself a formidable foe.
With mass vaccination, you have created a situation in which there isn’t really any discrimination against virulent variants of SARS2.
The immune system is pretty picky about the regions it deploys antibodies against in the unvaccinated:
And importantly, the regions it picked differed from person to person, so that any single amino acid change would not suddenly give a massive growth advantage to novel variants. For the vaccine, it didn’t work like that.
So what sort of regions does it hit?
Well you can see that the RBD is hit at different places in the naturally immune in the image above, whereas the RBD isn’t really targeted in the vaccinated. The places where the RBD is immunogenic tend to resemble all sorts of nasty virulence associated proteins observed in other organisms. And you would expect those places to be associated with virulence for SARS2 too.
In other words, we could have expected antibodies to help discriminate against virulence, if we hadn’t caused the whole population to have very high levels of antibodies induced by vaccination.
More importantly however, strong NK cell immunity would discriminate against virulence, as amply documented on my blog. And unlike our antibody response, which is supposed to only last for a short while after mild infections so that variants can’t adjust to it, the NK cells will stick around.
What gave us the low virulence BA.1 and BA.2 variants was not our own success in fighting SARS2: It was a consequence of the virus jumping from rodent species into our species. A hundred percent of rodents that get the original COVID tend to die in studies, whereas zero percent die from Omicron. It’s difficult to pass on a virus with a 100% mortality rate, so Omicron really looks like it evolved so that the fatality rate in rodents would be lower. We simply got lucky.
Since BA.1, we have seen virulence steadily increase again, with XBB.1.16 particularly showing signs of high virulence (pink eye suggests high neurovirulence). Note: This high neurovirulence probably won’t show up in the form of hospitalizations with lung problems.
Rather, it shows up in the sort of mental health problems that we now see exploding in the Dutch population: Increased forgetfulness in adults, increased suicidality in youth, increased cases of dementia etc.
As other studies have demonstrated, in the absence of selective immune pressures, evolution of SARS2 moves towards greater virulence.
Well, guess what: You morons have DESTROYED the sort of selective immune pressure that favors mild strains over virulent strains. The reward you harvested is the neurovirulent BA.5 strain and now the neurovirulent XBB.1.16 strain preparing to hit the world as we speak. As long as the wall of antibodies succeeds at stopping these variants from spreading, the wall simply encourages the breeding of even more virulent variants, until the wall eventually wanes.
The population’s collective immune response needs to be selecting AGAINST virulence, through strong NK cell immunity and a modest mostly transient antibody response against virulence associated epitopes.
None of your previous vaccines had to take this into consideration, because those vaccines always succeeded at just wiping out a pathogen: Measles vaccination means no more measles, polio vaccination means no more polio, etc. With these vaccines that fail to stop transmission, you need to take into consideration how they affect the evolution of virulence. Well guess what: There has been exactly zero effort to make sure that once these vaccines fail to stop transmission they will still discriminate against virulent variants.
And now we’re reaping the reward for our stupidity.