It looks like the vaccine is not working in South Africa

I’ve noticed that people tend to be quite willing to speak honestly about the vaccines, when they haven’t realized the implications themselves yet. Consider this quote from a South African doctor in Gauteng:

From mainstream media, to the vaccine developers, to those who reject the “new normal”, almost everyone is very eager right now to craft a narrative where this new variant is hyped up. Unfortunately that’s hard to reconcile with what the doctors in Gauteng are reporting. What they are reporting however, is also hard to reconcile with the idea of an effective vaccine.

If you see that 65% of patients are not vaccinated, you’ll assume “the vaccines are still working quite well against this new variant”. That is, until you remember that this is South Africa we’re speaking about, where most young adults are not vaccinated. Fortunately they keep proper statistics, which you can find here. Apparently the patients now are young adults, so I selected the 18-49 cohort and looked at the vaccination rate in Gauteng. Here’s the result:

So, we have 65% who are unvaccinated, most of the rest are half vaccinated and some are fully vaccinated. The graph I’m showing you above includes everyone in this age category who received at least one vaccine:

In other words, it includes the partially vaccinated people. So 35% of Gauteng’s hospitalized patients are partially or fully vaccinated. For the relevant age cohort, the partially or fully vaccinated percentage is 32%. What does that look like to you? To me it looks like the vaccine has no significant effect on your risk of being hospitalized by this variant.

Keep in mind, the information I’m giving you here is merely a derivative of the information we were given by a hospital worker in South Africa. If the head of the ICU is wrong or their hospital is not representative of the overall situation, then everything else I wrote here is useless too. But if we can trust the information we receive, then this doesn’t look good.

Antibody dependent enhancement can be an issue in people who were vaccinated or went through a natural infection. However, there’s an apparent issue vaccinated people face to a far worse degree than people who went through a natural infection: Original antigenic sin.

Original antigenic sin is the term used to refer to the problems the immune system faces in responding to new threats after exposure to previous threats that looked similar to the new threat. The response to the new threat often ends up less effective than it would have been if it had never been exposed to the previous threat.

A natural infection will encourage your body to recognize almost all proteins in the virus. The vaccine encourages your body to produce an immune response focused entirely on the spike protein, because it only makes your cells produce the spike protein. Why the vaccine developers went for this strange new approach whereas India and China are giving their people vaccines based on the whole virus is a mystery to me.

If you get exposed to the virus after receiving these Western vaccines, your body doesn’t learn to focus on the other proteins like the Nucleocapsid protein. Because the antibodies against the Spike protein immediately jump on the opportunity when this virus enters your body, you never really develop the opportunity to develop broad immunity again. With the boosters, you also cause a reduction in breadth in antibodies focused on the Spike protein, making it more difficult for your immune system to respond to variants that have undergone mutations in the Spike protein.

If that’s the issue we face with this new Omikron variant, you would expect the outcome to be that vaccinated people can’t really fight off this virus: Their body is stuck responding with an ineffective immune response against the Spike protein. What will be really interesting is to see what the rates of survival are going to be in South Africa for hospitalized patients who are vaccinated and for those who are not vaccinated.

I would personally expect that the survival rates for vaccinated people who are hospitalized are going to be lower. You already tend to see this in the United Kingdom: Vaccinated people are underrepresented among those who are hospitalized, but over-represented among hospitalized patients who die.

To boil this down in simple English: When the vaccine induced immune response is not good enough to keep you from getting sick it actually generally ends up making you sicker, because it prevents your body from coming up with an immune response that does work.

If we see no evidence of vaccinated South Africans in hospitals dying at higher rates than unvaccinated hospitalized patients in the next few weeks, that doesn’t mean we’re in the clear yet: South Africa was pretty late with vaccinating its young adults. They have a far higher share of the population who went through a natural infection before being vaccinated than countries like Germany and Australia, that succeeded for a long time in keeping infections rare. It’s the people who were never exposed to this virus before receiving this vaccine who are most vulnerable to new variants.

In addition, South Africa doesn’t have something that is now unfortunately quite common in much of Europe: The phenomenon of the triple vaccinated elderly. As mentioned earlier, the third injection causes a decrease in breadth of the immune response against the Spike protein.

This makes perfect sense of course: If you continually expose your immune system to massive doses of an alien protein that continually looks identical to previous exposures to that alien protein, your immune system will optimize itself to defend against that particular version of the protein.

Israel is going to ban all foreigners from entering the country. That’s kind of hard to reconcile with the idea of this vaccine being our ticket back to normal, but it very much fits the warning from scientists like Geert van den Bossche, who warned us that these vaccines turn us into sitting ducks for new variants.

I will repeat what I have argued earlier: As long as we have no way to repair the immune response of vaccinated people, who are now stuck with immune systems that are focused on an old version of the spike protein found in the initial strain of the virus, the only real solution we have is to encourage mass migration, to build a big shield around the vaccinated minority of the world’s population. Vaccinated people, particularly vaccinated elderly, should migrate to places where vaccinated people are still a minority of the population.

 

17 Comments

  1. Could a re-vaccination/boosting with a whole inactivated/attenuated virus be a solution to the OAS issue for the vaccinated? What do you think?
    In that case the immune system might adapt to create AB targeting also the Nucleocapsid proteins of the virus.
    As a partial covid protection it would be excellent to get a fresh OC43 infection. OC43 causes only mild cold symptoms and it has been shown some cross reactivity of OC43 antibodies against the corona virus, including variants.

    • Yes, vaccination with other lady parts of the virus would help. After injecting, the immune cells take these parts to lymph nodes and wait for fitting antibodies to randomly sail by. They then mass produce those antibodies and save them in their memory. Upon next infection, the body should have a larger variety of antibodies at it’s disposal.

      • This generally means that one should be better off if one gets infected after being vaccinated. Doesn’t square with the assumption that the OAS effect in the vaccinated prevents them from producing more effective neutralising ABs.
        I guess it is not so deterministic: the OAS issue might hit some percentage of the vaccinated depending for example on how far in the past they got their last shot.

        • Yes, one natural infection after vaccination would also give you some other antibodies. You’ll still have higher levels of vaccine-antibodies though, and possibly more different ones just for the S-protein than for the entire rest of the virus.

          The OAS likely does not so much depend on time, as it’s mostly about newly produced antibodies, rather than existing titers. In other words, even if your titer is low, the body still remembers the vaccine-antibodies more strongly than any others, and will produce those before any others. If they are ineffective, that will cause a delay in getting rid of the virus. Eventually, the body will also build other antibodies, and you should be fine. Unless you have a weak immune system.

          As everything else in Biology, it’s not deterministic. It will also depend on which antibodies you have (slightly different for every individual, even if the target is the same), and if those bind, weakly bind or don’t bind at all. If they don’t bind at all to a new spike protein, there will be no OAS.

          • There was a report by the english blood bank on antibodies. basically before vaccination anti-bodies against the spike (S) and the nucleocapsid (N) were found in the same increasing (with infections) rate. After mass vaccinations, the N antibodies stayed flat where the S antibodies reached ±90ish %.

            Since there are known ongoing natural infections yet the percentage N antibodies is not increasing, this points to OAS. Most immune systems are not generating N antibodies when a vaccinated person was infected. This is the is basically what OAS would look like.

            So no. Getting an infection, or whole virus vaccine, after being fully vaccinated does not appear to the immune system changing its antibodies. OAS. Perhaps after sufficient (don’t know how long >6 months) time has passed the body would “forget” and OAS would no longer be a thing.

            As long as the current S antibodies function against the virus (or whole virus vaccine) the body is likely to keep exclusively using them. So perhaps using a vaccine only using the nucleocapsid part would get around the OAS of the S protein.

  2. Thanks for your research. Given that “partially vaccinated” now means in some countries those who have had 2 doses, then if these figures from that South African hospital reflect a trend, we can expect that the large cohort of Europeans who had their last dose about 4-6 months ago may also find that their jab offers them little or no benefit against this variant. But even before the Omicron appeared on the scene, we were starting to suspect that these “vaccines” were not doing what they said on the tin. Countries like Portugal – with more than 80% coverage – were bringing in restrictions. You were right, months back. This winter is going to be a shitshow. At best the people who are running the show are drunk with power and desperately trying to control the narrative. However I still harbour suspicions that their motives are actually malign.

    • “not doing what they said on the tin”
      I love that expression, from the Ronseal Quick-drying Varnish advert.
      What gets me is people who just assumed a vaccine would
      1) work
      2) not have any unpleasant unforeseen side effects.
      I brought that up with relatives, acquaintances. Did they thank me for trying to broaden the debate? Of course not.

      Re.trying to “save” tons of elderly people I thought up an analogy talking to my mum. If you buy an old rickety bike for £30 which is crap but still goes, you should just ride it while you can. If the back wheel makes an annoying rattle you just leave it. It would be foolish to buy a new back axle, bearings, grease etc. You might disassemble the back hub and not even be able to reassemble it! And that’s your reward for tinkering. That’s your reward for sailing too far north around icebergs, as Kaczynsky would say.

      • The vaccines are genetic manipulation in humans. Now the new COVID drug is mutagenic. Somehow we can’t have normal pharmaceuticals any more.

  3. Interesting fact is that the Merck covid pill thats muttering was going through human trials in South Africa. This per Merck’s website. But I note it was trailed in other countries to.
    Could there be a link with the sudden evolution of omicron?

  4. Why the vaccine developers went for this strange new approach whereas India and China are giving their people vaccines based on the whole virus is a mystery to me.

    Could have been because of https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18941225/ “Prior immunization with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) nucleocapsid protein causes severe pneumonia in mice infected with SARS-CoV “

    • Yeah for sure. But the assumption that the spike would be better has not been proven.
      I just wonder what the implications of this are for the Valneva vaccine which is an attenuated whole virus.

  5. People treat science as a monolith, as though every piece of data known by any scientist is known by the entire establishment.

    What I’ve observed over the past two years is that no, science is a data *pipeline*, preferentially aggregating some data and suppressing other data, while remaining completely unaware of a third set.

    Basically the scientific establishment internally operates like Reddit, with all the problems that go along with it.

    Just as every sub becomes a sclerotic circlejerk with a party line that Thou Shalt Not Violate, so goes mainstream science. The nutters were right all along, except now the scientists intend to actually directly run our lives. They don’t want us to have the choice anymore to just blow them off.

    • My stock response to someone who uses the phrase “the science” is asking them why they don’t believe The Politics.

      “What do you mean? You know, the politics. The unanimous conclusion reached by our politicians, of course.”

      “You really think you know better than the experts? What, your internet communists who read a bit of Marxist theory are more qualified than those who went to school for and dedicated their lives to politics and working in government?”

      Works with The Religion too; yeah, like you know better than theologians and apologetics who spent their entire lives tirelessly studying the subject on account of shit you saw on the internet, just listen to the experts pal.

      It’s crazy (although not surprising) to me how punks, anarchists, and communists everywhere are not only so willing but so eager to submit and comply—seems like any revolution could be squashed overnight by the government simply informing them that the experts are against it (to say nothing of the fact that those in the government, again, are basically the “experts” in their respective field).

      • It surprises you? These people hate Western society, and themselves. They will happily buy into any religion that paints them as sinners, gives them a chance to repent and burn down everything to start anew. They simply can’t deal with the fact that nature is cruel, and that even though a meritocratic system is based on the survival of the fittest, it’s still much more gentle than the real thing we find in the jungle. But it’s easier to complain than to work, easier to destroy a system and pick up the pieces, and feel like you have earned them.

        These people will get an update on their believes soon. They will realize their error when the smartphone dies down and the heater doesn’t work, and they have to admit that they don’t know how to get food when the grocery store is closed.

        Nothing more humbling than a good freeze and starve. Of course at that point, for many it will be too late. So prepare yourself.

  6. What is the actual mechanism of original antigenic sin?

    Is it that the virus has changed, say, the S protein enough that antibodies no longer bind so well but memory cells can still recognize it and churn out more antibodies for the original S protein?

    • You got that exactly right, Crew. The antibodies still need to bind (otherwise no OAS), but in order for it to be a problem, they would have to bind weakly (i.e. be ineffective). Even then, I assume the body would build other antibodies during the course of the disease. It’s questionable whether OAS is in itself actually a threat to your health, or if it just negates any advantages you had from vaccination. Since vaccinated people who get infected still build some other antibodies, clearly the body is able to handle it. True, wasting resources on weakly-binding, ineffective antibodies is not going to improve virus clearance. But does it impair it in any meaningful way? That’s a bit harder to say.

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