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The World Health Organization (WHO) Monday elevated India’s COVID variant B.1.617 from a “variant of interest” to a “variant of global concern.” The variant, which was first isolated in India, is believed to be driving the country’s brutal second wave.
Article by Megan Redshaw from Children’s Health Defense.
In a follow-up statement today, the WHO said the B.18.104.22.168 variant has since spread throughout India and at least “44 countries in all six WHO regions.”
Van Kerkhove said the variant may be able to evade some of the protections provided by vaccines, as a surprising number of patients who have already been fully vaccinated have been found to be infected with the strain.
“Even though there is increased transmissibility demonstrated by some preliminary studies, we need much more information about this virus variant in this lineage in all of the sub lineages, so we need more sequencing, targeted sequencing to be done,” Van Kerkhove said.
One version of the variant, which first emerged in the state of Maharashtra in late 2020 or early 2021, was elevated to a “variant of concern” in the UK last week.
Variants are classified as “variants of concern” when there is evidence they spread more rapidly, cause more severe disease, evade previously acquired immunity better than circulating versions of the virus, or reduce the effectiveness of public health measures, vaccines or medications.
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Van Kerkhove said there was nothing to suggest diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines don’t work.
“With millions of people around the world infected with this virus, new mutations arise every day,” Gregg Gonsalves, associate professor of epidemiology at Yale University, said in March. “Unless we vaccinate the world, we leave the playing field open to more and more mutations, which could churn out variants that could evade our current vaccines and require booster shots to deal with them.”
Quarraisha Abdool Karim, associate scientific director of the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa and professor in clinical epidemiology at Columbia University, said scientists, advocates and decision-maker must ensure that as many people are vaccinated all over the world and as soon as possible so that everyone will be safe from COVID and prepared for the next pandemic.
New variant evades Pfizer vaccine
After the WHO’s press conference, the Financial Times reported on a new study that showed the B.1.617 variant has “modest ability” to avoid antibodies elicited by Pfizer’s COVID vaccine, though an extensive vaccination campaign is likely to reduce transmissions.
Research by Ravindra Gupta, a virologist at the University of Cambridge, UK, suggests antibodies are slightly less effective against the variant than against others. The team collected blood serum from nine people who had received one dose of the Pfizer vaccine and tested it against a harmless carrier virus modified to contain the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, with the mutations from B.1.617.
Gupta’s team discovered neutralizing antibodies generated by vaccinated individuals were about 80% less potent against some of the mutations in B.1.617. Researchers also found that healthcare workers in Delhi vaccinated with the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine were reinfected mostly with the B.1.617 variant.
A German team tested serum from 15 people who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, and found their antibodies neutralized B.1.617 about 50% less effectively than previously circulating strains. When they tested serum from participants who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, they found antibodies were about 67% less potent against B.1.617.
According to vaccinologist Philip Krause, chair of the WHO working group on COVID-19 vaccines, if vaccine-resistant SARS-CoV-2 strains emerge, vaccines might need to be updated and regulators might balk at authorizing them without seeing updated safety and efficacy data. If new variants circulate alongside older strains, multivalent vaccines, effective against several lineages, might be needed.
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“The not-so-good news is that the rapid evolution of these variants suggests that if it is possible for the virus to evolve into a vaccine-resistant phenotype, this may happen sooner than we like,” said Krause.
Mass vaccination could cause highly infectious variants
Geert Vanden Bossche, Ph.D., certified expert in biology and virology and seasoned vaccine developer who’s worked with GSK Biologicals, Novartis Vaccines, Solvay Biologicals and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, argued in a letter to the WHO that mass infection prevention and mass vaccination with leaky COVID-19 vaccines in the midst of the pandemic will only breed highly infectious variants.
Vanden Bossche’s concerns center around the notion that a combination of lockdowns and extreme selection pressure on the virus induced by the intense global mass vaccination program might diminish the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the short-term, but ultimately could induce the creation of more concerning mutants.
Selection pressure will cause greater convergence in mutations that affect the critical spike protein of the virus that is responsible for breaking through the mucosal surfaces of our airways, the route used by the virus to enter the human body. The virus will outsmart the highly specific antigen-based vaccines that are being used and tweaked, dependent on the circulating variants leading to an increase in serious and potentially lethal cases — in effect, an out-of-control pandemic.
This is the result of what Vanden Bossche calls “immune escape” — incomplete sterilization of the virus by the human immune system or following vaccination resulting in more people who have had COVID remaining susceptible to reinfection.
Immune escape induces vaccine companies to further refine vaccines that will add, not reduce, the selection pressure, producing ever more transmissible and potentially deadly variants.
“There can be no doubt that continued mass vaccination campaigns will enable new, more infectious viral variants to become increasingly dominant and ultimately result in a dramatic incline in new cases despite enhanced vaccine coverage rates,” Vanden Bossche said. He added that mass vaccination could “lead to complete resistance of circulating variants to the current vaccines.”
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‘The Purge’ by Big Tech targets conservatives, including us
Just when we thought the Covid-19 lockdowns were ending and our ability to stay afloat was improving, censorship reared its ugly head.
For the last few months, NOQ Report, Conservative Playbook, and the American Conservative Movement have appealed to our readers for assistance in staying afloat through Covid-19 lockdowns. The downturn in the economy has limited our ability to generate proper ad revenue just as our traffic was skyrocketing. We had our first sustained stretch of three months with over a million visitors in November, December, and January, but February saw a dip.
It wasn’t just the shortened month. We expected that. We also expected the continuation of dropping traffic from “woke” Big Tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but it has actually been much worse than anticipated. Our Twitter account was banned. Both of our YouTube accounts were banned. Facebook “fact-checks” everything we post. Spotify canceled us. Medium canceled us. Apple canceled us. Why? Because we believe in the truth prevailing, and that means we will continue to discuss “taboo” topics.
The 2020 presidential election was stolen. You can’t say that on Big Tech platforms without risking cancellation, but we’d rather get cancelled for telling the truth rather than staying around to repeat mainstream media’s lies. They have been covering it up since before the election and they’ve convinced the vast majority of conservative news outlets that they will be harmed if they continue to discuss voter fraud. We refuse to back down. The truth is the truth.
The lies associated with Covid-19 are only slightly more prevalent than the suppression of valid scientific information that runs counter to the prescribed narrative. We should be allowed to ask questions about the vaccines, for example, as there is ample evidence for concern. One does not have to be an “anti-vaxxer” in order to want answers about vaccines that are still considered experimental and that have a track record in a short period of time of having side-effects, including death. One of our stories about the Johnson & Johnson “vaccine” causing blood clots was “fact-checked” and removed one day before the government hit the brakes on it. These questions and news items are not allowed on Big Tech which is just another reason we are getting canceled.
There are more topics that they refuse to allow. In turn, we refuse to stop discussing them. This is why we desperately need your help. The best way NOQ, CP, and ACM readers can help is to donate. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well. We are on track to be short by about $4100 per month in order to maintain operations.
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During that four-month stretch, Twitter and Facebook accounted for about 20% of our traffic. We are actively working on operating as if that traffic is zero, replacing it with platforms that operate more freely such as Gab, Parler, and others. While we were never as dependent on Big Tech as most conservative sites, we’d like to be completely free from them. That doesn’t mean we will block them, but we refuse to be beholden to companies that absolutely despise us simply because of our political ideology.
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We Often Feel Like David Taking on Giants
Today’s Goliath is the Mainstream Media Industrial Complex that brainwashes the masses.
Our mission is very straightforward: To counter the false narratives and nefarious agendas destroying America today. It isn’t easy for obvious reasons; despite incredible growth over the last year we are still a very tiny fish in a huge media pond. But we’re fighting and we will continue to do so, Lord willing, for as long as we possibly can. The battle for America’s present and future is too important for us to back down to the giants that stand in our way.
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