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Links for 2022-03-31

  • The three big myths about Omicron

    These bear repeating, despite being known since January. This is quite a failure by our media, IMO. The 3 myths are: “endemic doesn’t mean mild; covid is not evolving to become milder; vaccinations are not ‘finished'”.

    (tags: covid-19 uk ireland omicron sars-cov-2 pandemics health)

  • We can’t rely on boosters to get through each new wave of Covid

    This is very worrying, given our government’s current “just boosters” strategy for dealing with COVID-19:

    We are living in a precarious truce imposed through frequent mRNA boosters to keep the viral caseload “manageable”. But there are signs this isn’t sustainable, and that a strategy simply consisting of boosters in perpetuity may not be fit for purpose. Recent case surges in Hong Kong, Denmark and Scotland emphasise the fragility of that balance. And new evidence from the past two years suggests that encounters with different variants of Covid or different vaccine types can alter the effectiveness of later jabs in surprising ways – an effect called immune imprinting. This raises the possibility that booster performance could be even less predictable and effective in the future. Sars-CoV-2 began as a single variant, which we term the Wuhan strain. But we now inhabit a world where no two people share precisely the same exposure history: we have never been infected, or were asymptomatically, mildly or severely infected during any or a combination of the Wuhan to Alpha, Delta, Omicron or BA.2 waves, and we’ve all had somewhere from zero to four doses of diverse vaccines. The combination of these exposures gives each of us a unique immune memory repertoire.
    The author is Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London.

    (tags: covid-19 boosters vaccines vaccination immunology sars-cov-2 variants immune-imprinting)

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