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The New Normal - Pandemics of the Vaccinated?
Are we beginning to see further evidence of ADE or OAS occurring in the UK data?
As we all know, the UK produces some excellent, fairly transparent data on SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19; some of the best in the world. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces an infection survey, every couple of weeks or so, which shows the characteristics of people testing positive for COVID-19. Up until the latest release, the results were consistent with a vaccine that worked, albeit one who’s efficacy was waning quickly. Those who received one dose were less likely to test positive for COVID-19 than those not vaccinated. People who reported receiving three vaccinations (including booster vaccinations) were even less likely to test positive than those who had a second dose more than 90 days ago.
That was until Omicron showed up and the latest survey was released today (21 December 2021). This only has a small dataset (1,701 positive individuals, of which 115 tested positive compatible with Omicron) so should be viewed with caution but combined with data emerging from Denmark and Canada, the trend is worrying. El Gato Malo has written about the Danish study here and Alex Berenson about Canada here so I will focus on the UK’s data.
If you are new to the concept of Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE) or Original Antigenic Sin (OAS), then Eugyppius has some very good articles on this subject. In a nutshell, ADE occurs when suboptimal antibodies actually enhance entry into host cells, i.e. they act as a trojan horse to allow the virus an easier pathway into your cells. OAS, on the other hand, is where your immune response is primed to the very first time you encountered a virus. The next time you encounter the same virus or a variant, your immunological memory will only produce antibodies to the original virus your body was primed for. Therefore, the immune system is unable to mount an effective response to new variants because it is “stuck” producing antibodies to the original variant.
These are both issues which have caused problems in previous coronavirus vaccine trials and which many people have been warning about from the beginning of the vaccine rollout.
So, what does the data from the UK tell us today. Firstly, those who have been infected with COVID-19 and become reinfected are more likely to test positive for an infection compatible with the Omicron variant, compared with those who test positive with their first infections. More shockingly, when you delve into the data itself, THE MORE YOU VACCINATE, the more likely you are to get Omicron.
Look at the table above. As the vaccination status increases, the likelihood of testing positive with Omicron increases from 1.57 in one dose individuals, to 2.26 in two dosed and 4.45 in 3 dosed. Due to the small dataset, this is only a modelled likelihood of testing positive with Omicron. This also means the upper and lower confidence intervals are pretty big. However, the upper confidence interval for boosted individuals is 17.03, which is extremely high.
Is this ADE or OAS rearing its ugly head, there is much debate about that online. Is this just a small dataset producing weird results? Maybe but the Danish and Canadian data suggest otherwise.
These data only indicate likelihood of infection, not serious disease or death. However, if this is OAS, is this the New Normal to expect with the most vaccinated individuals most likely to get infected with new variants? Ironically, and worryingly, the most vaccinated individuals are also those most likely to be negatively effected by COVID-19, as the vaccine programme starts with the old and vulnerable. Something to keep a close eye on and which will become clearer over the next few weeks and months.