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Watsisname
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

13 Sep 2021 23:07

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post Is either getting the virus or getting vaccination what will eventually slow the rate of mutation of the virus, Wat?

It's a little complicated. The probability of a mutation per-transmission is roughly constant, and the rate at which new variants (of any kind) appear is roughly proportional to the rate of new infections. So the more rapidly the virus spreads, the more mutations we expect to see. But another effect is that the amount of pressure for variants with certain properties, like being more transmissible, also depends on what we do. For example, social distancing slows the rate of spread, but can increase the rate at which the more transmissible variants outcompete the others. A mostly vaccinated and/or recovered society will likewise mean the rate of spread is very low and the impacts are largely mitigated, but there will exist a stronger selective pressure for variants that can evade prior immunity. 

Another factor to consider is that variants may diverge from one another more if they are transmitted in independent groups. That could be because they dominate in different geographic regions (like northern vs. southern hemisphere), or that one spreads more in children than adults (which we see a lot of now with most adults being vaccinated and kids being back in school). Basically, just think about and apply all the rules of evolution, and you'll have a good understanding of how and why a virus changes over time.

Looking forward, a real possibility is that we end up with variants that are sufficiently different from one another that each vaccine is quite effective against some variants but not so much against others. That is essentially what already happens with the flu. Each year, the vaccine manufacturers try to predict next season's flu behavior and tweak the vaccines accordingly. But they can get it wrong, or the flu variant that dominates in a region may be a different one than expected (there are usually two serious flu variants spreading in each season, named A and B). This is part of what limits flu vaccine efficacy every year. 
 
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midtskogen
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

13 Sep 2021 23:50

A more optimistic outlook would involve a mutation which is highly transmissible but only giving mild or no symptoms whilst also giving immunity against other variants, in which case the population would self-vaccinate.  The problem with that, however, is that after several billion infections, the likelihood of a nasty variant evolving becomes high.  I've seen suggested that the virus could be engineered to have the above properties and then intentionally set loose.  Even if setting the moral issues aside that seems like a particular bad idea precisely because we can't know what it will mutate into.

Do we know better now why some people get seriously ill, even the healthy and young, whilst the vast majority have mild or no symptoms?
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A-L-E-X
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

14 Sep 2021 14:37

Watsisname wrote:
A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post Is either getting the virus or getting vaccination what will eventually slow the rate of mutation of the virus, Wat?

It's a little complicated. The probability of a mutation per-transmission is roughly constant, and the rate at which new variants (of any kind) appear is roughly proportional to the rate of new infections. So the more rapidly the virus spreads, the more mutations we expect to see. But another effect is that the amount of pressure for variants with certain properties, like being more transmissible, also depends on what we do. For example, social distancing slows the rate of spread, but can increase the rate at which the more transmissible variants outcompete the others. A mostly vaccinated and/or recovered society will likewise mean the rate of spread is very low and the impacts are largely mitigated, but there will exist a stronger selective pressure for variants that can evade prior immunity. 

Another factor to consider is that variants may diverge from one another more if they are transmitted in independent groups. That could be because they dominate in different geographic regions (like northern vs. southern hemisphere), or that one spreads more in children than adults (which we see a lot of now with most adults being vaccinated and kids being back in school). Basically, just think about and apply all the rules of evolution, and you'll have a good understanding of how and why a virus changes over time.

Looking forward, a real possibility is that we end up with variants that are sufficiently different from one another that each vaccine is quite effective against some variants but not so much against others. That is essentially what already happens with the flu. Each year, the vaccine manufacturers try to predict next season's flu behavior and tweak the vaccines accordingly. But they can get it wrong, or the flu variant that dominates in a region may be a different one than expected (there are usually two serious flu variants spreading in each season, named A and B). This is part of what limits flu vaccine efficacy every year. 

Thanks, this is fascinating, basically the human population has become a lab in its own right.  It also explains why certain years have spikes in the number of flu cases.....the variants that year must have been more transmissible.  If we use the same model for this virus then even after this pandemic is over we should expect to see spikes and epidemics.  And if we get a more effective mutation one year, it's entirely possible we could have a brand new pandemic that is resistant to known vaccines?
 
A-L-E-X
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

14 Sep 2021 14:39

midtskogen wrote:
A more optimistic outlook would involve a mutation which is highly transmissible but only giving mild or no symptoms whilst also giving immunity against other variants, in which case the population would self-vaccinate.  The problem with that, however, is that after several billion infections, the likelihood of a nasty variant evolving becomes high.  I've seen suggested that the virus could be engineered to have the above properties and then intentionally set loose.  Even if setting the moral issues aside that seems like a particular bad idea precisely because we can't know what it will mutate into.

Do we know better now why some people get seriously ill, even the healthy and young, whilst the vast majority have mild or no symptoms?

I don't think you're paranoid, biological warfare has been investigated in a few of the "super" power nations.
Trying to figure out why some people with no pre-existing conditions get seriously sick and even die (I just found out today of a 20 something year old doctor who died from COVID even though she was fully vaccinated; she suffered a blood clot after getting COVID) may have something to do with how concentrated the virus is in certain communities?
 
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midtskogen
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

15 Sep 2021 04:26

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post I just found out today of a 20 something year old doctor who died from COVID even though she was fully vaccinated; she suffered a blood clot after getting COVID

I thought that was a rare, ill effect of the AZ and J&J vaccines?
So my 13 year old daughter just got out of isolation with covid and she did not feel sick at any point, but I noticed some occasional, light coughing.  No taste or smell loss.  My 15 year old son just got a shot of Pfizer and it sent him shivering to bed, still not feeling good two days after.  Looks like the chances of having few or no symptoms from the disease increases with young age, but it's opposite with the vaccine.  I suspect that for the typical case, the effects of the vaccine are worse than the disease for the youngest, but with the vaccine they avoid the isolation and they get to choose the time.  Mild to moderate, but not serious, effects from the vaccine is more a sure thing, whilst the effects of the disease is more open ended, from nothing to potentially bad.  And of course there is no transmission with the vaccine, so one can say that the vaccine is more for the sake of others than for the children themselves, which kind of raises issues.
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A-L-E-X
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Thread

15 Sep 2021 13:45

midtskogen wrote:
A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post I just found out today of a 20 something year old doctor who died from COVID even though she was fully vaccinated; she suffered a blood clot after getting COVID

I thought that was a rare, ill effect of the AZ and J&J vaccines?
So my 13 year old daughter just got out of isolation with covid and she did not feel sick at any point, but I noticed some occasional, light coughing.  No taste or smell loss.  My 15 year old son just got a shot of Pfizer and it sent him shivering to bed, still not feeling good two days after.  Looks like the chances of having few or no symptoms from the disease increases with young age, but it's opposite with the vaccine.  I suspect that for the typical case, the effects of the vaccine are worse than the disease for the youngest, but with the vaccine they avoid the isolation and they get to choose the time.  Mild to moderate, but not serious, effects from the vaccine is more a sure thing, whilst the effects of the disease is more open ended, from nothing to potentially bad.  And of course there is no transmission with the vaccine, so one can say that the vaccine is more for the sake of others than for the children themselves, which kind of raises issues.

I believe that they will change dosing for the younger age groups and it will be given according to body weight and age.  I had heard that when it does get approved for those under 12 it will be at half the dosage.
I thought blood clots were more a rare side effect of the conventional vaccines, but in this case the vaccinated person got a two dose mRNA vaccine and the blood clot was deemed to be a result of the virus.

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