When will the COVID Virus go away?

The bad news is that it looks like that the virus is NOT going away any time soon.

COVID Vaccination has been tremendously successful in preventing people from getting severe disease.

A couple of months back, it was hoped that “Herd immunity” (Wide spread protection) caused by Vaccination would make the virus go away.

But recent news from Massachusetts, USA indicates that Vaccination is NOT going to produce herd immunity and make the virus go away.

Lot of Vaccinated people do get infected and the only good news is that “the vaccines offer strong protection against severe disease”

China fights to contain a new outbreak in Wuhan now. There is a possibility of further outbreaks elsewhere as well. That can create favourable conditions for new variants to emerge .

So don’t be surprised if new variants emerge in winter and COVID is still the headline news early next year !

References

BMJ. Covid-19: Delta infections threaten herd immunity vaccine strategy
BMJ 2021; 374 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1933 (Published 02 August 2021)
Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n1933

BBC news. 3Aug 2021. Wuhan: Chinese city to test entire population after virus resurfaces
By Yvette Tan

BBC. Covid: ‘Israel may be reaching herd immunity’
By Rachel Schraer
Health reporter
Published14 April

BMJ News
Covid-19: What new variants are emerging and how are they being investigated?
BMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n158 (Published 18 January 2021)
Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n158

Disclaimer: Please note – This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is NOT a expert medical opinion on various topics. This blog is purely for information only and do check the sources where cited. Please DO consult your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant to you. The views expressed in this blog are NOT, in way whatsoever, intended to be a substitute for professional advice. The blog is NOT previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed, in any way, by any organisation that the author is associated with. The views expressed in this blog likely represents some of the author’s personal views held at the time of drafting the blog and MAY CHANGE overtime, particularly when new evidence comes to light.

Why COVID Vaccine boosters may be necessary during winter ?

Vaccine boosters may be offered to adults, particularly vulnerable adults, during this winter.

Why?

Two reasons.

1. The amount of protective antibodies produced by a person’s body after vaccination seem to fall after a few months. This may mean that that some protection is lost and that some vaccinated people may become more vulnerable to COVID infection during the winter wave. A booster would benefit.

2. The COVID vaccines may also have reduced protection against new variants. A booster using an updated vaccine may give better protection.

References

Guardian. Vaccines and immunisation.
UK scientists back Covid boosters as study finds post-jab falls in antibodies
Exclusive: Waning antibody levels are possible warning sign of lower protection in months after vaccination.
Ian Sample Science editor
@iansample
Thu 22 Jul 2021 12.45 BST

Guardian. Rates of double-jabbed people in hospital will grow – but that does not mean Covid vaccines are failing.
Ian Sample Science editor
@iansample
Thu 22 Jul 2021 16.34 BST

Daily Mail. Pfizer says booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine extends protection and is being updated to target Indian ‘Delta’ variant. By Mary Kekatos Acting U.S. Health Editor For Dailymail.Com
22:23, 08 Jul 2021 , updated 23:32, 08 Jul 2021

Daily Mail. Are these the numbers scaring Boris? Study shows 29% of the 42 people who have died after catching the new strain had BOTH vaccinations as cases soar another 40%. By James Robinson for MailOnline
14:08, 13 Jun 2021 , updated 12:22, 14 Jun 2021

How long does covid-19 immunity last?
BMJ 2021; 373 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1605 (Published 30 June 2021)
Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1605

Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is NOT a expert medical opinion on various topics. This blog is purely for information only and do check the sources where cited. Please DO consult your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant to you. The views expressed in this blog represent the author’s personal views held at the time of drafting the blog and may change overtime, particularly when new evidence comes to light. The blog is NOT previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any organisation that the author is associated with. The views expressed in this blog are NOT, in way whatsoever, intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

Can someone who had both COVID vaccines still die from COVID-19?

Yes, even after having both the vaccines, there is still a small risk of dying from COVID-19

Why?

This is because the vaccines are not 100% effective.

People who had both the vaccines can still get COVID-19 infection. A unlucky few of those who get an infection can still die from COVID-19.

Recent reports indicate that about half of deaths in U.K. are in people who had at least one dose of COVID vaccine.

The good thing is that the overall number of deaths is VERY LOW compared to the high number of deaths at the peak of pandemic when vaccines were not available.

Vast majority of infections do still occur in the unvaccinated individuals. ( PHE document- page 13 & 14)

The Guardian newspaper has got a good article on this topic.

One has to hope that vaccines do NOT lose their effectiveness over time.

We have to hope that more new variants do NOT emerge as there is a possibility that Vaccines may be less effective against new variants emerging in future.

References

Guardian.
Why most people who now die with Covid in England have been vaccinated
David Spiegelhalter and Anthony Masters
Sun 27 Jun 2021 08.00 BST

Daily Mail. Are these the numbers scaring Boris? Study shows 29% of the 42 people who have died after catching the new strain had BOTH vaccinations as cases soar another 40%. By James Robinson for MailOnline
14:08, 13 Jun 2021 , updated 12:22, 14 Jun 2021

Public Health England. Research and analysis
Investigation of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern: technical briefings.
Technical briefing documents on novel SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Last updated 25 June 2021. (page 13 and 14)

Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is NOT a expert medical opinion on various topics. This blog is purely for information only and do check the sources where cited. Please DO consult your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant to you. The views expressed in this blog represent the author’s views held at the time of drafting the blog and may change overtime, particularly when new evidence comes to light. The blog is not previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any organisation that the author is associated with. The views expressed in this blog are not, in way whatsoever, intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

Was the Kent variant more dangerous than the original Wuhan variant ?

Yes, the Kent variant who got a foothold in December was far more dangerous.

A recent study in BMJ reports that “the risk of hospital admission is higher” for people infected with the Kent variant compared with the original wild-type Wuhan variant of Coronavirus.

This higher severity seems to be specific to adults older than 30 years.

The current variant spreading in U.K. (delta a.k.a Indian variant) may not cause widespread havoc, like the Kent variant, due to the lock down and wide spread vaccination.

One has to hope that we do not get any variants that breaks the protective shield of COVID vaccines.

BMJ Risk of hospital admission for patients with SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7: cohort analysis
BMJ 2021; 373 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1412 (Published 15 June 2021)
Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1412

Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is NOT a expert medical opinion on various topics. This blog is purely for information only and do check the sources where cited. Please DO consult your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant to you. The views expressed in this blog represent the author’s views held at the time of drafting the blog and may change overtime, particularly when new evidence comes to light. The blog is not previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any organisation that the author is associated with. The views expressed in this blog are not, in way whatsoever, intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

How effective are the COVID vaccines against the new Indian variant?

Everyone in U.K. hoped that we have turned the corner with this pandemic after the recent spike in infection from the Kent Variant,

But now comes the Variant from India. (the scientific name is B1.617.2 variant of concern).

The Indian variant appears to be more transmissible but no evidence yet that the Indian variant is inherently more deadly than the Kent variant.

Naturally, we are in a better place now than last year because of the vaccination.

But there is some evidence that spontaneous changes (mutations) in the B.1.617.2 variant virus may make it partially resistant to antibodies produced by vaccines.

So how effective are the current vaccines against this Variant from India?

Lab testing shows that the current vaccines can be still effective against the Indian variant but may not be highly effective as it is against the Kent/U.K. variant.

PHE data shows that after two doses, Pfizer vaccine is 88% effective against Indian variant compared to 93% effectiveness against the Kent strain.

After two doses, AstraZeneca jab is 60% effective against Indian variant compared to 66% effectiveness against the Kent variant.

But after the first dose, both vaccines were only 33% effective against Indian variant compared to around 50% efficacy against the Kent strain.

The vaccine protection is better with two doses of vaccine and that’s why the Govt is speeding up second vaccine dose in affected areas.

Fingers crossed, hope this strategy works !

References

BMJ. Covid-19: Caution urged while lockdown eases in England because of vaccine success
BMJ 2021; 373 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1203 (Published 11 May 2021)
Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1203

BMJ News Covid-19: UK cases of variant from India rise by 160% in a week
BMJ 2021; 373 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1315 (Published 21 May 2021)
Cite this as: BMJ 2021;373:n1315

U.K. Govt. Most vulnerable offered second dose of COVID-19 vaccine earlier to help protect against variants. From: Department of Health and Social Care. Published 14 May 2021

Telegraph: Two doses of AstraZeneca vaccine provide over 80 per cent protection against Indian variant, PHE study finds.

Guardian. India Covid variant: is it a threat to the UK’s reopening plans?
Ian Sample Science editor
@iansample
Fri 14 May 2021 11.19 BST

Daily Mail. UK is in a ‘very good position’ against Covid variants as Pfizer says there is NO proof current jab needs updating to fight mutant strains. By Luke Andrews Health Reporter For Mailonline
16:30, 10 May 2021 , updated 18:12, 10 May 2021

Daily Mail. How deadly is India’s Covid variant and is it REALLY behind explosion of cases? Scientists say ‘perfect storm’ fuelled nation’s crisis and mutant strain just had a ‘head-start’ – as study shows vaccines DO work against it. By Connor Boyd Assistant Health Editor For Mailonline
16:26, 27 Apr 2021 , updated 08:17, 28 Apr 2021

Collier, DA et al. SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 sensitivity to mRNA vaccine-elicited antibodies. Nature; 11 March 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03412-7

BBC. What is the India Covid variant and will vaccines work?
Soutik Biswas
India correspondent

BBC. Covid: Increasing confidence jabs work against Indian variant
By Doug Faulkner
BBC News

ONS. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK: 21 May 2021 (“early signs of a potential increase in the week ending 15 May 2021”)

BBC. Covid: Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs effective against Indian variant – study
By Dulcie Lee
BBC News

Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is NOT a expert medical opinion on various topics. This blog is purely for information only and do check the sources where cited. Please DO consult your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant to you. The views expressed in this blog represent the author’s views held at the time of drafting the blog and may change overtime, particularly when new evidence comes to light. The blog is not previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any organisation that the author is associated with. The views expressed in this blog are not, in way whatsoever, intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

Here we go again – another new variant that can derail the plans to return to normality in U.K.

The UK is coming out of lockdown and the infection rates, hospital admissions and deaths are reassuringly low.

The vaccination rates are rapidly going up and understandably many people are hoping for some sort of normality very soon.

But a new variant has been detected across the country. The scientists are worried about this new variant of coronavirus- called India variant. This variant can derail government plans in UK.

The current vaccines seem to offer somewhat less protection against this new variant . If this variant takes a strong foothold in UK , then we have to wait a bit longer for normality.

References:

Guardian: India Covid variant: is it a threat to the UK’s reopening plans?
Ian Sample Science editor
@iansample
Thu 13 May 2021 15.35 BST

BBC. Covid: Three cases of Indian variant found in Leicester
Published 28 April.

BBC. Covid: Targeted testing in Nottingham after Indian variant rise. 11 May.

BBC. Covid: Boris Johnson ‘anxious’ about Indian variant
By Hazel Shearing & Joseph Lee
BBC News. 13 May.

BBC. Covid vaccine: How many people in the UK have been vaccinated so far?
By The Visual and Data Journalism Team
BBC News

Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is NOT a expert medical opinion on various topics. This blog is purely for information only and do check the the sources where cited. Please DO consult your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant to you. The views expressed in this blog represent the author’s views held at the time of drafting the blog and may change overtime, particularly when new evidence comes to light. The blog is not previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any organisation the author is associated with. The views expressed in this blog are not in way intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

Is the new variant of COVID-19 Coronavirus more deadly ?

Yes !

The new variant in UK, led to the second National Lockdown. Previously, it was reported that the new UK variant spreads more easily but it was NOT known whether it was more deadly.

Now, new evidence published in BMJ (British Medical Journal) indicates that the new UK variant of Coronavirus is more deadly and causes more deaths.

References for further information.

1.BMJ. Risk of mortality in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern 202012/1: matched cohort study. BMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n579 (Published 10 March 2021)
Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n579

2. Blog. Is the new variant of Coronavirus more dangerous? 20 Dec 2020

3. Daily Mail. UK’s dominant Kent Covid variant is up to TWICE as deadly as older versions of the virus, study claims. By Stephen Matthews Health Editor and Sam Blanchard Deputy Health Editor For Mailonline 12:11, 10 Mar 2021 , updated 18:34, 10 Mar 2021

Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is NOT a expert medical opinion on various topics. This blog is purely for information only and do check the the sources where cited. Please DO consult your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant to you. The views expressed in this blog represent the author’s views held at the time of drafting the blog and may change overtime, particularly when new evidence comes to light. The blog is not previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any organisation the author is associated with. The authors views are not in way intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

Two New Vaccines against COVID-19

More good news on the vaccine front in the fight against the coronavirus.

Two new vaccines have reported positive results.

The NOVAVAX vaccine is first Vaccine to report efficacy against the new variants. It is 95.6% effective against the original strain of coronavirus.

NOVAVAX is 86% effective at protecting against the new UK variant, which is very reassuring. But the Vaccine is only, 60% effective against South African variant of the virus. The efficacy against Brazilian variant is unknown.

The Janssen vaccine, produced by the US giant Johnson & Johnson, is a single-dose vaccine and has proved 66% effective against Covid-19. The vaccine was just 57% effective in the South African part of the trial.

The reduction in efficacy of both vaccines against new variants is a bit worrying and indicates that if further new variants emerge in future, existing vaccines could be less effective and vaccines would need to be updated.

The Janssen vaccine uses a common cold virus and uses a approach similar to the Oxford Astra Zeneca Vaccine.

Novavax vaccine differs from existing vaccines and it uses a artificially produced COVID-19 spike protein, which is then assembled into nanoparticles to make them look like coronavirus.

Bloomberg: Covid Mutations Undercut Optimism Even as More Vaccines Near
By Robert Langreth
30 January 2021, 00:04 GMT
Updated on 30 January 2021, 12:02 GMT

Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is NOT a expert medical opinion on various topics. This blog is purely for information only and do check the the sources where cited. Please DO consult your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant to you.

The views expressed in this blog represent the author’s views held at the time of drafting the blog and may change overtime, particularly when new evidence comes to light. The blog is not previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any organisation the author is associated with. The authors views are not in way intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

A first COVID infection can make the body resistant to second infection for atleast five months

If someone had a COVID-19 Coronavirus infection and has recovered from it, then their body develops resistance to a further second infection

The protection is similar to that provided by vaccination. The UK study found that the protection lasts for atleast five months.

Caveats: It is not known how long the protection will last and the study is ongoing.

While a previously infected is protected against 2nd infection, that person can still carry and transmit virus to others. PHE reports that “early evidence from the next stage of the study suggests that some of these individuals carry high levels of virus and could continue to transmit the virus to others”. So the usual COVID-19 precautions are still needed.

The study involved healthcare workers from hospitals across the UK. The study recruited mainly Young and Middle age people ; it is not known whether the study findings would apply to older age people who are the most vulnerable.

The protection is not 100%. The protective effect was noted for only 83% . So there is still a chance someone who has recovered from the 1st infection might still get a 2nd infection.

The other big concern is “the risk of reinfection from the new Covid variants spotted in the UK, South Africa and Brazil”.

The study continues and more information would be available later this year ”

References:

PHE. Press release. Past COVID-19 infection provides some immunity but people may still carry and transmit virus
Study finds past coronavirus (COVID-19) infection provides some immunity for at least 5 months, but people may still carry and transmit the virus. Published 14 January 2021. Public Health England

Guardian Newspaper. Recovering from Covid gives similar level of protection to vaccine
PHE found immunity from earlier infection provided 83% protection against reinfection for at least 20 weeks.
Ian Sample Science editor. @iansample
Thu 14 Jan 2021 06.00

Daily Mail. Previous coronavirus infection gives people immunity for five months – MORE than the Oxford vaccine, PHE study finds. By Joe Pinkstone For Mailonline
00:01, 14 Jan 2021 , updated 11:54, 14 Jan 2021

Telegraph: Brazilian Covid variant may infect people who have recovered from virus
Scientists find new coronavirus strain has mutated to be more infectious and has changes that help it evade immune system
By Sarah Knapton,
SCIENCE EDITOR
14 January 2021 • 3:00pm

SIREN – SARS-COV2 immunity and reinfection evaluation; The impact of detectable anti SARS-COV2 antibody on the incidence of COVID-19 in healthcare workers.

SIREN protocol: Impact of detectable anti-SARS-CoV-2 on the subsequent incidence of COVID-19 in 100,000 healthcare workers: do antibody positive healthcare workers have less reinfection than antibody negative healthcare workers?

BMJ: Covid-19: Past infection provides 83% protection for five months but may not stop transmission, study finds.
BMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n124 (Published 14 January 2021)
Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n124

Disclaimer: Please note- This blog is NOT medical advice. This blog is purely for information only and do check the the sources where cited. Please DO consult your own doctor to discuss concerns and options relevant to you.

The views expressed in this blog represent the author’s views held at the time of drafting the blog and may change overtime, particularly when new evidence comes to light. The blog is not necessarily endorsed by any organisation the author is associated with and the authors views are not in way intended to be a substitute for professional advice.