Monday, January 10, 2022

Reduction of function?


Just before the weekend Dr John Campbell was describing Omicron as an "unstoppable" global inoculation heading everyone's way, explicitly noting that he expected to contract it himself despite all the precautions he has taken up to now. 

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the vlog occurs towards the end when he addresses correspondence enquiring if Omicron could have been produced in a lab (using mice) by scientists attempting to design a SARS-Cov-2 variant with loss-of-function i.e. much more transmissible yet much less pathogenetic. 

This is arguably the most intelligent thing any cabal of pointy heads could have been getting up to during the last two quarters of last year, though of course they'd never be able to admit it, owing to the individual tragedies that the media would pounce on with relish. 

In one stroke such a secret stratagem would have done away with the 2021 phenomenon of ever more dangerous sepas consistently cropping up in parts of the world where vaccination and control measures had been applied unevenly. But, public opinion is not much interested in might-have-beens. 

Dr John surmises that his colleagues are probably not actually clever enough to have come up with that particular cunning plan, but notes that there is indeed something a little bit fishy about how and when Omicron made its appearance. 

One doesn't have to be suffering some sort of reduction in brain function to share some of the suspicions which arise here. What has struck me is how determined a number of leading epidemiologists have been to talk out of their backsides about Omicron lately. 

It was obvious from almost the get-go that this was a qualitatively different kind of pathogen, yet most of the official, expert-mediated opinion has been carefully vague and wait-and-see, with ever increasing focus on the apparent mildness of this form of covid as being a product of vaccination and/or previous infection, something which is not necessarily borne out by the data (quite the contrary, I believe). 

We shall certainly see if vaccination remains the key determinant of outcomes in the US this winter, but as Dr John notes there are other issues affecting hospitalisation up there, such as poorly managed chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension. 

My own suspicion is that vaccination and prior infection will turn out to be beneficial, but not the whole story behind the relatively benign impact of Omicron. 

We knew from the start that it has certain hybrid qualities having 'borrowed' DNA from a cold virus, though how this occurred is one of the mysteries to hand, and perhaps explains why this aspect of Omicron has become one of the things experts don't really wish to talk about as the wave washes over developed, largely-vaccinated societies. 

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