What We Know About Why Some People Never Get Covid 19

Americans who haven’t had covid-19 are now officially in the minority. A study published this week from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 58% of randomly selected blood samples from adults contained antibodies indicating that they had previously been infected with the virus; among children, that rate was 75%.

What is different about that minority of people that hasn’t yet gotten infected? Stories abound of close calls, of situations where people are sure they could have (or should have) gotten sick, but somehow dodged infection. Not all the questions are answered yet, but the question of what distinguishes the never-covid cohort is a growing area of research even as the US moves “out of the full-blown” pandemic. Here are the possibilities that scientists are considering to explain why some people haven’t contracted the virus.

They behave differently

We’ve seen it play out time and time again—some people adhere more strictly to protocols known to reduce transmission of the virus, including wearing a mask and getting vaccinated. Some people avoid large public settings and may have even been doing so before the pandemic, says Nicholas Pullen, a biology professor at the University of Northern Colorado. Then again, that doesn’t tell the whole story; as Pullen himself notes: “Ironically, I happen to be one of those ‘never COVIDers’ and I teach in huge classrooms!”

They’ve trained their immune systems

The immune system, as any immunologist or allergist can tell you, is complicated. Though vaccination against covid-19 can make symptoms more mild for some people, it can prevent others from contracting the illness altogether.

Growing evidence suggests that there may be other ways that people are protected against the virus even without specific vaccines against it. Some could have previously been infected with other coronaviruses, which may allow their immune systems to remember and fight similarly shaped viruses. Another study suggests that strong defenses in the innate immune system, barriers and other processes that prevent pathogens from infecting a person’s body, may also prevent infection.

An innate immune system that’s already not functioning as well due to other medical conditions or lifestyle factors such as sleep or diet may put a person at higher risk of getting sick from a pathogen. There’s not single answer here yet, but initial studies are intriguing and may offer avenues for future treatments for covid-19 and other conditions.

They’re genetically different

In the past, studies have found interesting associations between certain genetic variants and people’s susceptibility to communicable diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, and the flu. Naturally, researchers wondered if such a variant could exist for covid-19. One June 2021 study that was not peer reviewed found an association between a genetic variant and lower risk of contracting covid-19; another large-scale study, focused on couples in which one person got sick while the other didn’t, kicked off in Oct. 2021.

“My speculation is that something will be borne out there, because it has been well observed that resistance embedded in genetic variation is selected in pandemics,” Pullen says. But most experts suspect that even if they are able to identify such a variant with some certainty, it’s likely to be rare. For now, it’s best for those who haven’t gotten covid to assume they’re as susceptible as anyone else. Whatever the reasons some people haven’t yet gotten sick, the best defense remains staying up to date with vaccinations and avoiding contact with the virus.

Source: What we know about why some people never get covid-19 — Quartz

“Being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus doesn’t always result in infection, and we’ve been keen to understand why,” study author Rhia Kundu said in a statement, using the scientific name for the coronavirus. “We found that high levels of pre-existing T cells, created by the body when infected with other human coronaviruses like the common cold, can protect against COVID-19 infection.”

The study, which examined 52 people who lived with someone who contracted the coronavirus, found that those who didn’t get infected had significantly higher levels of T cells from previous common cold coronavirus infections. T cells are part of the immune system and believed to protect the body from infection. “Our study provides the clearest evidence to date that T cells induced by common cold coronaviruses play a protective role against SARS-CoV-2 infection,” study author Ajit Lalvani said in a statement.

Researchers cautioned that the findings should not be relied upon as a protection strategy. “While this is an important discovery, it is only one form of protection, and I would stress that no one should rely on this alone,” Kundu said. “Instead, the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to be fully vaccinated, including getting your booster dose.” And the findings on the subject have been inconsistent, with other studies actually suggesting that previous infection with some coronaviruses have the opposite effect.

A major question that has come from the so-called ‘never COVID’ group is whether genetics plays a role in preventing infection. In fact, the question has spurred a team of international researchers to look for people who are genetically resistant to COVID-19 in the hopes that their findings could improve therapeutics. “What we are doing essentially is that we are testing the hypothesis that some people might not be able to get infected because of their genetic and inborn makeup, meaning that they might be genetically resistant to COVID,” says Spaan, who is a member of the COVID Human Genetic Effort.

The effort has sequenced genetic data from about 700 individuals so far, but enrollment is ongoing and researchers have received thousands of inquiries, according to Spaan. The study has several criteria, including laboratory test confirmation that the person has not had previous COVID-19 infection, intense exposure to the virus without access to personal protective equipment like masks and an unvaccinated status at the time of exposure, among others. So far, the group doesn’t know what the genetic difference could be – or if it even exists at all, though they believe it does.

“We do not know how frequent it is actually occurring,” Spaan says. “Is it like a super rare individual with a very, very rare mutation? Or is that something more common?” But the hypothesis is “embedded in human history,” according to Spaan. “COVID is not quite the first pandemic that we are dealing with,” Spaan says. “Humans have been exposed to viruses and other pathogens across time from the early beginning, and these infections have left an imprint on our genetic makeup.”

Those who haven’t gotten the coronavirus are “very much at risk,” says Murphy of Northwestern University. “I think every unvaccinated person is going to get it before this is over.” Experts stressed that research to determine why some people get COVID-19 while others don’t is still very much underway, and no one should rely on any of the hypotheses for protection. Instead, those who haven’t gotten the coronavirus should continue mitigation measures that have been proven to work, like vaccination and mask-wearing.

“You don’t ever want to have COVID,” Murphy says. “You just don’t know which people are going to get really sick from this and die or who’s going to get long COVID, which is hard to diagnose and difficult to treat and very real.” But with coronavirus cases on the rise and mitigation measures like mask mandates dropping left and right, it’s not an easy task.

COVID19: Face masks could return as cases spike Financial Mirror

06:48 Tue, 21 Jun
19:35 Mon, 20 Jun
21:11 Fri, 17 Jun
13:24Physics
19:11Ghana

More Remote Working Apps:

https://quintexcapital.com/?ref=arminham     Quintex Capital

https://www.genesis-mining.com/a/2535466   Genesis Mining

 http://www.bevtraders.com/?ref=arminham   BevTraders

https://www.litefinance.com/?uid=929237543  LiteTrading

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/369164  prime stocks

  https://jvz3.com/c/202927/361015  content gorilla

  https://jvz8.com/c/202927/366443  stock rush  

 https://jvz1.com/c/202927/373449  forrk   

https://jvz3.com/c/202927/194909  keysearch  

 https://jvz4.com/c/202927/296191  gluten free   

https://jvz1.com/c/202927/286851  diet fitness diabetes  

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/213027  writing job  

 https://jvz6.com/c/202927/108695  postradamus

https://jvz1.com/c/202927/372094  stoodaio

 https://jvz4.com/c/202927/358049  profile mate  

 https://jvz6.com/c/202927/279944  senuke  

 https://jvz8.com/c/202927/54245   asin   

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/370227  appimize

 https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376524  super backdrop

 https://jvz6.com/c/202927/302715  audiencetoolkit

 https://jvz1.com/c/202927/375487  4brandcommercial

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/375358  talkingfaces

 https://jvz6.com/c/202927/375706  socifeed

 https://jvz2.com/c/202927/184902  gaming jobs

 https://jvz6.com/c/202927/88118   backlinkindexer

 https://jvz1.com/c/202927/376361  powrsuite  

https://jvz3.com/c/202927/370472  tubeserp  

https://jvz4.com/c/202927/343405  PR Rage  

https://jvz6.com/c/202927/371547  design beast  

https://jvz3.com/c/202927/376879  commission smasher

 https://jvz2.com/c/202927/376925  MT4Code System

https://jvz6.com/c/202927/375959  viral dash

https://jvz1.com/c/202927/376527  coursova

 https://jvz4.com/c/202927/144349  fanpage

https://jvz1.com/c/202927/376877  forex expert  

https://jvz6.com/c/202927/374258  appointomatic

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/377003  woocommerce

https://jvz6.com/c/202927/377005  domainname

 https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376842  maxslides

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376381  ada leadz

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/333637  eyeslick

https://jvz1.com/c/202927/376986  creaitecontentcreator

https://jvz4.com/c/202927/376095  vidcentric

https://jvz1.com/c/202927/374965  studioninja

https://jvz6.com/c/202927/374934  marketingblocks

https://jvz3.com/c/202927/372682  clipsreel  

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/372916  VideoEnginePro

https://jvz1.com/c/202927/144577  BarclaysForexExpert

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/370806  Clientfinda

https://jvz3.com/c/202927/375550  Talkingfaces

https://jvz1.com/c/202927/370769  IMSyndicator

https://jvz6.com/c/202927/283867  SqribbleEbook

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376524  superbackdrop

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/376849  VirtualReel

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/369837  MarketPresso

https://jvz1.com/c/202927/342854  voiceBuddy

https://jvz6.com/c/202927/377211  tubeTargeter

https://jvz6.com/c/202927/377557  InstantWebsiteBundle

https://jvz6.com/c/202927/368736  soronity

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/337292  DFY Suite 3.0 Agency+ information

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/291061  VideoRobot Enterprise

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/327447  Klippyo Kreators

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/324615  ChatterPal Commercial

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/299907  WP GDPR Fix Elite Unltd Sites

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/328172  EngagerMate

https://jvz3.com/c/202927/342585  VidSnatcher Commercial

https://jvz3.com/c/202927/292919  myMailIt

https://jvz3.com/c/202927/320972  Storymate Luxury Edition

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/320466  iTraffic X – Platinum Edition

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/330783  Content Gorilla One-time

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/301402  Push Button Traffic 3.0 – Brand New

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/321987  SociCake Commercial

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/289944  The Internet Marketing

 https://jvz2.com/c/202927/297271  Designa Suite License

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/310335  XFUNNELS FE Commercial 

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/291955  ShopABot

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/312692  Inboxr

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/343635  MediaCloudPro 2.0 – Agency

 https://jvz2.com/c/202927/353558  MyTrafficJacker 2.0 Pro+

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/365061  AIWA Commercial

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/357201  Toon Video Maker Premium

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/351754  Steven Alvey’s Signature Series

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/344541  Fade To Black

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/290487  Adsense Machine

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/315596  Diddly Pay’s DLCM DFY Club

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/355249  CourseReel Professional

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/309649  SociJam System

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/263380  360Apps Certification

 https://jvz2.com/c/202927/359468  LocalAgencyBox

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/377557  Instant Website Bundle

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/377194  GMB Magic Content

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/376962  PlayerNeos VR

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/381812/  BrandElevate Bundle information

https://jvz4.com/c/202927/381807/ BrandElevate Ultimate

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/381556/ WowBackgraounds Plus

https://jvz4.com/c/202927/381689/  Your3DPal Ultimate

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/380877/  BigAudio Club Fast Pass

https://jvz3.com/c/202927/379998/ Podcast Masterclass

https://jvz3.com/c/202927/366537/  VideoGameSuite Exclusive

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/381148/ AffiliateMatic

https://jvzoo.com/c/202927/381179  YTSuite Advanced

https://jvz1.com/c/202927/381749/  Xinemax 2.0 Commercial

https://jvzoo.com/c/202927/382455  Living An Intentional Life

https://jvzoo.com/c/202927/381812  BrandElevate Bundle

https://jvzoo.com/c/202927/381935 Ezy MultiStores

https://jvz2.com/c/202927/381194/  DFY Suite 4.0 Agency

https://jvzoo.com/c/202927/381761  ReVideo

https://jvz4.com/c/202927/381976/  AppOwls Bundle

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/381950/  TrafficForU

https://jvz3.com/c/202927/381615/  WOW Backgrounds 2.0

https://jvz4.com/c/202927/381560   ALL-in-One HD Stock Bundle

https://jvz6.com/c/202927/382326/   Viddeyo Bundle

https://jvz8.com/c/202927/381617/  The Forex Joustar

 

 

 

CDC Approves COVID-19 Vaccines For Children Under 5

U.S. health advisers on Saturday recommended COVID-19 vaccines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — the last group without the shots.The advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unanimously decided that coronavirus vaccines should be opened to children as young as 6 months. On Saturday afternoon, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed off on the panel’s recommendation.

“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against COVID-19,” Walensky said in a statement. “We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can. I encourage parents and caregivers with questions to talk to their doctor, nurse, or local pharmacist to learn more about the benefits of vaccinations and the importance of protecting their children by getting them vaccinated.”

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra released a statement calling the CDC’s move a “major milestone.”

“Thanks to the FDA and CDC’s rigorous, comprehensive, and independent review of the data, and their strict commitment to following the science, we are reaching another major milestone in our efforts to protect more children, their families, and our communities as we work to end the pandemic,” Becerra said. “We are following the data and science as we make sure all Americans are eligible and have access to COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to prevent severe disease and save lives. Based on CDC and FDA actions, we now know that vaccination for our children 6 months through 5 years old is safe and effective and we are ready to get millions of children vaccinated.”

The White House also weighed in on the decision in a statement calling the CDC’s decision a “monumental step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus.””For parents all over the country, this is a day of relief and celebration,” President Biden said in the statemente. “As the first country to protect our youngest children with COVID-19 vaccines, my Administration has been planning and preparing for this moment for months, effectively securing doses and offering safe and highly effective mRNA vaccines for all children as young as six months old.

“While the Food and Drug Administration OKs vaccines, it’s the CDC that decides who should get them. The government has been gearing up for the start of the shots early next week, with millions of doses ordered for distribution to doctors, hospitals and community health clinics around the country. Roughly 18 million kids will be eligible, but it remains to be seen how many will ultimately get the vaccines. Less than a third of children ages 5 to 11 have done so since vaccination opened up to them last November.

Two brands — Pfizer and Moderna — got the green light Friday from the FDA. The vaccines use the same technology but are being offered at different dose sizes and number of shots for the youngest kids.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
PFD FLAHERTY & CRUMRINE PREFERRED INC 12.30 -0.07 -0.57%
MRNA MODERNA INC. 128.03 +6.95 +5.74%

Pfizer’s vaccine is for 6 months through 4 years. The dose is one-tenth of the adult dose, and three shots are needed. The first two are given three weeks apart, and the last at least two months later. Moderna’s is two shots, each a quarter of its adult dose, given about four weeks apart for kids 6 months through 5. The FDA also approved a third dose, at least a month after the second shot, for kids with immune conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious illness.

Two doses of Moderna appeared to be only about 40% effective at preventing milder infections at a time when the omicron variant was causing most COVID-19 illnesses. Pfizer presented study information suggesting the company saw 80% with its three shots. But the Pfizer data was so limited — and based on such a small number of cases — that experts and federal officials say they don’t feel there is a reliable estimate yet.

Hospitalizations surged during the omicron wave. Since the start of the pandemic, about 480 children under age 5 are counted among the nation’s more than 1 million COVID-19 deaths, federal data show. “It is worth vaccinating, even though the number of deaths are relatively rare, because these deaths are preventable through vaccination,” said Dr. Matthew Daley, a Kaiser Permanente Colorado researcher who sits on the advisory committee.

U.S. officials expect most shots to take place at pediatricians’ offices. Many parents may be more comfortable getting the vaccine for their kids at their regular doctor, White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said. He predicted the pace of vaccination to be far slower than it was for older populations.

Pediatricians, other primary care physicians and children’s hospitals are planning to provide the vaccines. Limited drugstores will offer them for at least some of the under-5 group. U.S. officials expect most shots to take place at pediatricians’ offices. Many parents may be more comfortable getting the vaccine for their kids at their regular doctor, White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said. He predicted the pace of vaccination to be far slower than it was for older populations.

“We’re going see vaccinations ramp up over weeks and even potentially over a couple of months,” Jha said. It’s common for little kids to get more than one vaccine during a doctor’s visit. In studies of the Moderna and Pfizer shots in infants and toddlers, other vaccinations were not given at the same time so there is no data on potential side effects when that happens. But problems have not been identified in older children or adults when COVID-19 shots and other vaccinations were given together, and the CDC is advising that it’s safe for younger children as well.

About three-quarters of children of all ages are estimated to have been infected at some point. For older ages, the CDC has recommended vaccination anyway to lower the chances of reinfection.Experts have noted re-infections among previously infected people and say the highest levels of protection occur in those who were both vaccinated and previously infected. The CDC has said people may consider waiting about three months after an infection to be vaccinated.

Source: CDC approves COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 | Fox Business

Related contents:

Why Vaccinated People Are Getting ‘Breakthrough’ Infections

A wedding in Oklahoma leads to 15 vaccinated guests becoming infected with the coronavirus. Raucous Fourth of July celebrations disperse the virus from Provincetown, Mass., to dozens of places across the country, sometimes carried by fully vaccinated celebrants.

As the Delta variant surges across the nation, reports of infections in vaccinated people have become increasingly frequent — including, most recently, among at least six Texas Democrats, a White House aide and an aide to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The highly contagious variant, combined with a lagging vaccination campaign and the near absence of preventive restrictions, is fueling a rapid rise in cases in all states, and hospitalizations in nearly all of them. It now accounts for about 83 percent of infections diagnosed in the United States.

But as worrying as the trend may seem, breakthrough infections — those occurring in vaccinated people — are still relatively uncommon, experts said, and those that cause serious illness, hospitalization or death even more so. More than 97 percent of people hospitalized for Covid-19 are unvaccinated.

“The takeaway message remains, if you’re vaccinated, you are protected,” said Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York. “You are not going to end up with severe disease, hospitalization or death.”

Reports of breakthrough infections should not be taken to mean that the vaccines do not work, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the Biden administration’s top pandemic adviser, said on Thursday at a news briefing.

“By no means does that mean that you’re dealing with an unsuccessful vaccine,” he said. “The success of the vaccine is based on the prevention of illness.”

Still, vaccinated people can come down with infections, overwhelmingly asymptomatic or mild. That may come as a surprise to many vaccinated Americans, who often assume that they are completely shielded from the virus. And breakthrough infections raise the possibility, as yet unresolved, that vaccinated people may spread the virus to others.

Given the upwelling of virus across much of the country, some scientists say it is time for vaccinated people to consider wearing masks indoors and in crowded spaces like shopping malls or concert halls — a recommendation that goes beyond current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends masking only for unvaccinated people.

The agency does not plan to change its guidelines unless there is a significant change in the science, said a federal official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter.

The agency’s guidance already gives local leaders latitude to adjust their policies based on rates of transmission in their communities, he added. Citing the rise of the Delta variant, health officials in several California jurisdictions are already urging a return to indoor masking; Los Angeles County is requiring it.

“Seatbelts reduce risk, but we still need to drive carefully,” said Dr. Scott Dryden-Peterson, an infectious disease physician and epidemiologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. “We’re still trying to figure out what is ‘drive carefully’ in the Delta era, and what we should be doing.”

The uncertainty about Delta results in part from how it differs from previous versions of the coronavirus. Although its mode of transmission is the same — it is inhaled, usually in indoor spaces — Delta is thought to be about twice as contagious as the original virus.

Significantly, early evidence also suggests that people infected with the Delta variant may carry roughly a thousandfold more virus than those infected with the original virus. While that does not seem to mean that they get sicker, it does probably mean that they are more contagious and for longer.

Dose also matters: A vaccinated person exposed to a low dose of the coronavirus may never become infected, or not noticeably so. A vaccinated person exposed to extremely high viral loads of the Delta variant is more likely to find his or her immune defenses overwhelmed.

The problem grows worse as community transmission rates rise, because exposures in dose and number will increase. Vaccination rates in the country have stalled, with less than half of Americans fully immunized, giving the virus plenty of room to spread.

Unvaccinated people “are not, for the most part, taking precautions, and that’s what’s driving it for everybody,” said Dr. Eric J. Rubin, the editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. “We’re all susceptible to whatever anyone’s behavior is in this epidemic.”

Dr. Gounder likened the amount of protection offered by the vaccines to a golf umbrella that keeps people dry in a rainstorm. “But if you’re out in a hurricane, you’re still going to get wet,” she said. “That’s kind of the situation that the Delta variant has created, where there’s still a lot of community spread.”

For the average vaccinated person, a breakthrough infection is likely to be inconsequential, causing few to no symptoms. But there is concern among scientists that a few vaccinated people who become infected may go on to develop long Covid, a poorly understood constellation of symptoms that persists after the active infection is resolved.

Much has been made of Delta’s ability to sidestep immune defenses. In fact, all of the existing vaccines seem able to prevent serious illness and death from the variant. In laboratory studies, Delta actually has proved to be a milder threat than Beta, the variant first identified in South Africa.

Whether a vaccinated person ever becomes infected may depend on how high antibodies spiked after vaccination, how potent those antibodies are against the variant, and whether the level of antibodies in the person’s blood has waned since immunization.

In any case, immune defenses primed by the vaccines should recognize the virus soon after infection and destroy it before significant damage occurs.

“That is what explains why people do get infected and why people don’t get seriously ill,” said Michel C. Nussenzweig, an immunologist at Rockefeller University in New York. “It’s nearly unavoidable, unless you’re going to give people very frequent boosters.”

There is limited evidence beyond anecdotal reports to indicate whether breakthrough infections with the Delta variant are more common or more likely to fan out to other people. The C.D.C. has recorded about 5,500 hospitalizations and deaths in vaccinated people, but it is not tracking milder breakthrough infections.

Additional data is emerging from the Covid-19 Sports and Society Workgroup, a coalition of professional sports leagues that is working closely with the C.D.C. Sports teams in the group are testing more than 10,000 people at least daily and sequencing all infections, according to Dr. Robby Sikka, a physician who worked with the N.B.A.’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

Breakthrough infections in the leagues seem to be more common with the Delta variant than with Alpha, the variant first identified in Britain, he said. As would be predicted, the vaccines cut down the severity and duration of illness significantly, with players returning less than two weeks after becoming infected, compared with nearly three weeks earlier in the pandemic.

But while they are infected, the players carry very high amounts of virus for seven to 10 days, compared with two or three days in those infected with Alpha, Dr. Sikka said. Infected players are required to quarantine, so the project has not been able to track whether they spread the virus to others — but it’s likely that they would, he added.

“If they’re put just willy-nilly back into society, I think you’re going to have spread from vaccinated individuals,” he added. “They don’t even recognize they have Covid because they think they’re vaccinated.”

Elyse Freitas was shocked to discover that 15 vaccinated people became infected at her wedding. Dr. Freitas, 34, a biologist at the University of Oklahoma, said she had been very cautious throughout the pandemic, and had already postponed her wedding once. But after much deliberation, she celebrated the wedding indoors on July 10.

Based on the symptoms, Dr. Freitas believes that the initial infection was at a bachelorette party two days before the wedding, when a dozen vaccinated people went unmasked to bars in downtown Oklahoma City; seven of them later tested positive. Eventually, 17 guests at the wedding became infected, nearly all with mild symptoms.

“In hindsight, I should have paid more attention to the vaccination rates in Oklahoma and the emergence of the Delta variant and adjusted my plans accordingly,” she said.

An outbreak in Provincetown, Mass., illustrates how quickly a cluster can grow, given the right conditions. During its famed Fourth of July celebrations, the small town hosted more than 60,000 unmasked revelers, dancing and mingling in crowded bars and house parties.

The crowds this year were much larger than usual, said Adam Hunt, 55, an advertising executive who has lived in Provincetown part time for about 20 years. But the bars and clubs didn’t open until they were allowed to, Mr. Hunt noted: “We thought we were doing the right thing. We thought we were OK.”

Mr. Hunt did not become infected with the virus, but several of his vaccinated friends who had flown in from places as far as Hawaii and Alabama tested positive after their return. In all, the cluster has grown to at least 256 cases — including 66 visitors from other states — about two-thirds in vaccinated people.

“I did not expect that people who were vaccinated would be becoming positive at the rate that they were,” said Steve Katsurinis, chair of the Provincetown Board of Health. Provincetown has moved swiftly to contain the outbreak, reinstating a mask advisory and stepping up testing. It is conducting 250 tests a day, compared with about eight a day before July 1, Mr. Katsurinis said.

Health officials should also help the public understand that vaccines are doing what they are supposed to — preventing people from getting seriously ill, said Kristen Panthagani, a geneticist at Baylor College of Medicine who runs a blog explaining complex scientific concepts.

“Vaccine efficacy isn’t 100 percent — it never is,” she said. “We shouldn’t expect Covid vaccines to be perfect, either. That’s too high an expectation.”

By:

Source: Why Vaccinated People Are Getting ‘Breakthrough’ Infections – The New York Times

.

Related Contents:

Can the Covid Vaccine Protect Me Against Virus Variants?

Vaccines do a good job of protecting us from coronavirus, but fear and confusion about the rise of variants have muddled the message. Here are answers to common questions.

The news about coronavirus variants can sound like a horror movie, with references to a “double-mutant” virus, “vaccine-evading” variants and even an “Eek” mutation. One headline warned ominously: “The devil is already here.”

While it’s true that the virus variants are a significant public health concern, the unrelenting focus on each new variant has created undue alarm and a false impression that vaccines don’t protect us against the various variants that continue to emerge.

“I use the term ‘scariants,’” said Dr. Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research in La Jolla, Calif., referring to much of the media coverage of the variants. “Even my wife was saying, ‘What about this double mutant?’ It drives me nuts. People are scared unnecessarily. If you’re fully vaccinated, two weeks post dose, you shouldn’t have to worry about variants at all.”

Viruses are constantly changing, and new variants have been emerging and circulating around the world throughout the pandemic. Some mutations don’t matter, but others can make things much worse by creating a variant that spreads faster or makes people sicker. While the rise of more infectious variants has caused cases of Covid-19 to surge around the world, the risk is primarily to the unvaccinated, for whom there is great concern. While vaccination efforts are well underway in the United States and many other developed countries, huge swaths of the world’s population remain vulnerable, with some countries yet to report having administered a single dose.

But for the vaccinated, the outlook is much more hopeful. While it’s true that the vaccines have different success rates against different variants, the perception that they don’t work against variants at all is incorrect. In fact, the available vaccines have worked remarkably well so far, not just at preventing infection but, most important, at preventing serious illness and hospitalization, even as new variants circulate around the globe.

The variants are “all the more reason to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist. “The bottom line is the vaccines we are using very well protect against the most dominant variant we have right now, and to varying degrees protect against serious disease among several of the other variants.”

Part of the confusion stems from what vaccine efficacy really means and the use of terms like “vaccine evasion,” which sounds a lot scarier than it is. In addition, the fact that two vaccines have achieved about 95 percent efficacy has created unrealistic expectations about what it takes for a vaccine to perform well.

Here are answers to common questions about the variants and the vaccines being used to stop Covid-19.

The variant called B.1.1.7, which was first identified in Britain, is now the most common source of new infections in the United States. This highly contagious variant is also fueling the spread of the virus in Europe and has been found in 114 countries. A mutation allows this version of the virus to more effectively attach to cells. Carriers may also shed much higher levels of virus and stay infectious longer.

The main concern about B.1.1.7 is that it is highly infectious and spreads quickly among the unvaccinated, potentially overwhelming hospitals in areas where cases are surging.

All of the major vaccines in use — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Sputnik and Novavax — have been shown to be effective against B.1.1.7. We know this from a variety of studies and indicators. First, scientists have used the blood of vaccinated patients to study how well vaccine antibodies bind to a variant in a test tube. The vaccines have all performed relatively well against B.1.1.7.

There’s also clinical trial data, particularly from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca (which is the most widely used vaccine around the world), that shows they are highly effective against both preventing infection and serious illness in areas where B.1.1.7 is circulating. And in Israel, for instance, where 80 percent of the eligible population is vaccinated (all with the Pfizer shot), case counts are plummeting, even as schools, restaurants and workplaces open up, suggesting that vaccines are tamping down new infections, including those caused by variants.

No vaccine is foolproof, and even though the Covid vaccines are highly protective, sometimes vaccinated people still get infected. But breakthrough cases of vaccinated people are very rare, even as variants are fueling a surge in case counts. And the vaccines prevent severe illness and hospitalization in the vast majority of the vaccinated patients who do get infected.

So what’s the risk of getting infected after vaccination? Nobody knows for sure, but we have some clues. During the Moderna trial, for instance, only 11 patients out of 15,210 who were vaccinated got infected. Both Pfizer and Moderna now are doing more detailed studies of breakthrough cases among vaccinated trial participants, and should be releasing that data soon.

Two real-world studies of vaccinated health care workers, who have a much higher risk of virus exposure than the rest of us, offer hopeful signs. One study found that just four out of 8,121 fully vaccinated employees at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas became infected. The other found that only seven out of 14,990 workers at UC San Diego Health and the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, tested positive two or more weeks after receiving a second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

Both reports were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and are a sign that even as cases were surging in the United States, breakthrough cases were uncommon, even among individuals who were often exposed to sick patients. Most important, patients who were infected after vaccination had mild symptoms. Some people had no symptoms at all, and were discovered only through testing in studies or as part of their unrelated medical care.

A recent C.D.C. report found that after 75 million people had been fully vaccinated, there were 5,814 documented cases of breakthrough infections, including 74 deaths. More details about those patients weren’t available, although at least nine of them died of causes other than Covid-19.

Researchers are still studying whether the variants eventually might increase the number of breakthrough cases or if vaccine antibodies begin to wane over time. So far, data from Moderna show the vaccine still remains 90 percent effective after at least six months. Pfizer has reported similar results.

For now, the variants don’t appear to be increasing the rate of infection in vaccinated people, but that could change as more data are collected. Read more about breakthrough cases here.

The C.D.C. is tracking more than a dozen variants, but only a few qualify as “variants of concern,” which is a public health designation to identify variants that could be more transmissible or have other qualities that make them more of a risk. The main additional variants everyone is talking about right now are the B.1.351, which was first detected in South Africa, and the P.1, which was first identified in Brazil.

While there are other variants (including two “California” variants, B.1.427 and B.1.429, and a New York variant, B.1.526), for now, it seems that the South Africa and Brazil variants (which as of late March together accounted for about 2 percent of cases in the United States) are causing the most concern. While a new variant can emerge at any time, existing variants also compete with each other for dominance. One interesting new development: In countries like the United States where B.1.1.7 is dominant, some of the other variants seem to be getting crowded out, making them less of a worry.

There is a concern that the B.1.351 and the P.1 are better at dodging vaccine antibodies than other variants. But that doesn’t mean the vaccines don’t work at all. It just means the level of protection you get from the vaccines against these variants could be lower than when the shots were studied against early forms of the virus. Among the variants, the B.1.351 may pose the biggest challenge so far. It has a key mutation — called E484K, and often shortened to “Eek” — that can help the virus evade some, but probably not all, antibodies.

A recent study of 149 people in Israel who became infected after vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine suggested that B.1.351 (the variant first identified in South Africa) was more likely to cause breakthrough infections. However, those eight infections occurred between days seven and 13 following the second dose.

“We didn’t see any South Africa variant 14 days after the second dose,” said Adi Stern, the study’s senior author, a professor at the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research, Tel Aviv University. “It was a small sample size, but it’s very possible that two weeks after the second dose, maybe the protection level goes up and that blocks the South Africa variant completely. It gives us more room for optimism.”

Remember that there’s a lot of “cushion” provided by this current crop of vaccines, so even if a vaccine is less effective against a variant, it appears that it’s still going to do a good job of protecting you from serious illness.

We don’t yet have precise estimates of vaccine effectiveness against B.1.351, which may be the most challenging variant so far. But studies show that the various vaccines still lower overall risk for infection and help prevent severe disease. A large study of Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine in South Africa found it was about 85 percent effective at preventing severe disease, and lowered risk for mild to moderate disease by 64 percent.

(Distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been paused as health officials investigate safety concerns.) The AstraZeneca vaccine did not do much to protect against mild illness caused by B.1.351, but scientists said they believed the vaccine might protect against more severe cases, based on the immune responses detected in blood samples from people who were given it.

There’s less definitive research for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against the variant, but it’s believed that these two-dose vaccines could reduce risk of infection against the variant by about 60 percent to 70 percent and still are highly effective at preventing severe disease and hospitalization.“From everything we know today, there is still protection from the vaccines against the South Africa variant,” said Dr. Stern.

Part of the problem is that we misinterpret what efficacy really means. When someone hears the term “70 percent efficacy,” for instance, they might wrongly conclude that it means 30 percent of vaccinated people would get sick. That’s not the case. Even if a vaccine loses some ground to a variant, a large portion of people are still protected, and only a fraction of vaccinated people will get infected. Here’s why.

To understand efficacy, consider the data from the Pfizer clinical trials. In the unvaccinated group of 21,728, a total of 162 people got infected. But in the vaccinated group of 21,720, only eight people became infected. That’s what is referred to as 95 percent efficacy. It doesn’t mean that 5 percent of the participants (or 1,086 of them) got sick. It means 95 percent fewer vaccinated people had confirmed infections compared to the unvaccinated group.

Now imagine a hypothetical scenario with a vaccine that is 70 percent effective against a more challenging variant. Under the same conditions of the clinical trial, vaccination would still protect 21,672 people in the group, and just 48 vaccinated people — less than one percent — would become infected, compared to 162 in the unvaccinated group. Even though overall efficacy was lower, only a fraction of vaccinated people in this scenario would get sick, most likely with only mild illness.

While far more research is needed to fully understand how variants might dodge some (but not all) vaccine antibodies, public health experts note that an estimate of 50 percent to 70 percent efficacy against a challenging variant would still be considered an adequate level of protection.

“Seventy percent is extremely high,” said Dr. Stern. “Basically what this means is that it’s even more important to get vaccinated. If you have 95 percent efficacy, you can create some form of herd immunity with less people. With 70 percent efficacy, it’s even more important to get vaccinated to protect others.”

Vaccine makers already are working on developing booster shots that will target the variants, but it’s not clear how soon they might be needed. “In time, you’re going to see a recommendation for a booster,” said Dr. Peter J. Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “That booster will elevate everybody’s antibodies and increase durability. The booster will probably be configured to target the South African and Brazil variants.”

Even amid the rise of variants, vaccines will significantly lower your risk for infection and will protect you from serious illness and hospitalization. People who are vaccinated can socialize, unmasked, with other vaccinated people. While vaccinated people still need to follow local health guidelines about wearing a mask and gathering in groups to protect the unvaccinated, vaccinated people can travel, get their hair and nails done, or go to work without worrying. And vaccinated grandparents can hug their unvaccinated grandchildren. Because there are still some outstanding questions about the risk of vaccinated people carrying the virus, a vaccinated person is still advised to wear a mask in public to protect the unvaccinated — although those guidelines may be updated soon.

“The vaccines protect you, so go get vaccinated — that’s the message,” said Dr. Fauci. “If you’re around other vaccinated people, you shouldn’t worry about it at all. Zero.”

Tara Parker-Pope

 

By: Tara Parker-Pope

 

Source: Can the Covid Vaccine Protect Me Against Virus Variants?

.

Latest Updates

Related Topics:

%d bloggers like this: