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Omicron, the science only, please

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  • Omicron, the science only, please

    Those interested in promoting conspiracy theories are invited to post elsewhere.

    How scary is omicron? Scientists are racing to find answers.
    In a few weeks, researchers expect to understand more about how well vaccines fare when they do battle with the new variant
    .
    Microbiologist Pei-Yong Shi has studied all the variants: alpha, beta, gamma, delta, “delta-plus,” lambda and mu. So he was ready for omicron, the variant that incited global anxiety unlike any of the variants that came before.

    FAQ: What to know about the omicron variant of the coronavirus

    Like most scientists, he was shocked by the sheer number of mutations. He also knew exactly what to do next.

    Shi runs a high-containment laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch, in Galveston, and collaborates closely with Pfizer. Over Thanksgiving, his team began engineering a replica of the new variant to test against the antibodies generated by vaccines. But it doesn’t happen overnight: It will take about two weeks to build the omicron replica, another few days to confirm that it’s an accurate facsimile, and one more week to pit the virus against blood samples from vaccinated people.

    Shi and colleagues around the world are in an urgent race to gauge the danger posed by omicron, which is rapidly seeding itself everywhere. As the tally of cases mounts, what happens inside labs over the next few weeks will help scientists determine the true potential of the virus, tipping off government officials and pharmaceutical companies about whether they need to revise their global vaccination campaign.

    His message: Be patient. Wait for the data.

    “I think there is a lot of overreaction, and we just have to sit tight,” Shi said. “There are no results yet, these are just the mutations. What does that mean? We have to see.”

    Given the speed at which the new variant is spreading, patience is likely to be in short supply. Preprints are already making the news.

    Omicron coronavirus variant three times more likely to cause reinfection than delta, S. Africa study says
    .
    Scientists in South Africa say omicron is at least three times more likely to cause reinfection than previous coronavirus variants such as beta and delta, according to a preliminary study published Thursday.

    Statistical analysis of some 2.8 million positive coronavirus samples in South Africa, 35,670 of which were suspected to be reinfections, led researchers to conclude that the omicron mutation has a “substantial ability to evade immunity from prior infection.”

    Scientists say reinfection provides a partial explanation for how the new variant has been spreading. The elevated risk of being reinfected is “temporally consistent” with the emergence of the omicron variant in South Africa, the researchers found.

    The team’s paper was uploaded to a preprint server and has not been peer-reviewed.

    Omicron overtook Delta in South Africa last month.
    .
    South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases said Wednesday that omicron overtook other virus variants in November, accounting for 74 percent of the genomes sequenced last month. Delta had previously been dominant. Overall case numbers have also risen rapidly over the past three days.

    “Omicron is probably the fastest-spreading variant that South Africa has ever seen,” said Tulio de Oliveira, a public health professor at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University.

    That’s very fast. Back of the envelope suggests it has twice Delta’s R, which was twice the original strain, putting it in double-digit R territory, pushing herd immunity requirements into the 90s.

  • #2
    Not wanting to be pedanic, but shouldn't studying "all the variants" have included Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Iota, Kappa and Lamba as well?

    Personally, I think the biggest concern is its lethality rather than how contagious it is. If, as some early reports suggest, Omicron is significantly less lethal than previous strains this would be great news in spite of being more contagious.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
      Not wanting to be pedanic, but shouldn't studying "all the variants" have included Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Iota, Kappa and Lamba as well?
      For the greco-alphabetically challenged …

      Alpha, beta, gamma and delta /
      Epsilon, zeta, eta and theta /
      Iota, kappa, lambda and mu /
      Nu, xi, omicron and pi /
      Rho, sigma, tau and upsilon /
      Phi, chi, xi and omega

      Nu and xi were skipped. Theta was not.

      And science reporting is never all it should be.

      Personally, I think the biggest concern is its lethality rather than how contagious it is. If, as some early reports suggest, Omicron is significantly less lethal than previous strains this would be great news in spite of being more contagious.
      Source, please.

      The preprint above is imputing increased reinfection rates from new case data, which leads mortality data by about a month. I’d be interested in seeing how the data gap for mortality was bridged, if it was bridged, and this isn’t just talking heads on cable television, as I suspect. Everyone is expecting decreased mortality eventually from selection pressure as the population most at risk dies off, but to date that population has been well beyond reproductive age.

      Unlike selection for greater contagion, selection toward decreased mortality will be based on human generations.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Juvenal View Post

        For the greco-alphabetically challenged …

        Alpha, beta, gamma and delta /
        Epsilon, zeta, eta and theta /
        Iota, kappa, lambda and mu /
        Nu, xi, omicron and pi /
        Rho, sigma, tau and upsilon /
        Phi, chi, xi and omega

        Nu and xi were skipped. Theta was not.

        And science reporting is never all it should be.



        Source, please.

        The preprint above is imputing increased reinfection rates from new case data, which leads mortality data by about a month. I’d be interested in seeing how the data gap for mortality was bridged, if it was bridged, and this isn’t just talking heads on cable television, as I suspect. Everyone is expecting decreased mortality eventually from selection pressure as the population most at risk dies off, but to date that population has been well beyond reproductive age.

        Unlike selection for greater contagion, selection toward decreased mortality will be based on human generations.
        I wonder why Xi was skipped.



        Xi_Jinping_portrait_2019_(cropped).jpg
        And don't tell me because it's a common last name. Mu is more common







        Don't worry I don't plan a derail but rather just making an observation about who still is calling the shots at WHO.

        I'm always still in trouble again

        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
        "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post

          Personally, I think the biggest concern is its lethality rather than how contagious it is. If, as some early reports suggest, Omicron is significantly less lethal than previous strains this would be great news in spite of being more contagious.
          ^That. and since it has apparently been out in SA and other placed for a while now, why don't we have that information?


          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Juvenal View Post

            For the greco-alphabetically challenged …

            Alpha, beta, gamma and delta /
            Epsilon, zeta, eta and theta /
            Iota, kappa, lambda and mu /
            Nu, xi, omicron and pi /
            Rho, sigma, tau and upsilon /
            Phi, chi, xi and omega

            Nu and xi were skipped. Theta was not.

            And science reporting is never all it should be.



            Source, please.

            The preprint above is imputing increased reinfection rates from new case data, which leads mortality data by about a month. I’d be interested in seeing how the data gap for mortality was bridged, if it was bridged, and this isn’t just talking heads on cable television, as I suspect. Everyone is expecting decreased mortality eventually from selection pressure as the population most at risk dies off, but to date that population has been well beyond reproductive age.

            Unlike selection for greater contagion, selection toward decreased mortality will be based on human generations.
            That's not true, viruses can mutate to less lethal forms because it means they can spread further. There is no gain by making the host so sick he can't spread the disease or killing the host. But there is a gain if the host lives and spreads a the milder form. Of course since it is random, it could go the other way too. But there is a selection for lower mortality too. It helps the virus spread further.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
              Not wanting to be pedanic, but shouldn't studying "all the variants" have included Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Iota, Kappa and Lamba as well?
              Unwarranted sarcasm when the request of the thread author requested science only.

              Personally, I think the biggest concern is its lethality rather than how contagious it is. If, as some early reports suggest, Omicron is significantly less lethal than previous strains this would be great news in spite of being more contagious.
              Speculation of 'Personally?' is not relevant metric nor science as the thread requested. 'Early reports suggests' are not a reliable measure, and there is insufficient evidence for determining the lethal level of the Omicron, nor rate of hospitalization and long term effects of the new variety. .

              It is possible that the Omicron will replace 'Delta' as 'Delta' replaces older varieties of the virus in the population.
              Last edited by shunyadragon; 12-05-2021, 09:13 AM.
              Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
              Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
              But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

              go with the flow the river knows . . .

              Frank

              I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post

                Unwarranted sarcasm when the request of the thread author requested science only.

                Personally, I think the biggest concern is its lethality rather than how contagious it is. If, as some early reports suggest, Omicron is significantly less lethal than previous strains this would be great news in spite of being more contagious.
                'Personally?' is not relevant metric nor science as the thread requested. 'Early reports suggests' are not a reliable measure, and there is insufficient evidence for determining the lethal level of the Omicron, nor rate of hospitalization and long term effects of the new variety. .
                Nothing you said was science, merely criticism, nanny.


                Comment


                • #9
                  Various reports are saying that those infected show mild or no symptoms:

                  https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20...mild-symptoms/
                  https://www.wsj.com/articles/omicron...ds-11638714444

                  Although several people who have been infected were already vaccinated, so the vaccination could be the cause of the mild symptoms.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                    Various reports are saying that those infected show mild or no symptoms:

                    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20...mild-symptoms/
                    https://www.wsj.com/articles/omicron...ds-11638714444

                    Although several people who have been infected were already vaccinated, so the vaccination could be the cause of the mild symptoms.
                    Excelent argument for vaccination.
                    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                    go with the flow the river knows . . .

                    Frank

                    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                      Don't worry I don't plan a derail but rather just making an observation about who still is calling the shots at WHO.
                      WHO relies on cooperation amongst its members, some of whom are more reluctant to cooperate than others. Naming a variant after the Chinese leader would push China further into the former camp, and would amount to little more than a playground taunt which would certainly be used to turn aside more substantive criticism. The suggestion that the choice to act like adults required outside influence is a particularly feeble conspiracy theory, and, per the o/p, perhaps better suited for another thread.


                      Allow me to note the opportunity cost of scaring up an image of Xi was time that couldn’t be spent sourcing your earlier comments about reduced mortality.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                        Nothing you said was science, merely criticism, nanny.

                        Pffffffet!! Plop! Plot! You need to wipe yourself carefully and completely.
                        Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                        Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                        But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                        go with the flow the river knows . . .

                        Frank

                        I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Juvenal View Post



                          Allow me to note the opportunity cost of scaring up an image of Xi was time that couldn’t be spent sourcing your earlier comments about reduced mortality.
                          Didn't think that was necessary given Google gives 635,000 hits for "Omnicron less lethal"

                          That doesn't mean it is, just that sources are more than plentiful enough that it is hardly necessary for me to start listing them.




                          And they wouldn't be naming it after him any more than they were naming it after the more numerous Mu's. That was just an excuse not to upset their boss.

                          I'm always still in trouble again

                          "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                          "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                          "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post

                            Pffffffet!! Plop! Plot!
                            Are you with the pope?

                            I'm always still in trouble again

                            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                            "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                              ^That. and since it has apparently been out in SA and other placed for a while now, why don't we have that information?
                              The new variant was discovered ten days ago. I know we've come to expect a lot from science, but there is a limit to how fast it can move.

                              Comment

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