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EMA finds possible link for AstraZeneca and rare cases of blood clots, platelets (europa.eu)
15 points by the-dude 4 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 26 comments





I did my best to edit the title into the available characters.

full: AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine: EMA finds possible link to very rare cases of unusual blood clots with low blood platelets


This seems like they only have a "hunch" and not really a scientific evidence whether there actually is causal link. It's not the first time scientists are being used as a weapon in information wars. Plenty of evidence when it comes to cannabis. In my opinion it must hurt the EU officials that AZ jab is non-profit and so that they are unable to be make as much money as with other jabs.

Upvote this.

These events are so rare that it is hard to prove causal relationship and find the mechanism by which it happens.

The rarity also means that in any case they are not very significant.


Imagine a firefighter who, in the middle of fighting a house fire, learns that the water being used has mildly elevated levels of arsenic and decides to turn off the hose "out of an abundance of caution."

That's the level of absurdity I'm seeing in the European response to these AZ issues. The frequency of issues, even if 100% correlated to the vaccine, is still SO MUCH BETTER than what's happening every day with COVID-19.

All of the existing seeds of FUD are validated and amplified by this sort of thing, which is about as sensible as telling a starving person to not eat the food in front of them because it isn't organic.


No, that's a terrible analogy. Mildly elevated arsenic would imply a small amount of health issues to everyone near the water, when it's a 0% danger to most people, and death to a small percentage.

It's more like: There's a militia terrorizing a town square. The police are using machine guns to fight back, and a few stray bullets are hitting innocent bystanders.


I get what you’re saying, but the point still stands. Would you rather take your chances with a stray bullet or the militia? Would it be wise to withdraw the police “out of an abundance of caution” because of a statistically tiny set of stray bullets whose body count isn’t even a rounding error compared to the militia?

It's a fair question, no? If I was a healthy mid-20s woman, I'd probably be waiting for J&J or something. I don't want to play Russian roulette.

31 cases in 2.1 million doses.

I don't think your analogy fits either.

actually the numbers are even bigger than that:

>The safety committee reviewed 62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 24 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis reported in the European Union’s drug safety databases as of March 22. Eighteen of these cases were fatal. The cases came from the reporting systems of the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom, where 25 million people had received the vaccine.

https://www.statnews.com/2021/04/07/astrazeneca-covid-19-vac...

and don't forget, blood clots happen without the vaccine as well...


It's also the level of absurdity I'm seeing in the response to Covid itself.

Yup, I feel like we are sacrificing our young to add a few more years to the average old person's life. Sounds a bit heartless, but so does ruining years of development of children and youth so that the old have a longer life.

If by sacrificing young you mean that we let virus run rampant so it evolves into a version that more successfully infects young and with more disastrous effects .. then yes, we did exactly that. Some new mutants cause way more harm in younger people than the original version did.

Will it definitely evolve into such a version? What's to stop any other virus doing the same? How do you intend to stop this, without continuous vaccination and social control? What new piece of information do we have, that justifies the apparent change in policy from "flatten the curve for a few weeks" to "global control and vaccinations until...(?)"?

> Will it definitely evolve into such a version?

It already did evolve this way and will continue to do so.

Any novel virus evolves in ways that helps its spread into popularions previously unavailable for infection. And only after it is at risk of wiping populations it infects it evolves milder variants that are careful no to kill too many hosts to quick.

> What's to stop any other virus doing the same?

Other viruses don't evolve further in this direction because they are with us long enough that they already reached that state. All other common human viruses and bacteria exceedingly easily infect young and can be a major cause of death and disability in young. And before we had vaxcines against most dangerous of them, it was horrible.

> How do you intend to stop this, without continuous vaccination and social control?

We are going to stop this with continous vaccinations, exactly the same way we stopped other very infectious and dangerous viruses that were spread in human population.

> What new piece of information do we have, that justifies the apparent change in policy from "flatten the curve for a few weeks" to "global control and vaccinations until...(?)"?

That new piece of information might be the knowledge of other variants of this coronavirus. This gives us an idea of how fast this virus is evolving (when it is allowed to infect this many people).

It has the potential to cause great harm to younger generation which we tend to care more about and also outpace our ability to prepare new vaccines which is already probably close to the best we can do.

So it became more crucial to rob this virus of opportunities to evolve.

There are already variants that infect more easily, infect younger, happily reinfect people who got sick from original variant.


>It already did evolve this way and will continue to do so.

I'll need a soruce for that, as all reports I've read indicate that Covid has mutated the typical direction - that is, to be less deadly.

>Any novel virus evolves in ways that helps its spread into popularions previously unavailable for infection. And only after it is at risk of wiping populations it infects it evolves milder variants that are careful no to kill too many hosts to quick.

Also a source for that, as this is an idea I have never heard of before.

I haven't even seen any definitive answer whether younger people are just less affected by Covid, or really do not become infected. The whole "asymptomatic carrier" idea really makes it hard to prove anything.

Saying that, how will we stop a virus mutating with a vaccine that is between 60% and 90% effective at preventing symptoms, and with a currently unknown effect on transmission?

If we are just delaying the inevitable, then why wait? If it's about the young (which would be quite the reversal, as to date, it's all been about "not killing granny"), then we need to consider the effects of on-going lockdown and destruction of opportunity for young people (which is very real).

If I had been told at the start that we would be under effective house arrest until researchers had developed a series of vaccines with the intention of stopping Covid from mutating into hypothetical potentially worse variants, I would have called BS right then.

Edit: Also, interesting that you point out that "it became known that Covid mutates rapidly". That's not at all surprising, it's long been known that coronaviruses mutate fairly rapidly. In fact, whenever I pointed out this fact, and that it makes vaccine development difficult and pointless unless we are going for continual vaccination, the "online Covid expert" crowd gave me a lot of flak for it.


> I'll need a soruce for that, as all reports I've read indicate that Covid has mutated the typical direction - that is, to be less deadly.

It's literaly 10 seconds to find that information, but here you go.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/fortune.com/2021/04/07/the-cdc-...

There's bit less info on the new variant than on original one we had a year of expeirience with but it's comming in.

Becomming less deadly is a typical direction viruses evolve but at a time scale of hundreds and thousands of years, not few months.

Just think about it. Virus doesn't have an agenda. It's just self replicaing piece of crap. It replicates because it can. And while it replicates it sometimes spawns variants that can replicate better.

As long as killing hosts doesnt significantly affect ability to replicate there's no reasons why variant that kills less should be have any advantage over other variants. And sars-cov-2 is so mild in objective terms that it's far from expeiriencing any trouble from killing too much.

> Also a source for that, as this is an idea I have never heard of before.

You never heard that while viruses evolve they sometimes gain ability to spread to organisms they had trouble infecting before? And then there's more of those viruses so they achieved evolutionary success this way?

That's literally what just happened with coronavirus as it evolved ability to spread through sub population of certain primates.

> I haven't even seen any definitive answer whether younger people are just less affected by Covid, or really do not become infected.

There was research about infection rates in school children (not sickness but infection) and it seems to be significantly lower than among the adults. Not sure how convincing you'll find it.

> The whole "asymptomatic carrier" idea really makes it hard to prove anything.

Only if you look at symptoms. If you do a test you can learn a lot.

> If we are just delaying the inevitable, then why wait?

Because it could happend in a year if we throw out hands in the air or in a century if we reduce opportunities for the virus to evolve 100 times.

> then we need to consider the effects of on-going lockdown and destruction of opportunity for young people (which is very real).

Yes. But we also should see this thing in perspective too. Suddenly we care about young people's opportunities now while we happily exploited them to wait out tables or be stuck in other dead end jobs witout any reasonable chance of devolpment. Unpaid interships. Tuition. Being kept in hostile and mentally destroying school environment just because parents need to be at work.

We only started thinking about young people's opportunitues when it inconveniences business.

> If I had been told at the start that we would be under effective house arrest until researchers had developed a series of vaccines with the intention of stopping Covid from mutating into hypothetical potentially worse variants, I would have called BS right then

There were initially hopes that this virus won't be capable of evolving this fast. Other coronaviruses seem to be fairly stable in conparison to other things like flu.

And also nothing is binary. I think it would be better if from the start there was hard 5 year ban on any sort of business activity that involves entertainment for groups of people, like dinig, concerts or whatever and permanent move to remote education and work whenever possible. Small business people wouldn't be kept perpetually in waiting, when can they do a little business again. And education would have a reform that is already decades overdue.

But noone was decisive enough to do something like that. Everybody thought that we will be able to go pretty much business as usual with perhaps brief pauses. And we are all hoping that soon world will be same way as before the pandemic as it was so wonderful and perfect back then. Which it won't before our covid vaccine development and distribution outpaces covid evolution (which depends on number of new infectios) and/or some revolutionary drugs are discovered that will make it less of a death/disability risk with proper outpatient treatment.


Your source says this:

>It's unclear exactly what the age breakdown is when it comes to this variant strain

It seems you need to spend more than 10 seconds researching your ideas.

The rest of what you've said in response to my requests for further information and sources is just personal opinion, presented as "reasonable" arguments.

>Becomming less deadly is a typical direction viruses evolve but at a time scale of hundreds and thousands of years, not few months.

An idea not supported by my 10 seconds of research:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2252699-covid-19-is-bec...

>There were initially hopes that this virus won't be capable of evolving this fast.

I would ask for some sources to back that statement up too, but I don't hold much hope for a reasonable reply. Influenza is a non error-checking RNA virus, coronaviruses are error-checking RNA viruses. The slowest to mutate are DNA viruses. The relative speed of mutation of these types is well understood.

>You never heard that while viruses evolve they sometimes gain ability to spread to organisms they had trouble infecting before?

Yes, I have, but never in the context of "younger examples of the existing infected organism". Even so, and as I've already said, we don't even know if younger people are already being infected with the existing strains, so I can't get myself too worked up about hypothetical possible future variants.

You've also mixed in your personal opinions on supposedly how bad life was before Covid, how little you value small businesses, and how life should be drastically re-modelled so that everyone works and learns remotely. I disagree, but that's ok, it's opinion. I think that remote (learning or working) places people at a huge disadvantage - against those who already have in-person connections, and against institutions that have the sense not to do such a thing.

>sars-cov-2 is so mild in objective terms

We certainly agree here.


> >It's unclear exactly what the age breakdown is when it comes to this variant strain > It seems you need to spend more than 10 seconds researching your ideas.

Also "since the situation is in flux and information is still trickling in".

I won't find you the data that doesn't exist yet. But as you can read there is a growing concern and a lot of random observations that number of 30 and 40 year old hospitalized people seems to be on the rise. And cases of hospitalized children are becoming less rare.

https://www.google.com/search?q=younger+people+with+covid&oq...

Wait 6 months and you'll have plenty of data of how much worse current variants are from original one for younger people. Because they definitely are not milder.

> The rest of what you've said in response to my requests for further information and sources is just personal opinion, presented as "reasonable" arguments.

If it sounds reasonable it's only because that's how basic evolution works. And it's not really personal because this opinion on how evolution works is shared among evolutionary biologists and there's really no reason for human viruses to be exception to those general rules.

The one thing you might argue is that by social distancing and masks we are putting evolutionary pressure on the virus to mutate into a form that doesn't give any symptoms, so we let go and spread it happily like we do with the flu or colds. But apparently playing human immune system carefully so that the cytokine storm doesn't kill even a small fraction of hosts is a really hard thing to figure out. It was way easier for the virus to figure out how to transmit between people more easily despite masks and social distancing (or at least our half-assed application of those things).

And even if some mutation of coronavirus creates a milder variant it doesn't mean that old variants will disappear. Before sars we already had 4 mild coronaviruses so we'll have 5. Maybe we already have. Remaining killer variants will still be just as active as today.

You might hope that if you get infected with that new mild variant it will give you immunity to all other variants of sars-cov-2, but it probably won't be true. Because we already have a variant that happily re-infects people that previously caught the original variant.

What's more, exposure to milder variant does not necessarily might boost your immunity against the killer ones. It might even harm it. There is a theory that older people suffer more form covid because they experienced more contact with mild coronaviruses during their lifetime than younger people and their immune system is sort of numbed to them until its too late. https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/prior-exposur...

Also even if we had a milder variant of sars-cov-2 that gives blanket immunity to all other you'd still have to figure out how to catch it before any other. And they'll spread exactly the same way.

Vaccines are such milder variant that we control and try to give people before they come in contact with any other. But we have to make every dose of it ourselves.

> An idea not supported by my 10 seconds of research: > https://www.newscientist.com/article/2252699-covid-19-is-bec...

Are you really citing something written right after first wave? How that milder variant is doing now? Compared to, let's say, the British one, or the Brazilian one?

> Yes, I have, but never in the context of "younger examples of the existing infected organism". Even so, and as I've already said, we don't even know if younger people are already being infected with the existing strains, so I can't get myself too worked up about hypothetical possible future variants.

As you wish. I'm worked up, but I still hope that we'll manage to outpace all of this with our vaccines and possibly treatments. But it's still a race with time, and unless we significantly reduce number of infections by any means possible all scenarios are on the table.

> You've also mixed in your personal opinions on supposedly how bad life was before Covid, how little you value small businesses, and how life should be drastically re-modelled so that everyone works and learns remotely. I disagree, but that's ok, it's opinion. I think that remote (learning or working) places people at a huge disadvantage - against those who already have in-person connections, and against institutions that have the sense not to do such a thing.

Again, not that personal. Many people believe that young (non-wealthy) people were getting short end of the stick even before the pandemic. Shared opinions. As probably are yours that young people before pandemic had so many wonderful opportunities that today they are robbed of.

Same with remote working, some people like it, some dislike it. You can look at the research on how is it better and how is it worse. It's not as clear cut case as that forbidding people to go to concerts is bad for people who earn money by organizing concerts.

>>sars-cov-2 is so mild in objective terms >We certainly agree here.

Mild for viruses that kill and cripple some of their hosts at least. There are probably thousands of human viruses that are way milder and and not that many that are more deadly and harmful.


>"since the situation is in flux and information is still trickling in"

>I won't find you the data that doesn't exist yet.

Right, so not exactly something that you can base much on (yet). I could also make very similar arguments about the AZ vaccine, as a younger person.

Declaring your statements to be "basic evolution" does not make them true.

>How that milder variant is doing now? Compared to, let's say, the British one, or the Brazilian one?

The article was talking about the British one. I am also in the UK, and not dead. Yes, it was written soon after the initial outbreak, because Covid-19 mutated quite quickly. Using some similar fuzzy evidence, it would seem that "long Covid" sufferers are primarily people who caught Covid in March/April 2020.


> The article was talking about the British one.

I checked again and it doesn't seem so. It's about mutation D614G which was the mutation that caused first wave of the pandemic globally in the spring 2020 and probably beginning of second wave in the autumn before it was overshadowed by British variant B.1.1.7

It was milder and more easily transmissible than the original virus variant that was detected in China and that's what the article you cited is about.

B.1.1.7 appears to be both more easily transmissible and more deadly than D614G.


> Right, so not exactly something that you can base much on (yet).

Because the situation is constantly changing you can't postpone reasoning and decisions till solid data is available. If you did that you'd always be wrong because you'd reason and operate on solid data that is stale.

You need to take into account the preliminary data and adjust your reasoning and decisions as more data comes in.

> I could also make very similar arguments about the AZ vaccine, as a younger person.

How would that look?

> Declaring your statements to be "basic evolution" does not make them true.

Content of the statements does. Check them with your favorite evolutionary biologist or virologist.

> The article was talking about the British one.

So the data from last August seem to be imprecise because more recent data shows that British variant is certainly not less deadly than the original one.

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/03/10/health/coronavirus-varian...

> Using some similar fuzzy evidence, it would seem that "long Covid" sufferers are primarily people who caught Covid in March/April 2020.

That would be great if British variant at least didn't give people long covid. My country is in the peak of third wave, the first one caused overwhelmingly by British variant so it's a bit too soon to tell.


>> I could also make very similar arguments about the AZ vaccine, as a younger person.

>How would that look?

You really can't see the parallel? "There's data coming in that suggests the AZ vaccine is deadly to a small but significant population, so while we wait for more data, we're going to halt its use".

>Content of the statements does. Check them with your favorite evolutionary biologist or virologist.

The onus is on the person making the statements to back them up. What you've said on the subject sounds very reasonable, but I can't find anywhere else.

As for your linked article on the British variant B117:

"Dr. Julian Tang, honorary associate professor and clinical virologist at the University of Leicester, said in a statement that he is "still not yet very convinced by these results" from the study."

Because they can't yet control for winter conditions affecting health.


> You really can't see the parallel? "There's data coming in that suggests the AZ vaccine is deadly to a small but significant population, so while we wait for more data, we're going to halt its use".

But there's no data like that. And even preliminary observations estimate danger of causing clotting by AZ at less that is caused by air travel.

> What you've said on the subject sounds very reasonable, but I can't find anywhere else.

I'm sorry to hear that. Could you list exactly which statements I made that tou feel lack scientific backing and I'll try to do my best to find scientific or educational materials on the subject to back them up.

> "Dr. Julian Tang, honorary associate professor and clinical virologist at the University of Leicester, said in a statement that he is "still not yet very convinced by these results" from the study."

I agree that the evidence is not yet as strong that the effect can't be attributed totally to other factors.

It's just strong enough for some people and for some it is not. Only time will tell.

However economic damage from lockdowns doesn't seem to be any more clear cut case when you compare economic impact of pandemic on countries that didn't do a lockdown like Sweden with the countries that did.


I won't argue that. I'm quite concerned about the power-grab taking place. Elected administrators clearly see themselves as rulers who can issue dictates almost arbitrarily with little regard for their effectiveness or necessity. The emergency powers that most, including myself, supported last year have been turned into open-ended excuses for unchecked power. However, the anti-vaxers and COVID-is-a-hoax folks aren't helping either. I've lost one friend personally and known several people who lost friends or relatives. The virus is real, and the vaccine is a huge tool for stopping the suffering and loss. (And no, I do NOT support mandated vaccine passports either.)

Sadly, I have lost more people I knew from drug overdose than from virus during last year.

Most people won't care about to understand the damage that lockdowns have done to vulnerable people. The difference is that covid deaths are direct and lockdown effect are nebulous so harder to prove and understand.

Now the same people are so worried for some vaccine side-effects. It doesn't make sense to me but that's how people think.


This is based on data from 22-3 (so 2 weeks old), now there is almost twice as many cases.

They estimate reporting rate 1-2 in 100 000. They've compared it to anti-conceptive pills which have incidence rate of blood clots 4 in 10 000.

They've asked AZ to look into the clinical trials (both closed an ongoing) and to try to find the mechanism of interaction of vaccine with the clotting system in the lab.

They have extensively considered that it's caused by intravenous application instead of intramuscular and rejected it due to small amounts.

Similar concerns for J&J surfaced in the clinical trial.

EDIT: this is from the Q&A after the press conference

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXhVH2Dl3Oc


Got any links?



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