Case in point: there is a raging disagreement about booster shots in the news over the past several weeks, and the conflicting statements drive me to news-weariness.
The first case: this story is not an article. It's a press release, and I wish we would stop treating these like "scientific publications".
The second case: there is a real debate going on, on a global level: should we use vaccines for booster vaccinations, or shouldn't we first vaccinate the whole world to get control of the pandemic. This is not only a question of medicine, this is also global politics, the rich North versus the not so rich rest of the world, patents and corporations versus saving lifes – debate is inevitable.
The issue is that the words "necessary" and "sufficient" are left to the reader, and are deeply political.
Some people will argue that we must do every possible thing in our power to save every possible life, so even a 0.01% of increased protection would be enough to make booster shots "necessary" and the current regiment "insufficient".
Some other will accept loss of life, and will even call vaccine shots "unnecessary" since the vast majority of the population - especially the non fragile part - doesn't seem to suffer from covid. In their mind, our our natural immunity itself is "sufficient".
Most people arguing on this subject are actually not arguing over scientific arguments, but are arguing over their own position between those two extremes. And they throw in some numbers / quote experts to sound more scientific than they really are in the vain hope to convince the other part that they are somehow more "right".
1. People (especially experts) are legitimately debating the facts, i.e. what the effect of a booster shot is (not "arguing", this is just the normal scientific process)
2. People also have to make a value judgement about whether we shouldn't now first vaccinate third-world countries instead of getting booster shots, based on our current understanding of 1 (although this isn't purely for ethical reasons, the world doesn't really want the virus to spread and mutate in other regions either)
And for both of these orthogonal issues, most people don't fall into any of the two extreme camps described in GP's post.
The fact don’t change every week only the interpretation.
The only fact that we can say is really changing is the R0 value of the virus but this is expected because it change over time because of our actions!
It’s more like the current price of a company stock on the NeeYork stock exchange will change every week.
It change when we get new data about that company and reinterpret how much it”s worth
I wish that as so.
The ‘factual’ statistics can be stretched however one wishes.
For example, what does it mean to be vaccinated? Or, for that matter, what does it mean to ‘hospitalized’? Does it mean Covid symptoms necessitated hospitalization? Or, perhaps, everyone in the hospital who tested positive? Does it include ‘recovered’ patients who, for unrelated reasons, are still in the hospital, albeit no longer in a Covid ward?
The statistics for this entire fiasco have been garbage. I wish it were not so.
They certainly aren’t ‘facts’ as you suggest.
The corona's spike protein though is a simple structure that will likely still infect (be able to get inside a cell) after many kinds of mutations - some of which won't be mitigated with previous vaccinations (mu is leaning this way).
Contrast this with polio which has a Tetris like key that must link up with complex cellular proteins in our cells to enter. Slight mutations in this render it unable to pass through the cell wall. It's why vaccinating for this is so effective and long lived.
That question has been asked and answered ad nauseum, it's a resounding yes, especially for the mRNA vaccines.
It also depends how many months have elapsed since your last shot, more than five and it seems to be waning in Israel.
With, mu early indications seem to point towards it not working to reduce severity.
* Much more sterile environments for fomites. We wash everything including our hands
* Much more sterile environments for water pathogens
* Much less sterile environments for respiratory viruses. We now have indoor sealed buildings that allow aerosols to build up. Ancestral humans would not have had this
It seems to me that we could plausibly use less sterility in terms of stuff we touch, but more sterility in terms of air.
Water seems fine as it is: you see some pretty bad results in places with water borne pathogens.
On what basis can you argue we evolved to have more respiratory pathogens than present, given the lack of indoor environments in the past?
We nowadays live in more sterile conditions, but we also live in a way bigger communities than ever, with significantly more population mobility - which makes us on average potentially exposed to a much wider spectrum of different germs in one's lifetime than it was a case ever before. When modern ppl get in contact with isolated tribes, although they're living whole lives in totally non-sterile conditions, it's almost always the modern people who will make them sick, not the other way around.
Sure, our germs make isolated people sick, but are we healthier because of the respiratory viruses, or are we merely germier?
OP seems to be arguing the hygiene hypothesis applies to respiratory pathogens.
You could make that argument but here it appears it's not a lasting immune response but an ephemeral one which requires an active rhinovirus infection and antigen response to be protective.
It's also not definitive and the article mentions the possibility of cytokine storms.
What this article is saying is that exposure to the cold virus at exactly the right point in time helps the immune system fight Covid. That's a small window that isn't overly helped by general exposure. You could even imagine it would be made worse - if we're all exposed to the cold all the time we've developed more immunity and this mechanism might not happen.
I'm still sceptical of any broad generalization here.
Especially now that we’re seeing that the effect of current vaccines is waining over 6-12 months, it’s time to start thinking more widely as the first people with the vaccine are coming back into risk. Animal reservoir data suggests this choice might be forced anyway - we can’t go vaccinating all the bats.
Nobody’s disparaging natural immunity, they just rightly said “I’m not sure this helps much”.
And it really doesn’t seem to, because all this research says is “if you’re infected with a rhinovirus at the exact right moment immediately before catching COVID, there might be an immune benefit (or it might trigger a cytokine storm). Catch the rhinovirus before or after that point, and there’s no immune benefit whatsoever”
Given the extremely narrow window of opportunity, you’d have to, somehow, carry a rhinovirus with you and dose yourself just before you caught COVID. It’s wildly impractical, and I can’t imagine why or how you would think this “gets us closer to herd immunity”. What the research does not claim is “having caught a cold at any point is protective against COVID”
That isn't what this says. This research looks at one aspect of the immune response (interferons), and concludes there's a benefit to up-regulating interferon response early in SARS-CoV2 infection.
You cannot leap to the conclusion that "there's no benefit whatsoever" in other situations. The research didn't look at other questions.
More like modern recognition of a natural interactive effect between micro-organisms which might have even predated humanity itself.
>“There are hidden interactions between viruses that we don’t quite understand, and these findings are a piece of the puzzle we are just now looking at,” Foxman said.
This could be a very promising area of study and a major step toward understanding not just covid.
Maybe even things like phage therapy where certain viruses attack and kill bacteria.
Plus when you think about it Staph is a deadly bacteria which can sometimes get out-of-control, but there are variants of it too and supposedly a major percentage of the population carries it at all times without apparent ill effect.
What if that Staph is one that fights back against a virus and gives some protection against covid itself? May be far-fetched but one thing's for sure, the collection of the additional data would be nearly frictionless. Especially compared to lots of other data struggles.
You have to figure that micro-organisms have been fighting against each other for a while now, and could very well have had millions of years to refine their tactics before mammals even came along.
If for no other reason than sheer boredom.
Plus things that have survived have been at somewhat of a stalemate for at least a few millennia, penicillin was a natural bacteriotoxin that had been produced by a type of mold the whole time, just waiting to be discovered.
I'm not disparaging, I'm asking if it actually grants any. Does the body actually learn to fight COVID if it's just throw up defenses for the Cold?
> I’d consider bringing my young kids to a ‘pox party’ to help get things under control, given the latest evidence.
Pox parties only worked because the parents and grandparents were already immune. Instead you're creating your own little super-spreader event that will move through whoever they come in contact with. People wouldn't have done Pox parties if they thought they were going to kill grandma with them. Also, please keep in mind that, like chicken pox, while many children will be OK, some don't, so much so that children's hospitals currently need help.
I'm not suggesting we do it willy nilly. This summer could have been a great opportunity to organize camps with immune adults overseeing such events.
412 people under 18 in the US died from COVID, whereas non-covid pnumonia is 924 (both in spite of measures to control respiratory viruses). It's pretty clear that the benefit of such parties on older people would outweigh the cost to the kids, especially when you factor in the exploding teen suicide rate attributable in part to the lockdowns affecting social lives.
Depends on the cold, I think. This rhinovirus might just be priming the immune system. There are coronavirus colds that might provide antibodies
Our current measures are blunting the spread of germs but by no means have we managed to hit a 'sterile' environment where there is no spread.
Do you have kids? They're ... pretty good at getting germs, masks/social distancing or not. When they get exposed to a pathogen is largely luck anyway.
Nobody's in a sterile environment here. These kids are touching/licking stuff, picking noses, rubbing eyes, you name it.
Maybe this is really just our human nature and hubris ultimately doing us in. We focus on trying to resolve short-term, acute situations where the cost-benefit calculations are perhaps more tangible and easier to measure and understand, but as a result we ultimately fail to properly consider the possible longer-term costs of our actions, even if those may turn out to be more damaging (by some measure) in the long term. In the pursuit of an ephemeral benefit today, the negative and possibly persistent effects of our actions get massively discounted, with the burdens of cleaning up after our actions ultimately placed on our descendants. If solving some problem today causes some problems down the road, then we seem so sure today that somebody else will manage to figure it out then, ad infinitum. The ratchet can only tighten things so far before something breaks.
As an example, I'd wager that the rise in childhood asthma/allergies is related to something that was thought to be (and maybe actually is) beneficial for children's health in the short term.
When I was a kid, there were a few people I knew of who had chronic issues with asthma and allergies but it seemed pretty unusual. Today, it seems like half the kids on my kids sport teams have inhalers or epi-pens or both.
For data, you might look at RSV trends compared to usual. (Usual is winter spike).
The best thing for your child is for them to socialise as much as possible with other kids. That means they will get sick. In normal times, 2-3% of babies end up in hospital with respiratory infections at some point. Obviously in the short run it sucks, but long run it's healthy.
How much of a bad thing is a good thing?
In order to make major new advances we'll need to go back and develop a better theoretical understanding of how all the moving pieces fit together through basic research.
Which is exactly what society did for more than a year. Even assisted living places were cut off from outside visitors. It’s cruel and inhumane.
In the vaccination you received, there was a controlled dosage of the active ingredient. This had been tested in thousands of people and is known to give a certain amount of immune response and an acceptable amount of side effects.
When you get have contact with someone who is infectious there is a huge variation in how much viral load they might have and how much they shed. So the first person you mean might only "gift" you a tiny dose that doesn't improve your post-vaccination immunity much at all. The next day you might meet a super contagious person, get basically drenched in viral particles, and then have a breakthrough case that makes you sick for weeks.
It's the sort of "clever hack" that probably sounds appealing to a lot of software engineers but is a terrible public health plan.
That was great at the time, but today's vaccines are just a much better and more targetted way of creating immunity.
So no need to get Covid the "natural way". If you are fully vaccinated, you are fully vaccinated. As long as there is no new escape variant you are fine already.
The third shot might be pretty optional for young people, we will have to see. Still even if necessary, it is not like you have to get a shot every week, the third will probably last much longer.
Do you have a source for this? I feel like many articles/studies I've read state the opposite, i.e., vaccine immunity > natural immunity.