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Try not to Laugh at Moderna's "Omicron Vaccine"
Based on Extinct December 2021 Version of Ba.1
Moderna made a very upbeat announcement today.
A 50 µg booster dose of mRNA-1273.214 met all pre-specified endpoints including superior neutralizing antibody response (geometric mean ratio) against the Omicron variant one month after administration when compared to the original mRNA-1273 vaccine.The booster dose of mRNA-1273.214 was generally well-tolerated, with side effects comparable to a booster dose of mRNA-1273 at the 50 µg dose level.
Great, I thought at first, perhaps I should give up on my vaccine skepticism, sign up to receive the new “Omicron vaccine”, tweet a picture with a Band-Aid on my arm, and be protected from Covid forever with the new “effective” version. Somehow, though, I decided to dig a little deeper, did my own research, and decided to remain a Covid vaccine skeptic.
Omicron Vaccine? Which Omicron?
The trial information discloses that the mRNA-1273.214 is based on Sars-Cov-2 variant B.1.1.529 (and the Wuhan virus spike RNA mixed in). B.1.1.529 is the original “Omicron”, which was soon renamed to Omicron BA.1, as more Covid variants appeared.
Moderna repeatedly talks about “response against the Omicron variant”. However, there is not one “Omicron Variant”. Numerous “Omicron Variants” appeared since Dec 2021: Ba1.1, Ba.2, Ba.2.12.*, Omicron XE, Ba.3, Ba.4, and Ba.5, just to name a few.
The original variant B.1.1.529 (also known as Ba.1) was on the decline since January and already disappeared two months ago:
Omicron Ba.1, which swept the world in December and January, was followed by numerous other variants that are also called “Omicron”. Calling them Omicron is somewhat of a misnomer. Ba.2, which followed Ba.1, is more genetically distant from Ba.1 than the distance between Ba.1 and Delta or Beta, @EthicalSkeptic shows:
Moderna is committing a sleight of hand, calling its new formulation an “Omicron vaccine”. It would be more proper to call it “Ba.1 based vaccine”. Implying protection from such distantly related relatives of Ba.1, by calling them Omicron, deceives consumers.
Moderna “Rebrands” Trial Midstream
Obviously, Moderna’s leaders are very bright and when they saw Ba.1 variant die off, they immediately thought along the same lines I did and decided to rebrand their trial and remove overt references to B.1.1.529 from the name of the trial.
It was originally called: A Study to Evaluate the Immunogenicity and Safety of mRNA-1273.529 Vaccine for the COVID-19 Omicron Variant B.1.1.529. They renamed it to A Study to Evaluate the Immunogenicity and Safety of Omicron Variant Vaccines in Comparison With mRNA-1273 Booster Vaccine for COVID-19
No doubt, this change was introduced to encourage second booster uptake among the dwindling vaccine enthusiasts, who would be better persuaded by “Omicron vaccine” as opposed to “B.1.1.529 vaccine”.
Strange Pivot to “Bivalent” Vaccine Using Wuhan Variant
They also decided, instead of a pure Omicron Ba.1-based mRNA, to use a “bivalent vaccine”, which is a mix of the Ba.1 vaccine and Wuhan-variant vaccine.
Why, may I ask, add a two-years-ago extinct Wuhan variant? I would like others to weigh in, but my own explanation is that the pure Ba.1 vaccine did not work well at all due to Original Antigenic Sin, so they had to make a change on April 11.
In other words, due to vaccinated people’s antigenic fixation on the Wuhan variant, the vaccine needs to contain Wuhan variant spikes to elicit any immune response at all. And that is why Wuhan spikes were added. Due to an extreme lack of data, the above is speculation, that I would like to see confirmed or disconfirmed.
So, to give a conclusion, this proposed vaccine is based on an extinct variant that is extremely distant from currently existing variants and specifically the up-and-coming Ba.5 and would be unlikely to even engage the newer variants.
Antibody Titers: Garbage in, Garbage Out
Moderna’s release contains gleaming references to “antibody titers”.
mRNA-1273.214 met all primary endpoints in the Phase 2/3 trial including neutralizing antibody response against Omicron when compared to a 50 µg booster dose of mRNA-1273 in baseline seronegative participants. Pre-specified criteria for superiority as measured by neutralizing geometric mean titer ratio (GMR) with the lower bound of the confidence interval >1 was met. The GMR and corresponding 97.5% confidence interval was 1.75 (1.49, 2.04). A booster dose of mRNA-1273.214 increased neutralizing geometric mean titers (GMT) against Omicron approximately 8-fold above baseline levels. Primary endpoints of non-inferiority against ancestral SARS-CoV-2 were also met, with GMR against ancestral SAR-COV-2 (D614G) of 1.22 (1.08-1.37).
I would like to remind everyone that these antibodies are only good for counting: numerous people catch Covid soon after second boosters, despite high antibody counts. Gavin Newsom is one example of thousands.
Also, the above paragraph suspiciously only talks about seronegative participants - meaning those rare people who did not have Covid yet, or the less-rare vaccinated people who had Covid and did not develop N antibodies. What it means is that the results were worse for seropositive people, right? Why else mention seronegative people?
Incidentally, Moderna collects information about Covid infections among the trial participants, but will not have to disclose these outcomes for a year. Whether this “Omicron vaccine” prevents Omicron, is a secondary — less important — outcome, and will not need to be disclosed for a whole year.
Despite all that, this ridiculous variant vaccine will be soon approved by the corrupt FDA.
Ba.1 the worst Long Term Antigen Candidate
The continuous evolution of Omicron poses great challenges to SARS-CoV-2 herd immunity and suggests that BA.1-derived vaccine boosters may not be ideal for achieving broad-spectrum protection.
Variant Whack-a-Mole Game is Very Profitable
Remember how you were a kid and your parents bought you a whack-a-mole game? Now imagine you could get $22 for every whack, wouldn’t you want that? I bet you would be excited!
This whack-a-mole game is now called Future Framework. FDA recently decided to approve future Covid vaccines without clinical trials. Since they already know that the mRNA vaccines are “safe and effective,” they obviously do not need no stinking clinical trials. After all, remember, science is on their side. The streamlined no-trial approach facilitates rapid approval of new vaccines based on endlessly appearing new variants.
This is not going to yield good results or prevent Covid. But imagine the business opportunities! New variants appear — Moderna makes new vaccines — more variants appear — more vaccines are needed! At $22 per dose, Moderna will make plenty of money. And vaccine recipients will receive an endless stream of variant-based mRNA injections and also endless series of Covid reinfections.
As a pro-business person, I am very happy for Moderna. I am less happy for people who will be reinjected and reinfected with the resulting cornucopia of variants, but oh well. Who cares? Nobody at the FDA.