The Omicron Hypothesis, Part 3
The Vaccine Wars Part XIV
A quick summary of primary open hypotheses explored:
Hypothesis 1: Omicron has been circulating widely for at least several months.
Hypothesis 2: Omicron was genetically engineered—most likely by somebody in the same working group who engineered an mRNA vaccine to stop SARS-CoV-2.
Hypothesis 3 (the "don't call it a variant" hypothesis): Omicron did not emerge from the phylogenetic tree whose root is the first-sequenced Wuhan SARS-CoV-2 strain.
In this part, we're going to talk about hypotheses regarding vaccine efficacy. Omicron forces a complete rethink of the logic usually used to argue that the vaccines are effective.
Before we really get started, I want to mention that the list of things I have to write about is growing faster than I can write about them. This likely means that there will be something like a large summary article when I feel like the major lines of evidence are laid out.
Now, I wanted to refer to what others call omicron as SARS-Comicon, but apparently Moderna trademarked that in the year 1965, so I'll go with SARS-CoV-Omicron, or SCO. But wait, if you order SCO now, you get a second SCO absolutely free while supplies last!
The Omicron Cha-Cha
If you haven't yet heard, there is a second omicron strain. The cool kids are labeling the two strains BA.1 and BA.2, which any Cobra Kai could tell you stands for "bad ass 1" and "bad ass 2". I'm going to tack these onto my preferred SCO label: SCO.BA.1 and SCO.BA.2. Hopefully that will be clear as we move forward, but I may just refer to omicron in some instances that may or may not involve a clear grouping. Understand that there is sometimes not enough clarity in the information streams to distinguish between those situations, much less the two strains.
Like SCO.BA.1, SCO.BA.2 is like an antibody skeleton key, with mutations that are advantageous in dodging all the antibody classes dodged by the various SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Apologies that this twist in the story changes my writing timeline. I was so hoping to spend my Monday writing about Ralph Baric. But we need to deal with this pesky SCO.BA.2 for the moment because it's unclear at this point whether it will remain pesky.
For the blink of an eye, it looked as if the pandemic might be largely over. Surely we would be at or near herd immunity after this, right?
A lot of people just plain tired of the pandemic have been cheering "the end", and I dearly hope they are right, but I worry—and for more reasons than will fit in this bitty article.
It is worth reading through what that Naked Emperor has to say about SCO.BA.2.
I'll steal his leading image:
SCO.BA.2 is growing quickly in prevalence where it has been found. Now, let's combine this with what Igor Chudov observes about what is going on where SCO.BA.2 has been exploding.
Denmark's outbreak outstrips those of nearly all other nations, but the key feature is that cases started to fall, then pushed back upward. This was the result of a second, distinct wave.
I've seen waves push together to make multi-humped infection curves several times during the pandemic. But usually that happened during a nation's first serious infection wave due to disparate geographies. The U.S. and India were such examples.
But this dip-and-surge is something different. These waves represent not two different geographies, but two different strains. What this tells me is that the human terrain may unfortunately be treating these highly similar strains as if they are essentially different in nature. That would really not be good. Hopefully Team Omicron will continue to put far fewer people in the hospital per infection, than Team SARS-CoV-2 did.
The One-Two Punch
Before Mixed Martial Arts there was this sport called "boxing" where physically gifted pugilists put their fists in gloves, then punched at each other artfully. There was this clever sequence of events in boxing called the "one-two punch", which involved a left-handed jab followed immediately by a right cross. The idea was to make the opponent you wanted to pummel commit to defense of the simpler attack, but load force into the other side, striking a far harder blow. Ping then WHAM.
From what I've gathered, we currently have no reason to think that SCO.BA.2 hits people worse than does SCO.BA.1, but what we do not know is the effect of being hit by multiple infections, or whether this will be worse after vaccination. Aside from pathogenic priming alone, we have no idea what happens with reinfection rates when the bodies of vaccinated people elicit antibody responses that do not fit the pathogen and T cell response data looks as poor as it does. Will vaccinated people who suffer from SCO.BA.1 generate entirely new antibody responses? Nor do we know what happens with severity, for that matter. But there is worrying evidence that the vaccinated do in fact suffer reinfection of SARS-CoVs at higher rates.
We have vaccinated our way into known unknowns and even unknown unknowns. This seems like one of those reasons why caution maybe should have been exercised.
Will there be more omicron variants?
That seems impossible to know at this stage, but the SCO lineage(s) appear more specifically tailored to me—with mutations already in place to dodge antibody responses. So, I'm going to guess that there won't be so much mutation acquisition as with the SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan lineage.
What Do the Animals Tell Us
As a foolish child reading about Narnia, I strongly suspected that animals didn't really talk, parrots and their ilk aside. But these animals are speaking to us, if we but listen.
Back in 2020, I recall hearing about people's dogs and cats getting infected by SARS-CoV-2 and even developing COVID-19. Given the whacky information flooding to which we were subjected, I wasn't sure if I believed it, but I never waded more than an inch or two into actual research until just recently.
Of course, on face, the potential for a large swath of pets and other animals carrying coronaviruses to push infection back into the human population makes the notion of "zero COVID" seem all but absurd. It also makes the warnings by Geert Vanden Bossche and others over leaky vaccines look even more serious. But vaccine proponents never seem to come to the table where those discussions might be had in anything other than an asymmetric fashion. Maybe there is no internal contradiction at all and they just like leaving the rest of us confused about what looks like a tangled pile of nonsense by being unable to have simple conversations? (If you're reading and think I have all this wrong, please send me an invitation for a polite recorded conversation about what all is going on with this mass experimental vaccination campaign.)
Even the bad cat hasn't unpuzzled the yarn quite yet.
So…what does the research say?
Thanks for reining me back in.
In a paper first published in September, 2020, researchers found SARS-CoV-2 binding affinity for ACE2 receptors broadly among mammals. Shortly after that Denmark went on an illegal mass mink murder spree. Then the minks, many of which were getting sick from COVID before they were culled, began emerging from mass graves. So, somebody had to go brave the SARS gas pits to burn the bodies. Remember that when you think your job sucks.
For a good long while I was skeptical about the infection of wild animals by a virus for which outdoor transmission seems so rare (here and here). But after examples begin to pile up that aren't about zombie minks, a rational person rethinks their position. Perhaps waste waters and gas clouds carry virions channeled away from where most humans dwell via those wonderful sewage systems that really have made human civilization tremendously healthier. Could this be why over 80% of white-tailed during were found to be SARS-CoV-2 positive?!
My needle moved substantially on this topic. Poo matters. Perhaps humans mostly transmit SARS-CoV-2 indoors, but there are sufficient conditions that are in fact achieved that result in transmission to outdoor animals. Wastewater sampling certainly makes it appear that way. White-tailed deer don't drink filtered water or flush their poo away. These things matter.
Coincidentally, as I was writing this section, Geert published this summary of research on animal reservoirs. Hat tip to you, sir.
This leads me to a new hypothesis:
Hypothesis 4: Omicron is already endemic among a broad array of mammalian species.
This hypothesis is flexible, and somewhat dependent on whether or not SCO.AB.1 and SCO.AB.2 were released more recently than SARS-CoV-2 or less recently. I suspect that SCO.AB.x have been circulating for several years now, though I leave open the possibility that they were released recently—possibly either as vaccines or bioweapons (or some strange other category?). I lean one way, but I will save that discussion for later.
As for supporting evidence of this hypothesis, consider the possibility that omicron was released (intentionally or not) around four years ago. Then it could have spread around the world, reaching endemicity in perhaps just a year, but perhaps a bit longer. The virus would have higher R in dense Asian population centers (which also experience and build immunity to more coronaviruses), and lower R in the less densely populated Western hemisphere. This is consistent with the higher toll SARS-CoV-2 took on the West once it appeared, perhaps in the Fall of 2019. The higher the R value, the greater the proportion of the population that gets infected (and develops immunity) prior to reaching endemicity.
The new hypothesis 4 will serve us as we move on to discuss vaccine efficacy.
Why the Big Game of Pretend?
I believe that there may be different levels of answers to this question, but that's going to take some time (multiple articles) to talk about.
Look back at a couple of facts we have discussed already:
Omicron spreads better among the vaccinated.
All SARS-CoVs seem to have the ability to enter close animal reservoirs.
GISAID deleted an omicron sequence from way back in June.
Recall the strangeness of the large swath of COVID-Like Illness among patients in American hospitals. According to the CDC's own numbers, most of these cases are among the vaccinated (just like with omicron cases!).
This brings us to a new hypothesis:
Hypothesis 5: A large portion of previously recorded CLI, if not all, were actually cases of omicron infection.
It may very well be that nobody noticed because everybody was keeping their eye on the designations of "days since dose" in hospital statistics. After all, there have been observations of statistical shenanigans in hospitalization data, and hospitals are inextricably tied financially to the pharmaceutical companies that make vaccines (and were headed toward negative return on RND just prior to the pandemic).
Omicron…or SCO…may have been the gorilla all along. But the primers used in PCR testing would have dropped out leading to a substantial increase in false negatives.
On the other hand, Thomas Renz may have simply crushed the narrative while referencing data from the Project Salus weekly report purportedly showing 60% of hospitalizations for COVID-19 to be among the vaccinated. I greatly look forward to the release of those reports. And if the CDC ignored as much evidence as Renz presents here, I may personally go watch "the CDC trials" that will shortly take place.
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to just trust trial reports again?
Hypothesis 6: The "Pandemic of the Unvaccinated" story was pure fabrication and there is no need for unsurveilled omicron to fill in the gaps. The CDC data reports are simply fraudulent.
If either H5 or H6 turns out to be true, the implications are profound because it turns the entire vaccine debate on its head. Let's review why:
Given that scientists had never been able to figure out how to vaccinate for coronaviruses, had never figured out how to successfully deploy mRNA safely [for any purpose], and that the COVID-19 vaccines do not elicit secretory antibody (IgA) responses, the summary of mechanistic evidence should lead us to high skepticism of their success from the start.
The self-reported trials were anything but "well run clinical trials" with careless unblinding, poorly powered relative to the needs of a risk-benefit calculation, involved unexplained data exclusions that outweigh effect sizes, and massive numbers of suspected COVID cases for which no testing even took place. In the absence of other evidence, we should demand to see the raw data immediately before making any conclusions of efficacy.
The early retrospective studies failed to adjust for risk of viral prevalence, dodged the usual analysis of statistical masking that inflates reported efficacy, never approach the question of survivorship bias, and do nothing to answer the numerous observations of modeling paradoxes made by Professor Norman Fenton.
In other words, there is very little solid evidence of vaccine efficacy at all outside of hospital data. And after finding out that the CDC declared a "pandemic of the unvaccinated" using a completely made up statistic (to three decimal places, but admitting only later that it was a guess) after gathering data from a small handful of hospitals in a small handful of states
But how can we know?
Authorities could have (and should have already) gone back and retested samples.
Weirdly, authorities don't even want to properly test for omicron now. They haven't reconfigured primers to properly sequence and test for omicron, which seems awfully weird given that they fully have the resources and capability. We're at the point at which a dedicated hobbyist can buy a Sanger sequencing machine. Heck, I could buy one!
Here is an example of sequences in GenBank identified by Dr. Henry Ealy. All are identified as omicron even though the first four do not have the receptor-binding domain (RBD) mutations that define SCO.AB.1 and SCO.AB.2:
All over the omicron literature, we see this strange acceptance of inappropriate proxy testing for omicron that instead of being based on omicron's actual genetic code is based on a combination of some of the usual primers (that pretty much pick up all SC2/SCO) and S-gene target failure. And in fact, this form of proxy testing goes back at least as far as the emergence of the first so-called variant of concern, Alpha B.1.1.7.
Let Us Summarize
Instead of doing their jobs correctly and getting a new sense of the progression of SARS-CoVs in their totality during the pandemic, authorities
busily ignored all genetic evidence to the contrary in order to quickly declare omicron a "variant" of SARS-CoV-2,
deleted evidence of prior circulation in GISAID,
did not backtest samples under the implied (though untested) assumption that omicron was not previously circulating,
failed to update testing procedures to properly sort out actual sequence prevalence.
As I said at the outset of this article, the relevant material and explorations are piling up faster than I can document them. But speaking of documents, I am putting together a timeline of gain-of-function research that relates to the omicron hypotheses. But as a teaser, I'd like to go ahead and float the most interesting hypothesis that seems entirely consistent with all the evidence collected thus far (unless you can help me see what I might be interpreting incorrectly).
Hypothesis 7: The Greatest Crime Hypothesis. Omicron, SARS-CoV-2, and the COVID-19 vaccines were designed together as a toolset for establishing control.
I could add "...for establishing control in an era in which the dollar is failing."
Hypothetically, the plan could go something like this:
Release a virus (omicron) that is not particularly harmful in the short term, but spreads at a torrid pace all around the world, quickly creating endemicity among both humans and other mammals ensuring a reliable background reservoir. This virus leaves high levels of immunity in its wake.
Release a highly related virus (SARS-CoV-2) to the first that is somewhat harmful (primarily to those who are frail and go untreated), that will create a controlled panic.
Release a whizzy new gene therapy quasi-vaccine that paints the vaccinated as targets, drawing omicron to them while the unvaccinated get infected with SARS-CoV-2 more often.
Profit while weakening the enemies of authoritarian rule.
Understand, I have a wide set of levels of belief among the hypotheses presented so far, and with substantial error bars. There is room to steer, mold, or abandon them. But this last one should demonstrate the importance of the exploration. If there is a 1% chance that it is true, it is worth a great deal of attention. Government-corporate alliances should not have such powers. In fact, they should not have such opportunities, which is to say that we need to be certain that the curtain is always open enough to see to it that they cannot.
Finally, I'd like to point out that many links/citations for this article were quickly and simply plucked from notes available at the Campfire.wiki.