Author Topic: Probability that covid will become endemic  (Read 11433 times)

LearningMachine

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Re: Probability that covid will become endemic
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2021, 11:38:16 PM »
The Rockefeller researchers got blood samples from 20 people who had received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and tested their antibodies against various virus mutations in the lab.

With some [mutations], the antibodies didnít work as well against the virus ó activity was one-to-threefold less, depending on the mutation, said the study leader, Rockefellerís Dr. Michel Nussenzweig.

Source:https://www.marketwatch.com/story/some-covid-19-variants-may-reduce-effectiveness-of-vaccines-01611184451?mod=home-page#


Cigarbutt

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Re: Probability that covid will become endemic
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2021, 06:09:38 AM »
The Rockefeller researchers got blood samples from 20 people who had received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine and tested their antibodies against various virus mutations in the lab.
With some [mutations], the antibodies didnít work as well against the virus ó activity was one-to-threefold less, depending on the mutation, said the study leader, Rockefellerís Dr. Michel Nussenzweig.
Source:https://www.marketwatch.com/story/some-covid-19-variants-may-reduce-effectiveness-of-vaccines-01611184451?mod=home-page#
The Rockefeller 'scientists' produce solid work but the sample is small. In short, this is something that needs to be monitored for non-linear changes (unlikely) and, even with some delay, vaccine makers are equipped with relevant experience to modify vaccines accordingly.
Taking a wider perspective, this 'new' (entering an immunologically naive population) virus (and minor variants) is having an unprecedented opportunity to circulate (and to mutate). What is surprising (and comforting) is actually the relatively low amount of genetic drift (compared to other viruses). This Covid-19 thing suffers (at least so far) from a lack of genetic diversity and this is another factor that supports the hypothesis that it will become a relatively low-grade endemic problem (and likely less of an issue than the flu over time). The following discussed that aspect:
https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2020/09/18/2017726117.full.pdf
Figure 1 is worth a thousand words.
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This post is pretty useless for an investment board. So let's use an analogy. This virus will run into difficulty (spreading and causing harm) the same way a company that has introduced a popular product maintains an echo-chamber type Board of Directors with little capacity to adapt.

maplevalue

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Re: Probability that covid will become endemic
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2021, 05:52:34 PM »
On the topic of mutations/endemicness, it seems one rarely hears about mutations leading the virus to become more deadly (i.e. right now it seems like the UK variant is just more contagious). Is there a natural tendency, or a medical term for, these viruses to become more contagious/less deadly as time goes on (from an evolutionary perspective this would seem to make sense)?

Cigarbutt

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Re: Probability that covid will become endemic
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2021, 08:07:04 PM »
On the topic of mutations/endemicness, it seems one rarely hears about mutations leading the virus to become more deadly (i.e. right now it seems like the UK variant is just more contagious). Is there a natural tendency, or a medical term for, these viruses to become more contagious/less deadly as time goes on (from an evolutionary perspective this would seem to make sense)?
Interesting question. A controversial one though as the origin of viruses is, itself, a very controversial topic. Viruses like coronaviruses mutate less than the typical viruses but it still provides an accelerated version compared to DNA organisms. Because of frequent replications, it's probably best (evolutionary standpoint, to 'survive') to keep a dense set of genetic information and to have genes involved simultaneously in multiple characteristics. The result is that mutations are very likely to be deleterious (the new variant disappears rapidly). Typically in viruses, it's very rare that the contagiousness or virulence do change significantly during a spread. Covid-19 is unusual because of the law of large numbers. Still, the significance of the vast majority of mutations is only to be able to track origins (signature of the virus). Everything is possible but the vast majority of isolated mutations are unlikely to change virulence (many genes involved) and unlikely to rapidly introduce significant changes in contagiousness (it seems there are some variants of that nature out there for Covid-19 because of the global spread and incredible number of replications). i would say this is just good or bad luck on very low odds and not from an evolutionary plan that would take longer to accomplish. From a purely evolutionary perspective, the best scenario would be to increase contagiousness and to decrease virulence but, because of the factors mentioned above and because of the ongoing process to quasi-herd immunity, this is unlikely to play out significantly.
The large six-sigma squared event was when a mutation (or lab event?) opened the possibility to jump species. This is an area where humans can have an impact (positive or negative). i would offer the opinion that, at this point, the likelihood of a more virulent virus is higher from a new event at the source than as a result of an evolutionary process of Covid-19. In his book La Peste, Camus said it well (just like bear markets): "Everyone knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky."
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This post is quite useless for an investment board. So, here's an investment-related analogy for the virus mutation question. In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin started to work in a small garage and developed a product that spread and gained market share. Let's say you switch one of the two co-founders for any member of this board, or even most other citizens in the world, you may end end with a more contagious product or a more virulent competitor but it would be highly unlikely. The initial mutation was the key one. i hope that makes some sense.

writser

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Re: Probability that covid will become endemic
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2021, 11:56:52 PM »
On the topic of mutations/endemicness, it seems one rarely hears about mutations leading the virus to become more deadly (i.e. right now it seems like the UK variant is just more contagious). Is there a natural tendency, or a medical term for, these viruses to become more contagious/less deadly as time goes on (from an evolutionary perspective this would seem to make sense)?

There was an interesting article in the Economist recently touching on that subject: https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2021/01/02/sars-cov-2-is-following-the-evolutionary-rule-book .

Quote
So far, the evidence suggests that despite their extra transmissibility, neither new variant is more dangerous on a case-by-case basis than existing versions of the virus. In this, both are travelling the path predicted by evolutionary biologists to lead to long-term success for a new pathogenówhich is to become more contagious (which increases the chance of onward transmission) rather than more deadly (which reduces it).

I am unfortunately not an evolutionary biologist but that makes sense to me. There is no evolutionary advantage in a virus becoming more deadly. In fact it is probably a disadvantage, both because dead people cannot spread a virus effectively and because society would go in lockdown XXXXL if a new mutation is ten times as deadly.

I guess that doesn't make it impossible in the short term though.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2021, 12:05:04 AM by writser »
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Cigarbutt

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Re: Probability that covid will become endemic
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2021, 05:29:10 AM »
There is no evolutionary advantage in a virus becoming more deadly.
Small additional comment. Assuming a virus evolution over a few months is a long enough window for adaptation and evolution to play out, efficiently killing your host is clearly not an 'advantage'. With the Spanish Flu episode, what killed the host was typically a secondary bacterial pneumonia, as a side effect of the initial virus invasion and before antibiotics were widely available. The particular matter with Covid-19 is that, like other 'successful' viruses, it is efficient at alluding the human immune system but it is also able to inhibit and delay the immune response in a way as to cause an unfortunate side effect related to this delay, in certain people, resulting in an exaggerated and delayed immune response that is out of proportion to the invader and that kills the host through some kind of self-inflicted immune storm. Of course, the virus does not really care about this unfortunate side effect in some people.
I am unfortunately not an evolutionary biologist but that makes sense to me.
This sentence is heavy with 'meaning'. Our investing styles are different. i tend to go for focused and rare bets, for opportunistic and easy killings in a way. This requires to reach a level of confidence equivalent to being able to challenge the CEO or Board. Despite this, there's always an impostor's syndrome involved which, i guess, must be felt by all who try to define their evolutionary circle of competence.

LearningMachine

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Re: Probability that covid will become endemic
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2021, 09:44:32 AM »
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/south-africa-covid-strain-resistance-antibodies-coronavirus-vaccine-latest-research/

Researcher at a biohazards lab in Johannesburg seems to be claiming that new strain is 10x more resistant to the vaccine and possibly "knockout" the immunity from vaccine totally.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2021, 09:51:51 AM by LearningMachine »