Earlier this week, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box, saying that an Omicron vaccine will be available sometime in March.
With Omicron currently spreading through the population like wildfire, Delta still causing concern, ten other variants under surveillance, and unknown future variants, one has to wonder how vax manufacturers will ever hope to keep up.
Vax manufacturers have relied on the same old Wuhan variant of the spike protein to provide “immunity” in their jabs, and their waning effectiveness against the Delta variant became obvious last summer.
In the past two months, Omicron has blown up the whole vaccine scheme, and prompted Bourla to admit that two doses provide “limited protection, if any” against Omicron.
The reason for this lack of efficacy is that Omicron’s genome contains around 50 mutations, 36 of which are in the spike protein alone.
According to research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), while Omicron contains “characteristics” found in the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants, Omicron itself did not evolve from the Delta variant.
“This new variant of the covid-19 virus is very worrying. This variant carries some changes we’ve seen previously in other variants but never altogether in one virus. It also has novel mutations that we’ve not seen before.”Lawrence Young, virologist and professor of molecular oncology at Warwick Medical School
Read that again. If Omicron didn’t evolve from Delta, either Omicron itself was manufactured, perhaps as a less-lethal way to provide natural immunity to the global population (though at the cost of billions in Big Pharma profits), or other variants remain prevalent enough in the population to spawn new variants.
It is important to understand that COVID is not evolving in a predictable fashion and that more mutations on the spike protein make Omicron more able to evade antibodies from a previous infection or vaccination. But it’s equally important to understand that “science” isn’t chasing one strand of the virus. It’s chasing many.
With this in mind, vaccine manufacturers face the impossible task of retro-fitting vaccines to unpredictable variants. In the case of Omicron, they’re concocting a vaccine for a variant that a significant portion of the population will already have contracted by the time the vaccine gets to production.
What’s the point?
How many vaccines would we be expected to take in any given year? How many new variants will emerge? Will one vaccine per variant be enough? Two? More?
It would be wishful thinking to hope that Omicron is the last of the variants. What happens when the virus continues to mutate in unexpected ways, as Omicron has?
“Boosters can be done once, or maybe twice, but it’s not something that we can think should be repeated constantly.”Marco Cavaleri, EMA head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy
And let us not forget that we don’t actually know the long-term effects of either these novel vaccines or the novel virus itself (or the compounded risk of having both, repeatedly).
The point is that the CEO of Pfizer knows all of this, but he doesn’t have to care.
All he sees is a perpetual cash cow in every vaccinated person, and he’ll have a drug ready for any medical condition caused by the jab and the virus.
Categories: COVID Counterpunch