Latest News

A tale of two colleges
COVID-19 at the University of Wisconsin this fall has been pretty much a non-issue. While we are wearing masks, full in-person teaching is happening on campus. Bars, restaurants, and all other busine…
Read more
Get your Vitamin D to Protect Yourself from COVID-19
This sounds like another hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin hoax, but the science is peer-reviewed. Getting enough vitamin D in your diet is an excellent way to protect yourself from severe COVID-19. E…
Read more
About 35,000 people die from drug-resistant infection in the US. What are we going to do?
When antibiotics first achieved widescale use in the middle of the 20th century, they had a tremendous impact. For example, the mortality rate in England from infectious disease dropped from 25% in 1…
Read more
Nasal nanoSTING vaccines may Provide Lasting Protection Against SARS-CoV-2
All successful vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 have used the spike protein as the target and delivered the vaccine by intramuscular injection, typically a shot in the left or right shoulder. The vaccines…
Read more
Probiotic Bacterium can prevent antibiotic use side effects
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine demonstrate the power of probiotics. A test group was given Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 as they took a course of amoxicillin clavula…
Read more

News

No, that is NOT what the study says -- Immunity to COVID


 

I am getting tired of the scare tactics that news and media sources are using to get you to click on headlines. Headlines in some press releases drive me bananas:

New study: Nursing home residents, health care workers lose more than 80% of their COVID-19 immunity six months after Pfizer vaccine

No, no, NO, NO. That is not what the study shows. Here are the facts as I see them from reading the pre-released paper.

Scientists at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine report on levels of anti-spike and anti-receptor binding domain (RBD) antibodies in nursing home (NH) residents and in healthcare workers who care for them. In the NH group, antibody titers did drop more than 80%. A drop in antibody levels in healthcare workers was also seen but went from 2% having undetectable antibodies to 16%. Another way of describing the data would be to say instead of 62 out of 64 healthcare workings having detectable antibodies, 54 out of 64 did. In addition, the study only looks at levels of antibody in the serum, not at the readiness of the rest of the immune system to fight COVID. There is a lot more to immunity than antibodies.  It is not at all clear what this means for infection, disease severity, or death.

Data from the CDC looking at the number of breakthrough infections showed that during the period from January 1–April 30, 2021, there were a total of 10,262 SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections. Since during this time it was estimated that 101 million people in the US were fully vaccinated, it appears that breakthrough infections are extremely rare. Across the United States, the number of breakthrough cases in the vaccinated is less than 1%. This seems to contradict the data about immunity as measure solely by antibody levels. So what does this mean? I suspect it indicates that antibodies levels as measured by blood tests are not a reliable measure of the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines.