Scientific breakthroughs are exhilarating and in recognition of brilliant minds joining with the collective spirit to benefit all species. Let’s do this! And with open minds and hearts for the common good.
Highly recommend Walter Isaacson’s latest book, Code Breaker. (Mind boggling the body of work, depth, research and writing Isaacson continues to share.)
This book illustrates clearly the symmetry of knowledge and research made manifest in the discoveries of CRISPR.
Also, the documentary film ‘Human Nature’ streaming on Netflix is a wonderful precursor for Isaacson’s book, produced by journalist Dan Rather.
This important read from The Atlantic dropped on the 19th gives understanding to COVID, vaccinations and the increasing variants in relation to the vaccine and what scientists are working on now.
SCIENCEKATHERINE J. WU
Don’t Be Surprised When Vaccinated People Get Infected
Post-immunization cases, sometimes called “breakthroughs,” are very rare and very expected.
“Breakthrough infections, which occur when fully vaccinated people are infected by the pathogen that their shots were designed to protect against, are an entirely expected part of any vaccination process. They’re the data points that keep vaccines from reaching 100 percent efficacy in trials; they’re simple proof that no inoculation is a perfect preventative. And so far, the ones found after COVID-19 vaccination seem to be unextraordinary.
When breakthrough cases do arise, it’s not always clear why. The trio of vaccines now circulating in the United States were all designed around the original coronavirus variant, and seem to be a bit less effective against some newer versions of the virus. These troublesome variants have yet to render any of our current vaccines obsolete. But “the more variants there are, the more concern you have for breakthrough cases,” Saad Omer, a vaccine expert at Yale, told me. The circumstances of exposure to any version of the coronavirus will also make a difference. If vaccinated people are spending time with groups of unvaccinated people in places where the virus is running rampant, that still raises their chance of getting sick. Large doses of the virus can overwhelm the sturdiest of immune defenses, if given the chance.
The human side of the equation matters, too. Immunity is not a monolith, and the degree of defense roused by an infection or a vaccine will differ from person to person, even between identical twins. Some people might have underlying conditions that hamstring their immune system’s response to vaccination; others might simply, by chance, churn out fewer or less potent antibodies and T cells that can nip a coronavirus infection in the bud.”
Bottom line: the more folks who are vaccinated the less chance the variants continue to mutate off of each other. We need, at the very least, a base line of vaccinations. This isn’t political, or scary, it’s science.
As of March 19th, 40 million American’s have received full vaccinations. [The Atlantic]