As the world passes 4MM confirmed COVID cases, the NYT has just published new research published in the journal Nature calling into question the efficacy of US-made vaccines in offering protection against the Delta variant.
Shortly before the research was released, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday defended American COVID vaccines, claiming that the jabs developed by Pfizer, Moderna and J&J are all effective against the Delta variant, a mutant strain that has become the obsession of public health officials who claim that it could ignite another wave of the pandemic. But what they don't tell you is that epidemiologists believe COVID is now endemic in the human population, and that reaching "COVID zero" simply isn't possible.
At any rate, while the vaccine makers are salivating at the opportunity to produce lucrative booster shots offering protection against various variants, the new research previewed by the NYT and published in the journal Nature found that the Delta strain is able to bypass the antibodies produced by vaccination or prior infection.
Delta, which was first identified in India, is believed to be roughly 60% more infectious than the alpha variant - the strain also known as the "Kent Strain", or B.1.1.7, which was first identified by scientists in England. This week, as the number of new COVID cases climbed by double-digits from the prior week (while hospitalizations and deaths remained stagnant), Delta was declared the dominant variant found in the US.
Almost as alarming, the researchers found that while Delta is able to effectively evade the antibody response, the Beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa, can do it even more easily.
Here's more from the NYT report on the research:
The researchers looked at blood samples from 103 people who had been infected with the coronavirus. Delta was much less sensitive than Alpha to samples from unvaccinated people in this group, the study found.
One dose of vaccine significantly boosted the sensitivity, suggesting that people who have recovered from Covid-19 still need to be vaccinated to fend off some variants.
The team also analyzed samples from 59 people after they had received the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
Blood samples from just 10 percent of people immunized with one dose of the AstraZeneca or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were able to neutralize the Delta and Beta variants in laboratory experiments. But a second dose boosted that number to 95 percent. There was no major difference in the levels of antibodies elicited by the two vaccines.
"A single dose of Pfizer or AstraZeneca was either poorly or not at all efficient against Beta and Delta variants," the researchers concluded. Data from Israel and Britain broadly support this finding, although those studies suggest that one dose of vaccine is still enough to prevent hospitalization or death from the virus.
What's more, the delta variant was also found to be resistant to antibody-based treatments, like "bamlanivimab", the monoclonal antibody cocktail produced by Eli Lilly.
Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci tells reporters that nine out of ten Americans who died from the virus were unvaccinated. Despite the growing number of vaccinated patients who are being infected and seriously sickened, insisted that the "science" shows the vaccines are extremely effective at preventing infection.
The logic is confusing, but it goes something like this: Delta is scary, so get vaccinated...but vaccines don't protect against Delta. It's just the latest reminder that Dr. Fauci & company don't care about "the science". They're here to protect the narrative and the reputation of the vaccines, or else risk undermining the White House.