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SARS-CoV-2

JN.1 COVID variant

JN.1 variant of COVID update

The JN.1 COVID-19 variant, a subvariant of Omicron, is rapidly spreading in the USA. While it may evade immunity from vaccines or previous infection, current vaccines appear effective against it. It poses a greater risk to the unvaccinated. Public health agencies are closely monitoring its transmission and severity to prevent potential disasters. COVID-19 remains a significant threat.

BA.2.86 variant

New information on the BA.2.86 COVID variant

The BA.2.86 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, also called the Pirola variant, is back on the CDC’s radar despite not causing significant infection increases previously. It may evade vaccines or natural immunity and is currently accounting for 9% of cases but isn’t driving infection or hospitalization increases. The public health risk is considered low compared to other variants. Vaccinated individuals have reduced risk of hospitalization, and there is no evidence the strain can evade vaccine or natural immunity entirely. Updates will continue as the situation develops.

COVID-19 virus mutate

Hey vaccine deniers — yes, the COVID-19 virus does mutate

Some of the latest nonsense from anti-vaxxers is that “viruses don’t mutate” or “the COVID virus does not mutate in the unvaccinated.” They use this unscientific garbage to justify their own lack of vaccination or why the vaccine is useless.

Of course, most of us understand that those two statements are fundamentally wrong. I partially discussed this in a previous post that attempted to refute a common anti-vaxxer claim that viruses become less virulent over time. That claim wasn’t even close to the truth.

So let’s take a close look at these nonsensical claims from our anti-vaccine friends that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 does or does not mutate. (Note — for simplicity, I’m going to call it the COVID-19 virus just because fewer people are familiar with the term, SARS-CoV-2.)

Read More »Hey vaccine deniers — yes, the COVID-19 virus does mutate
virus evolution

Virus evolution — debunking anti-vaccine myth that they become less virulent

Apparently, a 125-year-old debunked idea about virus evolution has circulated around the anti-vaccine world. They believe that if viruses are left on their own, they always evolve to become less virulent to humans. That’s why they falsely claim that the Omicron variant is almost nothing and very soon SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will evolve into something that we can ignore.

The old Skeptical Raptor is going to take a deep breath and hope he doesn’t lose any brain cells repeating that to all of you. Anti-vaxxers and COVID-19 deniers are wrong, completely and utterly wrong. It’s as if they never took a class on virology, evolution, or anything else germane to the discussion.

I know that any of you spending time reading this article are already listing out a dozen things that debunk this myth. Because we all know that first, that’s not how evolution works, and second, there are dozens of viruses that are known from the dawn of human history that have remained virulent over thousands of years.

Let’s take a look at this nonsense. Maybe I’ll give you some information to debunk some anti-vaxxer or COVID-19 denier nonsense.

Read More »Virus evolution — debunking anti-vaccine myth that they become less virulent
COVID-19 vaccine facts

COVID-19 vaccine facts and myths – UPDATED info about the new vaccines

There are so many myths about the COVID-19 vaccine, I wanted to post some facts about the new vaccines which we can use for debunking purposes. I used to think that the HPV vaccine brought the most hatred and misinformation from the anti-vaccine world, but it’s clear that the new COVID-19 vaccines are their new targets.

This article will only focus on the five vaccines that I believe will eventually receive FDA or European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ Janssen), and Novavax vaccines. I remain unconvinced that any vaccine made in China or the Russian Sputnik V vaccine will ever get approved by countries with robust drug regulatory agencies. However, if they are, I will certainly add them to a future iteration of this list.

I’m going to make this in a basic chart form for ease of use. I will link to supporting evidence wherever relevant.

Read More »COVID-19 vaccine facts and myths – UPDATED info about the new vaccines
ambulance architecture building business

Prior COVID infection will not keep you out of the hospital – get the vaccine

I recently discussed a new CDC study that stated that the COVID-19 vaccines provided better protection than a previous infection. Unfortunately, I buried the lede – COVID-19 vaccines are better than a prior COVID-19 infection in keeping you out of the hospital.

Not to be repeatedly repetitive, but I am going to re-review that paper in light of the lede – in other words, the anti-vaxxers keep ranting on about a prior COVID-19 infection. I don’t think it means what they think it means.

Read More »Prior COVID infection will not keep you out of the hospital – get the vaccine
COVID-19 diabetes

COVID-19 linked to type 1 diabetes – another reason for the vaccine

Well, if you need another reason to get the COVID-19 vaccine, then it should be that the disease itself may increase the risk of type 1 diabetes. Along with many other long-term health issues, some people may develop type 1 diabetes after an acute COVID-19 infection.

I want to briefly discuss this consequence of the disease because the long-term healthcare issues resulting from a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes are deeply concerning.

Read More »COVID-19 linked to type 1 diabetes – another reason for the vaccine
natural immunity COVID

Is natural immunity from COVID better than vaccines? Not really.

Another non-peer-reviewed preprint article about natural immunity versus vaccines for COVID-19 is being used as the “gotcha” moment for the anti-vaxxers. And on the surface, the article might be interesting, but it’s being misused. What a shocker.

I’m going to do a quick review of the article, then remind everyone why vaccinations are ALWAYS better than natural immunity. Outcomes from diseases that are prevented by the vaccine must be weighed against the safety and effectiveness of that vaccine. This is a necessary risk-benefit analysis that is required by every procedure or pharmaceutical in evidence-based medicine. And, this is the point that is missed by those pushing this new preprint.

Read More »Is natural immunity from COVID better than vaccines? Not really.