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BOMBSHELL: COVID Now Has 30 Mutations

New study shows why there might never be a Covid-19 vaccine

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by Brett Hawes in News

This article discusses a new science paper that reveals the COVID has mutated into at least 30 strains, presenting new challenges to policymakers and likely ruling out a vaccine as a solution, despite the hope of governments. The author invites fresh approaches, given this startling development.

As we progress further into the COVID-19 global pandemic, many people are anxiously awaiting a vaccine. The Canadian government (and other governments) have stated self-distancing and other protocols will remain in place “until a vaccine” is available. Scientists and vaccine developers around the globe are working around the clock, and news reports say vaccine trials are being launched in record time. Some health officials suggest things won’t return to “normal” until everyone is vaccinated.

Unfortunately for the proponents of this strategy, a new scientific paper indicates the virus has mutated into at least 30 different strains, each of which carries a varying degree of risk. This presents a nightmare situation to policymakers, like the plot of a bad science fiction movie where the alien invader constantly changes shape. And it almost guarantees no vaccine will vanquish humanity’s latest viral threat.

Policymakers must address some important and fundamental concepts if we are to correctly answer the question, “Will we ever find a vaccine for Covid-19?”

Back Story on Coronaviruses

Let’s get our facts straight: Covid-19 is the disease caused by SARS-Cov2 (the novel coronavirus). SARS-Cov2 is part of the larger coronavirus family. There are four main sub-groupings of coronaviruses, known as alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. In total, there are hundreds of coronaviruses but only seven that are known to infect humans. The first animal coronavirus was discovered in 1930s. Human coronaviruses were discovered in the 1960’s

Coronaviruses are responsible for between 15 and 30 per cent of the world’s common cold cases every year. (Rhinovirus is responsible for 10-40 per cent of cases.)

It’s common scientific knowledge that viruses mutate. From Web MD:

When viruses infect you, they attach to your cells, get inside them, and make copies of their RNA, which helps them spread. If there is a copying mistake, the RNA gets changed. Scientists call those changes mutations. These changes happen randomly and by accident. Its a normal part of what happens to viruses as they multiply and spread.”

Bombshell study

A study just released in China has now shown that SARS-Cov2 has mutated into 30 different strains. Professor Li Lanjuan and colleagues from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China published a non-peer reviewed paper released on website medRxiv.org on Sunday. Lanjuan’s team analyzed the strains from 11 randomly chosen coronavirus patients from Hangzhou (home to 1,264 reported cases), then tested how efficiently they could infect and kill cells.

From the study:

“Sars-CoV-2 has acquired mutations capable of substantially changing its pathogenicity.”

In layperson terms, this means the COVID virus mutations change the way it (or more properly “they”) infect us. It also means some of these strains are more deadly than others. Different strains are showing up in different places, with different results. We must ask, could this explain why we’re seeing high mortality rates in places like Italy and New York?

Open source, real-time reporting database Nextstrain has received “more than 2,000 genetic sequences of the virus” from labs around the world. (At time of writing, this has increased to 4,743.) We should emphasize that even though most of these mutations are benign, one must consider the pathogenicity in light of the new China study.

Implications

What does this mean?

In simple terms, we’re shooting at a target that’s not only moving, but changing rapidly. So if and when we ever do find a vaccine, it could likely be rendered ineffective by the time it gets to market.

For context, consider that scientists have tried for decades to figure out a vaccine for the common cold. They’ve failed. There is none. This is common scientific knowledge. In fact, one scientific review puts it bluntly: Research “has found a lack of evidence on the effects of vaccines for the common cold in healthy people.”

If experts somehow do manage to develop an “effective vaccine” it would be the first time in history (for coronaviruses). If we consider the rapid pace at which SARS-Cov2 is mutating, one has to wonder if we will ever find one that works.

One scenario we may will find ourselves in the “flu shot scenario.” There are 3 sub-types of flu viruses that affect humans – A, B and C. A & B are responsible for the seasonal flu. One reason you need a flu shot every year is because influenza virus “strains” differ from year to year. This year’s flu virus probably isn’t exactly the same one that circulated last year. Because of this, the flu shot is only 40-60% effective in a good year, but usually somewhere between 5-29% effective.

Further, a CDC-funded study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases in 2014 looked at data over eight flu seasons and found that “the more that people got the flu shot year after year, the less effective the vaccine was at preventing the recent season’s strain.” Ugh.

Let us not forget the safety aspect.

Risk From Rushed Vaccines

In response to the original SARS outbreak in 2003-04, researchers developed four vaccines that they tested in four different animal models. While the vaccines did provide some degree of immunity, the side effects were so bad (in fact they caused severe lung disease!) that researchers noted “caution in proceeding to application of a SARS-CoV vaccine in humans is indicated.” That’s science talk for, “This is dangerous!”

As of 2020, there is no cure or protective vaccine for SARS that has been shown to be both safe and effective in humans. There is also no proven vaccine against MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome).

Given this background, it’s disturbing to see governments roll out real-world human trials (here and here) on Covid-19 vaccines that have not even undergone animal studies. This could be the start of a dark chapter in our medical history.

Why are governments pushing to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory? It’s not a conspiracy theory and one doesn’t have to be “anti-vaxx” to ask the following question:

How can anyone rationally justify mandating any vaccine that has never worked before, has not undergone proper testing, and has been shown to cause severe reactions in animal studies?

New Approaches

If we consider that the overwhelming majority of people who are dying from Covid-19 have preexisting health conditions – high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome – it appears that Covid-19 is in fact a “lifestyle disease” (see here and here). This must sound strange in light of most media reports, but without a miracle “shot” we may have to roll up our sleeves for a different purpose: the work of lifestyle changes and increased funding for other approaches to boost health and immunity.

Consider the United States. The U.S. has substantially higher spending than other industrialized countries, but with worse health outcomes and worse access to care. Increased access to better healthcare that focuses on nutrition and lifestyle could cultivate long-term resilience against infectious disease. Access to better food (especially in the “food deserts” in disadvantaged communities getting hit hard by Covid-19) could help, too.

If we want to know how this vaccine story ends, we need to consider Mother Nature’s adaptive power. We might consider the history of pesticides. A century ago only six pests were resistant to pesticide chemicals. Today, more than 700 species are pesticide resistant. Are we likely to find a magic bullet in the form of a vaccine against a virus that has already undergone hundreds of mutations in only a few months? Unlikely.

In the short-term, we must consider other options. Certain antivirals can help infected people. In the long-term, we must emphasize preventative medicine, nutrition, exercise and anything that helps us become more resilient. Ironically, being locked down and avoiding long walks in sunlight and parks, while awaiting a safe vaccine that may never arrive, may be the very opposite of an effective strategy.

 

Brett Hawes, CFMP, CNP is a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and Clinical Holistic Nutritionist with 16 years of clinical experience – specializing in complex digestive issues, autoimmune disease and hormone health.

He hosts a popular podcast, Holistic Health Masterclass, which delivers valuable health information to 1000’s of listeners

 

6 Comments
  1. Laurie Leigh says:

    That was a well written, well thought out piece. Thank you for putting it together in a way that is easily understandable by all.

    1. Brett Hawes says:

      Most welcome. Glad it could be of help

  2. Jill Strehl says:

    Shared to my fb page today. This is so easily digested and well presented! My thought was, “At last: a piece that isn’t preaching to the choir.”
    People understand why there is not a one-size-fits-all common cold vaccine, and don’t expect one. They also have finally realized antibiotics don’t touch a viral infection, which is a huge evolutionary leap for many, in processing ubiquitous medical information They’re beginning to suspect why there is not a seasonal magic bullet for the flu every year. When you lead with that, as you have, well, boy, howdy, they’re gonna get it. (I’m in East Texas, mea culpa). The alacrity with which the novel covid has transformed into 30 different mutations, each requiring its own vaccine, will be more easily understood by the public because of articles like yours.

  3. Lucy Tukua says:

    Kia ora, totally appreciate the shorthand narrative with simple comparison to the flu understood by many with regards to its evolving nature but more Importantly simple ways in which we can address personal and community wellbeing through health care, nutrition and exercise. Look after mother nature, Papatuanuku and she will care for us. Thankyou

  4. Maud says:

    Given my education and it’s proven effectivesness against many diseases (name the greatest succes eradicating small pox), I am in favour of using vaccines when needed (e.g. which is not varicella zoster that is a innocent child disease in europe). BUT I am concerned about the vaccine studies that are ongoing indeed. Many novel vaccine companies are using COVID-19 to rush their first breakthrough, while the basic mechanisms of their vaccine are not widely applied yet and thus ‘more risky’.

    However, the article draws some conclusions that are drawn a bit too quickly if you ask me. They mention the flu and common cold a lot. Common cold is named like that based on its symptoms, but cause by many different viral strains, so more like a group name for different diseases. So it’s quite logical their is no magic vaccine for that; each and every one would require its own. The flu is a special kind of virus. It does mutate very quickly at very specific regions in its DNA that are responsible for its appearance. The effect is that it looks completely different every year, and because of that, our immune systems doesnt recognize it. If there are now 30 strains of corona, it’s possible that if you’ve been through 1 strain, your immune system will recognize many of the others as well. This gives the possibility for the development of a vaccine.

    What I’m trying to say is that though flu and common cold might be unsuitable for development of long-lasting vaccines, saying that thus corona is unsuitable too is too quick a conclusion to draw.

    But yeah, totally agree with the last alinea. We really should change our society to a more sustainable healthy place for humans to live in.. would make us happier too.

    1. Brett Hawes says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful response. At the time of writing this reply, we have now identified 141 mutations and close to 15000 genomic sequences of the virus. It appears as though that mutation is accelerating (?). I agree that “conclusions” cannot be drawn – above are my speculations based on what we know at this moment in time. I will be updating this article (or writing a new one) as more research comes in. According to a PhD translational scientist I shared this with, “we have a 1 in 1000 chance of getting the vaccine right. We will need to make a different vaccine for each region as well as remove the epitomes so as not to trigger an autoimmune response. The vaccine will need to be updated quarterly to maintain effectiveness (assuming this can be achieved)”. We have our work cut out for us to say the least…

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