February 2, 2024

When a tsunami occurs, all the turbulent water gathers into a gigantic tide wave

When a tsunami occurs, all the turbulent water gathers into a gigantic tide wave.

Nowadays, mutation spotters have become an increasingly rare species. However, in countries where SARS-CoV-2 (SC-2) genomic surveillance has not been discontinued, researchers are detecting new SC-2 lineages, the genetic sequence of which is markedly distinct from currently circulating Omicron lineages, particularly BA.2.86 and JN.1 (i.e., with > 100 mutations, approximately a third of which are concentrated in spike; source: Tulio de Oliveira; South-Africa). Nevertheless, according to genomics surveillance data, these highly divergent lineages do not appear to have a fitness advantage as they don’t seem to spread widely, let alone outcompete the current dominating BA.2.86/ JN.1 lineages, as illustrated above (graph kindly provided on X, previously Twitter, by Tulio de Oliveira).

New, genetically divergent SC-2 lineages may originate from individuals suffering from protracted SC-2 infection or from spill-back as recombinants from animal reservoirs or be selected in a highly C-19 vaccinated population based on their relatively high level of intrinsic infectiousness.

Many different types of Omicron-derived lineages are currently circulating, yet they do not appear capable of outcompeting BA.2.86/JN.1 in terms of infectiousness. Simultaneously, various kinds of Covid-19 (C-19) cases are being diagnosed, but their incidence does not outnumber the cases of (vaccine-induced) non- Covid-related diseases. Only when a new immune escape variant capable of overcoming the growing immune selection pressure on viral virulence (exerted by polyreactive non-neutralizing antibodies; PNNAbs) is selected, will things get sorted out in highly C-19 vaccinated populations. In such a scenario, only one type of variant and one type of disease will prevail. So, the so-called 'future disease X,' which the WHO fears has the ability to trigger another severe global pandemic, is already known...

It's a sobering perspective, but that's what the current silence surrounding C-19 (before the tsunami) is all about in these populations. To explain what is currently happening beneath the surface, the lifecycle of a tsunami could indeed be used as a metaphor.

As Anthony V. elegantly phrased it:

“Could we be in the early stage of the tsunami (see where the water is now receding from the shoreline? (i.e., declining incidence of viral transmission, C-19 disease and mortality, but still with asymptomatic infections caused by highly infectious immune escape variants)...leading people on the shoreline to believe everything is ok? Could the virus be the gathering energy/strategy (in this phase of unprecedented viral mutant propagation) needed to overcome the immense immune pressure being placed on it? (like in the formation of the tsunami)”

If that’s the case, the key question is how long the virus will need to conjure up a variant that will allow it to eventually escape the life-threatening immune pressure it is currently undergoing. As nobody exactly knows, it may be prudent for all C-19 vaccinees to consider timely treatment with hydroxychloroquine and/or ivermectin (

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Geert Vanden Bossche received his DVM from the University of Ghent, Belgium, and his PhD degree in Virology from the University of Hohenheim, Germany. He held adjunct faculty appointments at universities in Belgium and Germany. After his career in Academia, Geert joined several vaccine companies (GSK Biologicals, Novartis Vaccines, Solvay Biologicals) to serve various roles in vaccine R&D as well as in late vaccine development.

Geert then moved on to join the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Discovery team in Seattle (USA) as Senior Program Officer; he then worked with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) in Geneva as Senior Ebola Program Manager. At GAVI he tracked efforts to develop an Ebola vaccine. He also represented GAVI in fora with other partners, including WHO, to review progress on the fight against Ebola and to build plans for global pandemic preparedness.

Back in 2015, Geert scrutinized and questioned the safety of the Ebola vaccine that was used in ring vaccination trials conducted by WHO in Guinea. His critical scientific analysis and report on the data published by WHO in the Lancet in 2015 was sent to all international health and regulatory authorities involved in the Ebola vaccination program. After working for GAVI, Geert joined the German Center for Infection Research in Cologne as Head of the Vaccine Development Office. He is at present primarily serving as a Biotech / Vaccine consultant while also conducting his own research on Natural Killer cell-based vaccines.


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