Are the vaccines driving the variants? From Geert Vanden Bossche at geertvandenbossche.org:
I am reading a report (i.e., https://edition.cnn.com/2021/07/03/health/unvaccinated-variant-factories/index.html) citing some comments of smart and knowledgeable professors and I am just thinking ‘OMG, how can one make statements that blunt and be a professor?’ Clearly, these guys have little understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of this virus as revealed by the current pandemic; they seem to ignore the huge impact of immune selection pressure on convergent evolution of mutations and selective adaptation of the virus to the massively rising antibody titers against spike (S) protein. If they would understand the dynamics and landscape of the evolving mutations as clearly outlined by molecular epidemiologists, they would have no choice but to conclude that the observed shift in natural selection forces is driven by mass vaccination.
I would strongly advise these professors to read my critical opinion article on ‘Why is the ongoing mass vaccination experiment driving a rapid evolutionary response of SARS-CoV-2?’, which I recently posted and which should remain available for consultation on my website. As can be concluded from my comments following below, the statements made by these professors are not backed by any scientific rationale and contradict the most recent observations from phylogenetics-based natural selection analysis. It’s unfortunate that laymen can no longer rely on big names and titles but ought to question the credibility of professors and experts who don’t provide sound scientific evidence for the cheap one-liners they are spreading. Is this because some of them have now become more of bureaucrats than real experts or because they’re having serious conflicts of interests or both? I don’t know. Anyway, people now need to exert greater scrutiny over the messages the established scientific elite is trying to convey – with massive help of MSM – to the broader public. Of course, this also applies to the analysis shared by scientists like me and others who disagree with the mantras and dogmas the public is currently bombarded with. That’s why we need a transparent scientific debate, open to the public, where different opinions can be articulated, discussed and challenged. As long as the stakeholders of these campaigns, and especially the advising experts supporting those, refuse to engage in such a debate, their interpretations and simplistic one-liners should be treated with extreme caution. Their statements become even more suspicious as they don’t seem to feel the need to systematically test both healthy vaccinees and non-vaccinated individuals for shedding of variants and to characterize the virus shed (as this would unambiguously inform about the type of host environment that promotes natural selection of evolving variants!).