Schifanelli Misleads Again on Natural Immunity
It is irresponsible for Schifanelli to continue to post bogus medical information
Gordana Schifanelli is the gift that keeps on giving. Once again, she has retweeted an article by a far-right propaganda “news” source (The Epoch Times; a Falun Gong project) – “Natural Immunity Wins Again”. This article was in reference to a NEJM article entitled “Protection and Waning of Natural and Hybrid Immunity to Sars-CoV-2”. The writer of The Epoch Times article literally LEAPS to the conclusion he wants to hear.
I simply cannot tell you (again) how irresponsible Gordana is when she posts medical articles. These are the facts that I have made mentioned of before:
Gordana has NO medical experience.
Gordana does NOT know how to read medical literature.
Gordana does NOT go to the original study let alone read it.
Gordana misleads by tweet what the ORIGINAL study says.
This has to STOP!
Consider the comments on bias for The Epoch Times – “Overall, we rate The Epoch Times Right Biased and Questionable based on the publication of pseudoscience and the promotion of propaganda and conspiracy theories, as well as numerous failed fact checks.”
The Epoch Times is NOT a medical journal.
Let’s go to the NEJM observational study: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2118946
I will not go into great detail into the study. But the major take-away from the study : “Waning immunity was evident in all the cohorts. . . . after several months, persons with hybrid immunity were better protected against reinfection than uninfected persons who had previously received two doses of vaccine. . . . Furthermore we found that a single dose of the vaccine administered to a previously infected person or a booster dose administered to an uninfected person who had received two doses of vaccine restored the level of protection to the level in the early months after recovery or vaccination. . . .”
“Because a single variant was dominant in Israel during each of the pandemic waves, this study cannot disentangle the two effects. Moreover, during the study period, most infections were delta variant infections, and our analysis provides no information regarding protection against new variants such as B.1.1.529 (Omicron).”
This study has one relevancy attribute, which I will speak to later.
The study is pretty much worthless in light of the Omicron variant.
1.This was a retrospective observational study. We would have to have a prospective controlled study in order to see the differences in healthcare-seeking or risk-averse behavior of individual people. (This means human behavior puts a HUGE ? regarding any conclusions that MIGHT be stated.)
The possibility of residual bias remains in this study. (Residual confounding is the distortion that remains after controlling for confounding in the design and/or analysis of a study.
In general across studies, further explanation of residual bias from another source:
There were additional confounding factors that were not considered, or there was no attempt to adjust for them, because data on these factors was not collected.
Control of confounding was not tight enough. For example, a study of the association between physical activity and age might control for confounding by age by a) restricting the study population to subject between the ages of 30-80 or b) matching subjects by age within 20 year categories. In either event there might be persistent differences in age among the groups being compared. Residual differences in confounding might also occur in a randomized clinical trial if the sample size was small. In a stratified analysis or in a regression analysis there could be residual confounding because data on confounding variable was not precise enough, e.g., age was simply classified as "young" or "old".
There were many errors in the classification of subjects with respect to confounding variables.
There were many errors in the classification of subjects with respect to confounding variables
2. The results of this NEJM study pertained to rate of confirmed infections. ..therefore there is a possibility of detection bias due to different tendencies to perform PCR testing in the different cohorts.
Again in general across medical studies:
Detection bias: Detection bias can be described as the possibility for differences between the comparison groups with regard to how the outcomes are measured or assessed. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41433-021-01759-9
3.Third potential source of bias in this NEJM study is cohort misclassification.
Misclassification bias is a systematic error that can occur at any stage in the research process. It occurs when an individual is assigned to a different category than the one to which they should be assigned. https://academic.oup.com/fampra/article/36/6/804/5628074
What is the possible take-away from this study now that we are in the midst of Omicron variants?
This study is interesting only from the standpoint of potentially seeing how natural immunity might work for Omicron. We now know that natural immunity from wild type or Delta virus wanes (as does the vaccine’s immunity). We also know that the natural immunity from the original Sars-CoV-2 and Delta do NOT confer any substantial immunity for Omicron variants. Both the natural immunity and vaccine immunity wane when the omicron variant infects a person. “ Emerging data suggest that Omicron is, nevertheless, able to largely circumvent the antibodies generated by past infection or vaccination.” Here is a great article that is provides a good layman’s study on “immunity”: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00214-3
Frankly, I’d rather be relying on my Covid vaccinations to protect me from serious disease rather than “natural immunity” from prior infection.
BTW, let’s stop using the term “natural infection”. There is nothing good about getting Covid as there are far too many risks involved. No public health expert would EVER recommend getting the disease in order to gain immunity.
So, where does this leave us? I have a serious pet peeve against ANY politician speaking to medical science, when they are not medically experienced. Gordana is irresponsible in citing this article. She is irresponsible for not taking time to do a preceptorship with one of Maryland’s finest academic medical centers. She is irresponsible in spreading this disinformation as it might very well harm one of her constituents.
It appears that this is Gordana’s mode of action (MOA):
For me, Gordana gets no more chances. Who would want a candidate for a government position if she spreads misinformation and lies? Not me. . .