Time for another FtB podcast this weekend

We’ll be talking about COVID, oh boy. The thing is we’re all freethinkers and humanists and science people, so we’ll be talking about it sanely, so no weirdness, and we’ll probably be demonetized anyway.


  1. hemidactylus says

    Will you be talking about activation-induced cytidine deaminase and its relation to both affinity maturation and class-switching in B-lymphocytes as a potential response to antigens from SARS-CoV-2 itself or the various vaccines? That or how T-cell epitopes are different because the highly processed antigen presentation MHC cuisinart thingy that differs across people? Or if Omicron is a recombinant within immune compromised or spilled back from some mammal population. Will this virus eventually attenuate to a mild seasonal cold akin to other HCoVs or could a future variant exhibit higher lethality despite our previous exposure to Omicron, Delta, and/or vaccination? Is antigenic imprinting a concern given previous antigenic exposures? It’s supposed to be a thing with flu strains. And on that note is Omicron a shifted strain instead of a mere drifted variant?

  2. hemidactylus says

    Oh snap. Someone on talk.origins had introduced the possible mouse wrinkle but I didn’t touch on it. Larry has it covered here (he posts very infrequently):


    “ Several of the key mutations in the spike protein sequence are similar to variants that have adapted to bind to the mouse version of the receptor (ACE2) (Sun et al. 2021) and the Omicron spike protein binds strongly to mouse ACE2. (The original SAR-CoV-2 variants do not infect mice.) I think it’s safe to conclude (tentatively) that Omicron evolved in mice and jumped back to humans in October or November 2021.”

    Also Larry kinda hesitates on the mildness thing:
    “There’s a lot of speculation that the Omicron variant causes less severe forms of COVID-19 but the data is complicated by the fact that vaccinated and convalescent patients are also suffering from COVID-19 and they are partially protected. I don’t think it’s really known whether naive (unvaccinated and not previously infected) individuals have a milder form of the disease and I know we don’t have any data on the long-term effect of Omicron infection. Please let me know of any studies that have been released.”