Is Omicron a Product of Natural Evolution Of SARS-CoV-2?

The prevailing view seems to be that Omicron evolved due to selection pressure from mass vaccination; hence the many ‘mutations’ in the spike region which enable it to potentially evade the vaccine immune response, even more effectively than Delta.

But what if it has evolved naturally? This is an intriguing possibility pointed out by Robert Malone in response to a research paper recently published, which I feel should be treated with caution but it is at least a very plausible explanation for present observations regarding Omicron, i.e. its very high infectiousness and relatively mild clinical presentation.

Robert says:

Based on current reports, Omicron appears to be associated with three broad characteristics: Vaccine escape (resistance), increased viral replication and reduced disease.

You might think that because the virus is replicating even faster than Delta, and thus associated with high viral loads, it might cause enhanced clinical disease. In delta, the high viral loads combined with lack of symptoms in the jabbed were put down to the ‘fact’ that being jabbed prevents serious symptoms. But that’s very unlikely to be the case with Omicron. ‘So what’s going on?’ asks Robert.

What is going on? How can increased levels of Omicron virus replication be associated with reduced disease?  How did so many mutations in the receptor binding domain of Omicron arise, apparently spontaneously?  Why do the evolutionary tree plots show that Omicron represents a separate branch from currently circulating viruses?  How could so many mutations which confer vaccine resistance suddenly appear?  Botswana (and South Africa in general) does not have a very high vaccination rate, so why would a vaccine-resistant virus strain develop in this region. Did someone engineer and release yet another virus?  Lots and lots of questions.  Very few answers.  And then this new press release from the University of Hong Kong arrived today, showing that Omicron replicates more highly in conducting airway cells (bronchus), and less in lung cells.  I think that the paper above provides with some important clues that could help us make sense out of this puzzle.

Robert explains in rather technical language what happens when a virus ‘mutates’, both due to selective pressure (from vaccines) and due to natural evolutionary pressures created by the innate and adaptive immune response in unvaccinated individuals, of which there are many in Botswana and South Africa, where Omicron was originally discovered (although, a note of caution here, it was found in foreign travellers who were double-jabbed).

The question is not whether viral mutations occur with or without vaccination, but rather what natural selection pressures are present to select which viruses survive, infect other cells, and make more copies of themselves.  If you have not been vaccinated or infected before, there are a variety of ways that our body, innate immune system (natural antibodies and natural killer cells) and adaptive immunity “select” which viruses do or do not survive to replicate and infect others.  This process of repeated selection and replication of the viral particles which are most able to survive in your body causes the genetic characteristics of the “swarm” of viruses infecting you to gradually change – genetically speaking. This is called natural selection of the fittest, and this process happens for everything that uses DNA or RNA to carry information from one generation to the next.  This is the process that creates the gradual changes which we call “evolution”. 

Vaccination with the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 creates a “selection” force on any swarm of viruses that infect a new host.  So does the immunity created by “natural immunity” – the adaptive and innate immune responses that your body is left with after it has been infected and recovered from that infection.  Basically, anything that creates an obstacle to the virus infecting a host, replicating, and jumping to another host will drive the virus to evolve to evade that obstacle.

So, basically, yes, Omicron could have evolved in response to idiotic, dangerous and ill-conceived mass vaccination campaigns (a theory promoted by Geert Vanden Bossche) or it might just have evolved in response to natural selection pressures in a region of the world where a minority only have been jabbed (Africa).

What we know about Omicron is that it has many new mutations in the RBD.  These mutations are absolutely associated with increased resistance to the effects of vaccine-induced antibodies.  But was the development of this cluster of new mutations driven by natural selection due to vaccination?  In an area of the world that does not have a very high vaccination rate?  That does not make sense.

What if Omicron is the consequence of evolutionary pressure to replicate and infect more efficiently, perhaps to compete with Delta?  Or as a consequence of passing between human and animal (cat, ungulate) hosts?  What if what has really happened is that Omicron has evolved to change the location where it replicates in our body?  What if it has evolved to replicate more in our upper respiratory airway, and less in the deep part of our lung tissues?

It’s an intriguing possibility which consigns Omicron basically to the status of a highly infectious common cold which generally only affects the upper respiratory tract.

Robert makes an interesting observation re. human thought processes:

We often seem to fall into simple, binary thinking when considering complicated problems.  Left or right-wing politics. Vaccinated or unvaccinated selecting for newly evolved viruses.  This can limit our ability to make sense out of the world.  But what if what is going on with Omicron is not so much driven by antibodies directed against the Spike RBD, but by selection for shifting the region of the respiratory tract that it infects?  Or perhaps, this variant has bounced back and forth between humans and other species, and in so doing it has accumulated mutations which have exploited subtle differences in the ACE2 receptor. 

He may be right. We may all have been blind-sided by this sneaky little virus. My mind is still open to all possibilities. We need more data. That’s how science works. We certainly don’t need more fascist ‘vaccine’ mandates. That’s how Nazism/communism works.

Robert finishes on a positive note. Perhaps we are witnessing a Christmas miracle, the birth of a ‘natural vaccine’ in the form of Omicron which will finally end the suspect ‘Covid pandemic’, even though it might not end the horrifying pandemic of Covid fascism which is sweeping the globe.

Perhaps what we are seeing with Omicron is the genetic consequence of one of these evolutionary bursts.

This is why this new finding from a team at Hong Kong University is so significant.  Because it indicates that what may be most important about Omicron may not be the ability to evade vaccine-induced immunity, but that it has shifted its preferred tissue target for infection and replication to the upper airway instead of deep lung.  That could explain why it is more infectious, replicates to higher levels, and yet causes less severe disease.

Let’s hope that is our best gift this Christmas.

God works in mysterious ways, so they say. Perhaps he sent his Son back to earth this Christmas in the form of Omicron? That would indeed be very strange and mysterious. One thing’s for sure. The human race desperately needs a respite from the relentless evil forces which are operating globally right now.

A very Merry Christmas to all.

12 comments

  1. Thanks for another great article, reasonable and clear for the non-specialist. I have one continual gripe though about asides like:
    “We certainly don’t need more fascist ‘vaccine’ mandates. That’s how Nazism/communism works.” and “God works in mysterious ways, so they say. Perhaps he sent his Son back to earth this Christmas in the form of Omicron?”

    I’m neither communist nor Christian but I don’t see the point of insulting those who are, given that they are more likely to be critical thinkers than the proudly non-ideological sheep who form the vast majority of the population. (See Spiked Online for an excellent Marxist sceptical site, and the Blogmire for a Christian one.) The authoritarian trends are not coming from the political “’”extremes” but from the boring middle of the road politicians who don’t believe anything much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Geoff. my comments were not intended as an insult to anyone, certainly not Christians or communists. It’s a fact; the very worst historical authoritarian regimes have been Communist or fascist, in Germany’s case, national socialist fascist. They’re all based on a collectivist ideology, which values national, social responsibility above personal freedom. China exemplifies a current hideously authoritarian regime based ostensibly on communism. The boring middle of the road politicians are no longer ‘middle of the road’, by definition, if they vote for measures such as vaccine passports and mandatory injections. They have embraced political extremism in the form of medical fascism. Their actions in the here and now mark them as extremists, not their erstwhile boringly moderate political leanings.

    Like

    1. Jaime
      I don’t disagree factually with anything you say, but I continue to find the way you express yourself difficult to accept. Certainly the Chinese regime is authoritarian – that’s how they lifted half their population out of extreme poverty and how they aim to do the same for the other half – and for that reason I wouldn’t describe it as “hideous,” – admirable rather.

      But that’s simply a difference of political perspective, which is, in the current circumstances, the most trivial of differences.

      Like

  3. Geoff,

    How odd, I present facts which you don’t dispute but find it ‘difficult to accept’ the manner in which I present them, i.e. the way I choose to express myself! Well, that’s me I’m afraid, it’s how I am and thus it would appear from what you say that you find it difficult to accept me!

    Re. the authoritarian Chinese communist party regime, which I call ‘hideous’, but you apparently admire for its veritable achievement of lifting half the population out of poverty and the ambition to elevate the other half soon. That is rather a naive misconception from you Geoff. For a start, it was not authoritarianism which lifted Chinese citizens out of poverty, rather the complete opposite; the liberation of the Chinese to pursue Western style capitalist ambitions and adopt more liberal lifestyles than previously allowed under the preceding very strict communist regime. But the current regime under Xi Xinping wants to have its cake and eat it. They want to maintain strict control over the masses and overarching censorship of any political dissent, but still maintain economic output and productivity. It won’t work. It is doomed to fail. You can’t expunge human rights and still expect strong growth. Western countries are finding that out right now. Economic prosperity and freedom and democracy go hand in hand. Try reading this. It’s very enlightening:

    https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/global

    Like

  4. Eugyppius has another take on Omicron. He thinks it’s a lab leak virus because of its curious lack of antecedents.

    “Omicron carries a series of highly unlikely and suspicious mutations in its spike protein. It is hard to imagine that these mutations can have arisen via natural processes, because all but one of them are nonsynonymous – that is, they code for different amino acid sequences. Starkly mutated variants favoured by natural selection should have a great many meaningless synonymous mutations as well.

    Omicron’s ancestors may have spent a significant amount of time adapting to mouse cells, before re-entering human hosts. Omicron appears selected to replicate primarily in the bronchial tract. Deeper in the human lung, it functions far less efficiently than Delta or the first strains from Wuhan. This is probably why it causes mostly mild illness, and it is reminiscent of techniques used to make live attenuated influenza vaccines safer for use in humans. Such vaccines are cold-adapted, that is, selected to circulate primarily in the cooler upper respiratory tract rather than in the warmer, more vulnerable lungs.

    The balance of the evidence is that Omicron leaked from a lab engaged in SARS-2 vaccine research. There are many possibilities: It might represent a live, attenuated virus vaccine used informally among researchers, that mutated back to virulence and escaped; it might have been released accidentally; it could even be an attempt to develop a self-spreading vaccine to immunise animals or third world populations.”

    https://eugyppius.substack.com/p/omicron-is-not-normal?r=9damc&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

    Like

  5. Geoff
    I agree it’s a good article. I think this last two years has made many of us more inclined to call a spade a spade without bothering about what somebody else may think about it. Thus the fascist bit didn’t bother me at all. I see that you are concerned about not insulting critical thinkers, but if they haven’t ‘got it’ by now, there’s no hope for them.
    I doubt that God has sent his Son to earth as a virus. I think it more likely that He has sent Prince Phillip as a non lethal virus in direct contradiction to his once expressed desire – as punishment.
    I feel I’ve been getting more and more Christian throughout this period. I have some way to go on forgiveness though – I heard myself saying that prison would be insufficient punishment for some parties who have led this fiasco. Must work harder.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello again Geoff, and thanks. Hope all is not too grim Down Under.

    My comment re. Omicron was semi-flippant but not intended to be irreverent. After all, God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent we are told. He is everywhere, at all times, in everything. As such, He must be in the tiniest virus and he must also be in trillions upon trillions of such viruses. I imagine that the Son of God who ascended to the Father 2000 years ago must also be in everything.

    But anyhow, if we’re talking insulting Christians, you can’t get much more insulting than the Archbishop of Canterbury, Welby whatever his name is, claiming that in order to ‘love thy neighbour’ and do the moral, Christian thing, you should get jabbed. Or Pol Pot Belly telling us that Jesus himself, the Saviour of humanity, would get jabbed. Or supposedly devout Catholic, Jacob Rees Mogg, repeating lies and propaganda on Twitter about 90% of people in ICU being unvaccinated. Or the decision of Durham Cathedral to ban the unvaccinated from entry into the House of God at Christmas. These disgusting comments and actions are more insulting to Christians and to Christianity than any thing I could come up with, not that I would want to insult that particular religion. It still has a lot to be said for it and is still a powerful force for good in this evil world, which is probably why those in charge are so eager to co-opt it into their corrupt globalist ideology. If you want to see what a true Christian looks like, look no further than Archbishop Vigano. He is a shining light in the darkness.

    I’m not really into the forgiveness thing either. Of course, I can find it in my heart to forgive ‘small sins’, typically very human sins, but it’s not my job as a humble, imperfect human being to find divine forgiveness for the absolutely huge sins committed by those in power over the last two years. That’s God’s job, if He is so inclined, though I believe that inescapable Karma is coming their way and not even God himself will obstruct the natural law of the Universe (which He himself brought into being) in order to save their rotten souls from damnation.

    Like

  7. Laurence Fox is calling Omicron the God Variant, in response to Abir Ballan’s tweet. Naughty Laurence, insulting Christians everywhere. We need them on our side, don’t you know.

    From that Omicron study:

    “Importantly, there was an enhancement of Delta virus neutralization, which increased 4.4-fold. The increase in Delta variant neutralization in individuals infected with Omicron may result in decreased ability of Delta to re-infect those individuals. Along with emerging data indicating that Omicron, at this time in the pandemic, is less pathogenic than Delta, such an outcome may have positive implications in terms of decreasing the Covid-19 burden of severe disease.

    These results are consistent with Omicron displacing the Delta variant, since it can elicit immunity which neutralizes Delta making re-infection with Delta less likely. In contrast, Omicron escapes neutralizing immunity elicited by Delta6 91 and therefore may re-infect Delta infected individuals. The implications of such displacement would depend on whether Omicron is indeed less pathogenic than Delta. If so, then the incidence of Covid-19 severe disease would be reduced and the infection may shift to become less disruptive to individuals and society.”

    Data shows that Omicron is considerably less pathogenic than Delta, so basically, at present, it looks like a good news cold virus which may turn out to be beneficial to be infected with – Nature’s vaccine if you like. It certainly looks a lot safer than 3rd, 4th, 5th, even 6th jabs, which governments are planning to foist upon their populations in order to ‘protect’ them from this particular variant and any future others.

    Like

  8. I came across this comment on Twitter from a wise man. Says it all for me.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s