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author
Aug 29, 2022·edited Aug 29, 2022Pinned

So I've seen a few comments and I would like to make a few points of clarification.

First off, this post shouldn't be seen as casting any aspersions towards TSN, but it should be an example that we study reports should be a bit careful in jumping to conclusions, especially ones which may cause people to runaway with conclusions.

Also, this post wasn't intended to provide a robust analysis, but moreso to critique the assumption that was made from this study. Of note, it was the GvB article where I found this study, and at the time of his posting he may not have been aware of TSN's redaction.

As to the title, I definitely understand why it is seen as clickbait, and I probably should have come up with a different title. The title here was in response to the original title, which can be seen on TSN's website.

As a quick note, for websites you can edit titles or anything within the article's content, but after publishing the URL generally remains the same. This is how mainstream media tends to run afoul with stealth edits on their stories post-publication.

You can see TSN's original title in their URL, and it's that title that I was mostly responding to.

https://www.trialsitenews.com/a/bombshell-study-vaccinated-5x-more-contagious-than-the-unvaccinated-10-days-after-sars-cov-2-infection-ae391446

And so it was that title that I was responding to with my title.

Lastly, Brian Mowrey below provided some commentary, and it appears Igor mentioned this study specifically in regards to reduced viral clearance. I won't make any remarks in regards to that interpretation unless I look through the supplemental data, but keep in mind that my post should not undermine the study, but merely some of the interpretations floating around in regards to the 5x remark.

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Aug 29, 2022Liked by Modern Discontent

I used to subscribe to TSN and now I only get their daily headlines. I was very disappointed when I read the original study referenced by the salacious TSN headline, only to find out that that the study stated that there were no appreciable differences between the two groups -- like you highlight in your analysis. We have a lot of other evidence showing shortcomings with the vaccine -- why then play the same ideological game the mainstream media plays and lose credibility in the process?

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author

The study itself should always be up to scrutiny- much like other studies, but I think we should be careful in misreading studies. I would like to know where exactly the 5x came from, because if it was the PCR that probably shouldn't have been the figure to look at to argue contagiousness.

I would hope that these few mistakes get corrected. I appreciate that TSN redacted the original post, but I suppose one wonders if any editors were aware of the interpretation.

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Aug 29, 2022Liked by Modern Discontent

I am subscribed to TSN and I am going to remain subscribed unless they keep repeating these errors. Hopefully, they will learn something from this mistake.

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Aug 29, 2022Liked by Modern Discontent

I hope they do, because I like the work that they do -- and may consider becoming a subscriber again once I have more time to devote to their articles (I had to quit TSN because feeding my TSN addiction was getting in the way of the important things, like work).

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author

I think that's important for all things, including Substack. I'm finding that Substack is starting to feel a bit too social media-esque to me sometimes in its design and that can become very distracting.

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author

That's something good to keep in mind with everyone irrespective of their leanings.

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Aug 29, 2022Liked by Modern Discontent

I read your original post and papers cited. I found them confusing on many levels: definitions and criteria. I appreciate your perspective. After reading the papers I was unsure of how I would even explain the the results or conclusions to anyone. It is like comparing apples, oranges, and bananas then concluding they are all the same because they are meat.

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author

I think there are a few interesting takeaways. Like I mentioned in my pinned comment would this open up research into duration of viral clearance for the vaccinated i.e. are the vaccinated stuck with the virus for longer? But there are a few issues in how the study clumps people together. Fig B and C already have the participants stratified by variant, then why not stratify them more into vaccination status? As Brian pointed out, they appear to do that in Supplementary Figure S3 but I wonder if doing so would immediately show how small the sample sizes are. For Delta there was only 1 boosted individual, and so would that really show us anything?

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Thank you very much for clarifying this study promoting something more true and better critical thinking skills.

Fyi, I really don't like imo belittling and sarcastic titles starting with "No, ..... ".

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author

Upon thinking about it I probably should have gone with a different title, but like I stated in my pinned comment my title was in response to TSN's original title which I thought was a bit out there to begin with. I usually try to avoid such titles as I don't want it to seen super reactive.

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Aug 29, 2022Liked by Modern Discontent

Yes, I'm starting to skeptical of everything so take care of yourself. Eat healthy. Use herbs wisely. Antiviral herbs and have confidence in your body

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author

It's certainly good to at least be a bit critical of everything we read, although I certainly understand how doing so can make one really fatigued if everything must require additional research.

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Aug 29, 2022Liked by Modern Discontent

Thank you. I am glad you are following the evidence and being thorough. Those are rare qualities these days.

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Aug 29, 2022·edited Aug 29, 2022Liked by Modern Discontent

Neither measure may be a correlate for transmissibility, but for the PCR assay the unvaccinated essentially serve as a negative control validating that the day 10 and day 15 nonconversion in the vaccinated means "something" beyond just leftover virus bits. The unvaccinated do not have the same "leftover bits" on Day 10 and 15 so they either are somehow cleaning them up better; or replication stopped faster before the swab; or these aren't "leftover bits" at all.

I think Igor's take - they appear "slower to clear virus" https://igorchudov.substack.com/p/study-boosted-people-slowest-to-clear - is a pretty fair conclusion. I actually wasn't as impressed by this study (Igor highlights the shaded area, which is just a mathematical fiction) until you brought it back up and I started to look at the raw numbers. It's fairly stark in supplemental Fig S3B that at Day 10 most vaxxed are still PCR positive but less than half unvaxxed; at Day 15 the vaxxed are still chugging along.

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author

Thanks for your response Brian.

In regards to the culturing, we are at least assuming some level of viral replication, which can't be quite explained by PCR as it detects the presence of something, not if that thing can do anything. So that's why I brought up the cell culture, since it would be at least more in-line with that assumption, hence why I rebutted the "contagious" remark.

The raw numbers are interesting, but I won't weigh too much into that aspect since the numbers are so low. I commented in Dr. Linda's post that the collecting of participants together was likely done to mask the very low sample size, such as only 1 patient being boosted and infected with Delta who apparently showed a conversion by Day 4. I think the curve measures can be misleading for those who don't compare the numbers to the declines in the curve. Fig S3A can seem very telling for the unvaccinated until you find out that the y axis is a proportional measure and the unvaccinated group had only 7 people in it. From there a drop of 1 or 2 people would be a stark difference.

I think the Fig S3B is interesting, but that was with Omicron and so I wonder if that could be due to the variant. S3A is interesting as well, but there's a far bigger difference between the unvaccinated and vaccinated group there.

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In the Delta era the vaccinated were a lot "hotter" in terms of being generally more recently-dosed, which can lower the predictive power of observations in general, which is why I went straight to the Omicron plot so I didn't have to do any extra legwork on finding out time from dose!

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You had me at “we need more reading”

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Thank you for attempting to be measured and balanced in your writings without bias towards one or the other side. That's exactly what I'm looking for.

I've seen way too many people I have agreed with adopt more sensational headlines over time for clicks and follows while moving further into biased imbalance. Too many seem to be driven to publish regularly than to necessarily take the time for a balanced deeper dive.

Also, a lot of piggybacking on other Substacks for content, not that I don't think it should be done, but it often feels driven to just get something new posted. I appreciate you.

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