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French Research and Real-World Data Counter Omicron Hysteria

So much talk about Omicron; so much fear-mongering; so much talk about science.  Most is nonsense.  The best research has received little attention.  It comes from esteemed, senior French scientist: Dr. Jacques Fantini, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Aix-Marseille.

You are about to learn what senior people in the public health establishment need to use, especially Fauci who claims he speaks for and represents “science.”  If he knows the French research, he is not sharing it with the public, nor is the mainstream media.

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The key scientific achievement by Fantini is the calculation of one key parameter he calls the index of transmissibility (T) of a COVID variant.  The key work was published in June 2021 with the title “Structural dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 variants: A health monitoring strategy for anticipating Covid-19 outbreaks.”  This research is very sophisticated, detailed and challenging.  Genomic sequence data are used in the analyses of variants.

The molecular details of variants are analyzed to calculate T values for COVID variants.  Originally, T values for known variants or strains of the COVID virus were determined.  The T value for the Delta variant done in early 2021 accurately predicted the surge of Delta throughout the world, making it the dominant variant in many countries, including the US.

The T value accurately describes to what extent a variant is or is not very transmissible.  The higher the value of T, the greater is the ease at which a variant is spread from one person to another.  The higher the value, the more contagious is the variant.  Fantini said how T values could serve a critical need: “T-index can be used as a health monitoring strategy to anticipate future Covid-19 outbreaks.”  At this moment, the question is “Is the T value for Omicron of concern?”

So, now look at the following table that gives T values for the original five variants published by Fantini, plus what he has just released for the new Omicron variant.

Variant T-index
Initial Wuhan 2.16
UK – Alpha 3.59
Brazil – Gamma 3.65
South Africa – Beta 3.82
Delta 10.67
Omicron 3.90

Delta stands out for having an extremely high T value compared to previous variants.  

No surprise that it quickly became the dominant variant globally.

And equally impressive is the relatively low T value for Omicron, just 37% of the Delta value.  Omicron should not be of high concern by people and nations.  It is in line with most pre-Delta variants.  It is not exceptional.  There is no scientific basis for all the hysteria about Omicron.  As shown below, most people assessed with Omicron were vaccinated and got breakthrough infections showing vaccines offer little protection.

Additional observations

Note that the higher the T value it is also likely the less effective are current vaccines for defending against the variant and protecting people from it (as real-world data given below show).  However, the higher T value does not imply greater lethality.  As is known by virologists, variants are smart enough to not kill their victims, which would also kill them and prevent them from spreading.  Thus, high T value variants spread easily, can cause health impacts but do not necessarily kill people at a high rate.

Fantini said this: “For Omicron, the mutations go in all directions, without any particular logic, some annihilating each other.  The mutational profiles …suggest that neutralizing antibodies [from vaccine immunity] will have very low activity on this variant.  …This analysis of the Omicron variant suggests that this variant will not supplant Delta.”  In other words, with far less spreading potential, Omicron is not likely to replace the much higher transmissible Delta prevalent globally.  Even though reports keep coming in from different nations that Omicron has been found.

More positive insights had to do with the more than 30 mutations and exactly where they were located in the molecule.  “The affinity of the Omicron … for ACE-2 [cellular material that causes infection] is decreased compared to all other variants analyzed to date, probably as a consequence of this accumulation of mutations.”  Fantini is saying that Omicron is not only not as highly transmissible as Delta, it is also not as infectious.

Worth remembering is that all the current COVID vaccines were designed to address the earliest COVID virus molecule.  Thus, they do not protect very well against later variants that have considerable mutations.  Is protection zero?  No.  Current vaccines offer limited defense against variants because they only aim at a small fraction of the virus molecule components.

Vaccine problems

In a more recent article, Fantini and an associate said: there is a “progressive loss of immunity induced by the two doses of vaccines directed against the spike protein” because current vaccines are not designed to defend against recent variants, including Delta and Omicron.  Moreover, “the third vaccine [booster] dose can have serious long-term side effects due to the “ADE” phenomenon (Antibody-dependent enhancement: facilitation of infection by antibodies).  The benefit/risk ratio would be unfavorable.”  In other words, like other researchers, they see the negative impact of current COVID vaccines that reduce protection offered by a person’s immune system. What is being said is that antibodies not only offer little protection but, instead, facilitate viral infection and promote release of new mutations or variants.  

This is consistent with considerable data showing correlations between higher vaccination rates and higher death rates at the nation level.

This too was noted: “The immune response to SARS-CoV-2, whether natural or vaccine-induced, produces antibodies directed against the spike protein.  In the case of mRNA vaccines, the only molecular target is the spike protein.  In the case of natural infection with the virus, the immune response [natural immunity] is directed against several viral proteins, including the spike protein.  In all cases, the spike protein is therefore crucial.  However, SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus that mutates a lot, and many mutations affect the spike protein, which disturbs its recognition by antibodies.”  The bottom line is that vaccine immunity is inferior to natural immunity, because the former was designed for the earliest strain and only targets a small fraction of the complex COVID molecule.

Real world data show no severe illness and no protection from vaccines

The forecast by Fantini about Omicron is consistent with information flowing in.  Specifically, vaccines will have little impact on Omicron transmission or infectivity.  

For example, Reuters reported: “Four people in southern Germany have tested positive for the Omicron COVID-19 variant even though they were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus said officials.”  Moreover, “All four showed moderate symptoms.” 

Previously it was highlighted, according to the Botswana government, the Omicron variant was first detected in four people who were fully vaccinated.  And information from South Africa is that Omicron caused mild symptoms and no patients needed hospitalization, and that the European Union’s public health body said that they’ve found 44 cases containing the omicron variant in 10 of their member countries, all of which had mild or asymptomatic illness.”

Also reported was that “Two quarantined travelers in Hong Kong who have tested positive for the variant were vaccinated with the Pfizer jab.  All three initial confirmed and suspected cases reported from Israel occurred among fully vaccinated individuals.  And an Israeli doctor revealed that he had been infected with Omicron despite being triple vaccinated also wearing a mask.

In Australia, “New South Wales state authorities reported that two travelers from South Africa to Sydney had become Australia’s first omicron cases.  Both were fully vaccinated, showed no symptoms.”  A person in San Francisco was reported to have traveled from South Africa, had mild symptoms and had been vaccinated.  

Interestingly, officials said they had contacted everyone who had close contact with the person and they had all tested negative.

Meanwhile, everything that Fauci has said is completely inconsistent with actual data as well as what Fantini has forecast.  Everything he has said seems clearly aimed at instilling fear about Omicron so that invasive, authoritarian government actions and continued push for vaccines could be justified.


A review of studies found unequivocally that COVID vaccines do not stop viral transmission, with no difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.  So, all real-world evidence is that Omicron cannot be effectively addressed by COVID vaccines.  Together with Fantini’s work the proper conclusion is that Omicron will not be very transmissible nor be more infective than Delta.

Because mutations will continue to produce variants, it is critically important to use the work of Fantini.  To accurately assess whether or not a new variant should evoke the fears and government responses that have sprung up so quickly for Omicron.

By Dr. Joel S. Hischhorn

Dr. Joel S. Hirschhorn, author of Pandemic Blunder and many articles and podcasts on the pandemic, worked on health issues for decades, and his Pandemic Blunder Newsletter is on Substack. As a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he directed a medical research program between the colleges of engineering and medicine.  As a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association, he directed major studies on health-related subjects; he testified at over 50 US Senate and House hearings and authored hundreds of articles and op-ed articles in major newspapers.  He has served as an executive volunteer at a major hospital for more than 10 years.  He is a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and America’s Frontline Doctors.

Featured photo courtesy of Alexandra Koch at Pixabay.

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