43. Will a new version of COVID be substantially able to escape Omicron vaccines in 2023?

This question will resolve positive if in the opinion of the judges the scientific consensus is that getting all currently-recommended vaccines, including the two original vaccines and the Omicron booster, decreases risk of the new variant by less than 50%.

This is question #43 in the Astral Codex Ten 2023 Prediction Contest. The contest rules and full list of questions are available here. Market will resolve according to Scott Alexander’s judgment, as given through future posts on Astral Codex Ten.

Sort by:
NicoDelon avatar
Nico Dis predicting YES at 46%

The resolution criterion is very vague and the discussion on ACT doesn't help. Escape normally refers to immunity against infection. So, not hospitalizations or deaths. But recent variants already escape current vaccines substantially.

finnhambly avatar
Finn Hamblyis predicting NO at 48%

@NicoDelon Agreed! I interpret the resolution criteria as being about hospitalisations and deaths, because that's what the current rationale rests on

NicoDelon avatar
Nico Dis predicting YES at 48%

@finnhambly It’d be nice to have a clarification.

BTE avatar
BTEis predicting YES at 64%


LucaMasters avatar
Luca Mastersis predicting YES at 72%

@BTE Washington Post says "Virologists who studied XBB.1.5 say it does not appear better at escaping antibodies than other immune-evading predecessors, but it is better at binding to the cell and replicating."

So probably not yet.