I’ve explained a few times on this blog, how I consider it to be a bad idea, to homogenize the human immune response against respiratory pathogens. I believe this is what we did with the SARS-COV-2 vaccines, that SARS-COV-2 evolved in response in a manner that led to negative efficacy and that we’re now dealing with the global consequences.
Fundamentally, I think the problem we’re dealing with is the way we look at human antibodies. Rather than teaching the body something new when we vaccinate people, especially adults, what we tend to do rather is reshuffle the immune system. The IgG antibodies we produce bind to short amino acid chains.
Those amino acid chains have to be:
-Compatible with the laws of physics (plenty of combinations are theoretically possible, but physically impossible)
-They generally need to be different from our own amino acid chains
And so what the immune system does, is that as we grow older it learns to recognize non-human proteins, which it will target with IgG antibodies. When absolutely necessary, there will be T and B cells that escape central tolerance, that are generally kept under control through peripheral tolerance but can produce autoantibodies when necessary.
And so when you vaccinate adult human beings, rather than teaching the immune system something fundamentally new as we do by vaccinating kids, you take the repertoire of T and B cells and you tell it to shift its focus, to emphasize certain colors of its palette at the cost of others.
With the exception of the flu shot, we don’t really do this on a massive scale for most adults. You’ll get a tetanus shot once every few decades, you might get some shots as a tourist abroad, but that’s about it. With the flu shot, I would argue that we’re not really homogenizing the immune response either: We have quadrivalent vaccines, that are updated every year for new flu strains. In other words, rather than really homogenizing the immune response, we’re mostly just reshuffling stuff every year in these people.
It’s not very effective against influenza and with every successive shot you get it gets less effective. But it doesn’t homogenize the immune response: Different people start with these shot at different years, so their first exposure to these shots will be from different strains. And in addition, they like to shoot you up with four different strains at once, so your body will be forming antibodies against all these strains.
With these SARS-COV-2 vaccines, it’s different. Besides the fact that we injected far more people, we inject them with one small part of the virus (the Spike protein) and we injected them three or four times with the exact same version of that small part of the virus. Then afterwards, they were continually reinfected with various forms of this virus, that would then recall parts of this immune response.
And so what I believe is that if you were to look at the collective human IgG antibody repertoire today and compared it to how our antibody repertoire would have looked ten years ago, you would notice a shift towards a kind of pareto distribution: It would have first been relatively well-rounded, targeting a broad range of peptides that don’t really show up in our own bodies but do tend to show up in viruses, fungi and bacteria that infect our bodies. By now however, you’d have a situation where everyone has an overwhelmingly large number of IgG antibodies focused on certain parts of the Wuhan SARS-COV-2 Spike.
Everyone is studying how these high affinity IgG antibodies that we induced through mass vaccination interact with SARS-COV-2. You know what I predicted a year ago, the same thing as I claim today: It hasn’t worked, it has made the situation worse. But here’s something worth asking ourselves that nobody is looking at: SARS-COV-2 is one of about 200 different species of respiratory viruses that infect human beings. What is the impact of the change to our antibody repertoire on these other viruses?
Does that sound like a strange question to ask? Well, take a look at this. When you vaccinate people against influenza, you seem to see an increase in infections from non-influenza viruses. Take a look at this:
We randomized 115 children to trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) or placebo. Over the following 9 months, TIV recipients had an increased risk of virologically-confirmed non-influenza infections (relative risk: 4.40; 95% confidence interval: 1.31-14.8). Being protected against influenza, TIV recipients may lack temporary non-specific immunity that protected against other respiratory viruses.
So you have your 40% or so protection from influenza, but you move your body’s defenses so much towards one virus that your shield has gaps that other viruses crawl through. This is why you hear the endless anecdotes, of people who claim they only get “the flu” in years during which the got the flu shot. Reddit-types will of course insist that “it’s not influenza, you just got the common cold so the vaccine worked”, but if you think carefully you’ll realize these anecdotes can be elegantly explained by a shift in the antibody repertoire setting you up for infection from non-influenza respiratory pathogens.
But you must always beware of the man of one study, so take a look with me at some other evidence. Here they found an increase in consultations for respiratory disease, for the 14 days immediately after the flu shot. Here’s another study, which found that although there was no overall increased risk of non-influenza respiratory infection in vaccinated people, their risk of metapneumovirus and coronavirus was significantly higher.
There are also studies that find no effect. My explanation is as following: I doubt the effect shows up for live attenuated viruses and it will differ depending on which strains are circulating and added to the vaccine. Just as my failure to see the moon outside tonight doesn’t mean you didn’t see it last week, we won’t always find an increased risk of non-influenza respiratory disease. Influenza vaccination is also a billion dollar industry, if they’re merely changing the type of respiratory disease we’re getting by shifting our antibody repertoire around, I would expect them to cover it up.
I believe the point is sufficiently demonstrated: You need to be careful with what you’re doing. You’re not “teaching” the immune system something it didn’t know, you’re telling it that you know a superior strategy. It has never really mattered much before, because we have never homogenized the entire population’s immune response at such an unprecedented scale.
The big question I feel like asking is: How are other respiratory pathogens going to be affected by this strange experiment? Is there some sort of threshold, beyond which mRNA Wuhan spike immunization sufficiently homogenizes the human IgG antibody repertoire that evolutionary dynamics of other respiratory pathogens start to be affected?
We went from 50% of the world’s population fully vaccinated at the end of 2021, to 63% fully vaccinated today. In other words, the experiment we’re committing is still fresh and new. Whatever impact it ends up having on the evolutionary dynamics of non-COVID pathogens would take a while to reveal itself and I have no idea what the threshold may be.
But I’m happy to say, that I’m not the only guy on the planet who has pondered this question. Take a look at this study:
The spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is the foremost target for the designing of vaccines and therapeutic antibodies and also acts as a crucial antigen in the assessment of COVID-19 immune responses. The enveloped viruses; such as SARS-CoV-2, Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) and influenza, often hijack host-cell glycosylation pathways and influence pathobiology and immune selection. These glycan motifs can lead to either immune evasion or viral neutralization by the production of cross-reactive antibodies that can lead to antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of infection. Potential cross-protection from influenza vaccine has also been reported in COVID-19 infected individuals in several epidemiological studies recently; however, the scientific basis for these observations remains elusive. Herein, we show that the anti-SARS-CoV2 antibodies cross-reacts with the Hemagglutinin (HA) protein. This phenomenon is common to both the sera from convalescent SARS-CoV-2 donors and spike immunized mice, although these antibodies were unable to cross-neutralize, suggesting the presence of a non-neutralizing antibody response. Epitope mapping suggests that the cross-reactive antibodies are targeted towards glycan epitopes of the SARS-CoV-2 spike and HA. Overall, our findings address the cross-reactive responses, although non-neutralizing, elicited against RNA viruses and warrant further studies to investigate whether such non-neutralizing antibody responses can contribute to effector functions such as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) or ADE.
So your antibodies from SARS-COV-2 can react with Influenza’s Hemagglutinin protein. These antibodies don’t neutralize Influenza. If you dive further into the study, you find they only see this effect with the Spike protein, not the nucleocapsid protein. There is some similarity between Hemagglutinin and non-RBD regions of the Wuhan Spike protein, that is causing this cross-reaction to occur. The effect happens in both directions.
And so rather than just asking ourselves “How is the shifted IgG antibody repertoire affecting our collective immune response against SARS-COV-2?” we also have to wonder “How is it affecting our collective immune response to everything else?”.
The problem I’ve outlined here becomes merely even bigger when they start giving the whole population mucosal vaccines. They try it once, it works fantastic, the side-effects are nearly zero. Everyone gets enthusiastic, vast droves of the population get the mucosal SARS-COV-2 vaccines and everyone gets a booster. But then it turns out that with our highly homogenous mucosal immune response against SARS-COV-2, some immunocompromised person somewhere gave birth to one respiratory pathogen or another that figured out how to use that response to its advantage.
I think the correct conclusion to draw is that vaccination is just a technology subject to diminishing returns. It has undeniably worked well against smallpox, but to continually shoot people up with whatever respiratory virus happens to be circulating at the moment seems risky.
Rather than worrying excessively about one virus or another, I think humanity would be best off to recognize that we are a holobiont: We are a community of symbiotic organisms.
You’re not just your own cells. You are the skin flora that determine whether your skin is greasy, or dry, or pimply. You are the bacteria in your armpits, that metabolize your steroids and give you your unique scent. You are the respiratory viruses that live within your upper respiratory tract and enviously attempt to keep out non-symbiotic respiratory viruses. You are the bacteria that live in your gut and communicate with your brain through the vagus nerve. All of these entities together make you who you are.
Rather than excessively worrying about one respiratory virus or another, we need to ensure that we live in symbiosis with the rest of our holobiont: If a respiratory virus is very dangerous, the rest of our holobiont needs to be equipped to keep it out of our body. A healthy human vagina has microbes living in it, that make the organ an inhospitable place for sexually transmitted pathogens.
Our upper respiratory tract will function similarly, but it will also depend on close physical contact between different human beings, to exchange respiratory viruses that are benign but can’t sustain their presence in one host for an extended period. With the lockdowns we prohibited the benign respiratory viruses from spreading among our population and thus made it easier for SARS-COV-2 to become a dominant species of respiratory virus in our population.
Sociologists have long noted that the role of medicine in our increased life expectancy is exaggerated. Most of the gain in life expectancy can be attributed to improved nutrition and hygiene. Infant mortality went down dramatically, when Semmelweis figured out that doctors should wash their hands before delivering children, if they had just dissected corpses. Similarly, as we figured out which micronutrients our bodies need, the quality of our immune response against pathogens improved.
A lot of epidemiologists are now eager to give rise to a brave new world, where masks, UVC light and various other measures are used to eradicate not just SARS-COV-2, but effectively all respiratory pathogens. People are unwilling to acknowledge the simple fact that for many of the elderly in nursing homes, left alone, often blind or entirely unable to recognize their own family, an influenza infection is an act of divine mercy.
I believe that without the lockdowns and the vaccines, SARS-COV-2 would have been a non-event: An obscure coronavirus that manages to spread by being novel, but struggles and fails to establish a permanent presence in our population, bumping up into herd immunity and getting stuck in an evolutionary dead end in a handful of immunocompromised hosts who fail to pass the virus on to anyone else.
Through the mass vaccination campaign, we haven’t just turned SARS-COV-2 from a non-event into an ongoing disaster. We may very well have destabilized our entire Holobiont.