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Why It Is Highly Unlikely That Any Single Vaccine Will Eliminate COVID-19
Antigenic Drift of Respiratory Viruses Such as SARS-CoV-2
I have told people for over a year that when the SARS-CoV-2 was let out of China and escaped all over the world, there is no vaccine that is going to get rid of this. This is a respiratory virus that mutates relatively rapidly and should be with us the rest of our lives like the flu and common cold. The good news is that like with the “Spanish flu” these viruses tend to weaken over an extended period of time because killing your host is not a good survival strategy. The much lower than expected mortality rate in the vaccine clinical trials (in addition to better treatment protocols) might be evidence that is already occurring.
The reason for this is a phenomenon known as “antigenic drift.” RNA viruses in particular mutate more rapidly because there is no second strand of genetic material that can serve as a sort of template for the other strand for error correction if there is a mutation in it. When a mutation in the RNA occurs, then there may be a different amino acid introduced in the protein it codes for which can result in either a minor change to the backbone or completely alter how the protein folds and its structure in three dimensions. Antibodies that bound to the old protein might not bind as tightly to the new protein, or might not bind at all.
This is the process of horizontal evolution in action. And we should all have an intuitive understanding of this given that another respiratory virus, influenza, mutates so fast that the vaccine has to be changed and matched to the strains that will be believed to be in circulation:
Virus evolution is so unpredictable you get extremely poor matching with the flu from year to year. The vaccine cannot keep up with the virus as can be seen in this chart with data from the 1996 to 2012 flu seasons:
Source: Frequent Genetic Mismatch between Vaccine Strains and Circulating Seasonal Influenza Viruses, Hong Kong, China, 1996–2012 Emerg Infect Dis. 2018 Oct; 24(10): 1825–1834. Table Linked Here
See all those “None”’s in the Table? That means “None of the circulating viruses examined were closely matched with the contemporary vaccine strain based on HA amino acid sequence comparison.” The virus mutated so rapidly that they could not find a single close match to the strain the virus was targeted against.
Now this does not mean all of those vaccines were completely useless. Because mutations can be minor in terms of the antigen structure you will get some cross protection against non-targeted strains. However, at the same time you will also get vaccines that just are not that protective.
And I think we all know this intuitively. This antigenic drift is why you are encouraged to get a flu vaccine every year. It is not protective for life. It is also why you can catch the flu two years in a row. It is not that your immunity to the flu you had last year goes away; it is because the virus mutated and your old antibodies do not work as well against the mutated strain. Something like measles, on the other hand, does not mutate as rapidly, so most people generally do not need to worry about getting the disease twice in their lifetimes. That is how vaccines can have a very meaningful effect in purging something like measles from the population.
So the big question should be “Do coronaviruses behave more like measles or influenza in terms of their antigenic drift?”
Besides being an RNA virus, one of the things that coronaviruses share with influenza is there are animal reservoirs for spread, where different genetic environments can provide different selective pressures leading to a wider variety of “zoonotic” mutations. You have pobably read stories such as this one talking about pets catching COVID-19 from humans. As you can read below, this process has already been known to happen in coronaviruses specifically producing the deadly SARS-CoV-1 and MERS variants:
Source: Genetic drift of human coronavirus OC43 spike gene during adaptive evolution, Sci Rep. 2015; 5: 11451.
Some people even believe SAR-CoV-2 was produced in a similar manner, although I find that very doubtful given (1) the geographic origin on the pandemic (bioweapons lab in area), (2) the details of its sequence (bat SARS + human SARS + HIV T-cell binding region homology to accomplish T cell depletion + poly-basic cleavage site), (3) published research on gain of function research on these this type of coronavirus, (4) what are now known to be obviously faked videos coming out of Wuhan to scare the world (are you seeing people just dropping dead in mass in the streets?), and (5) the multiple coincidental timing and brutally negligent responses that just happened to provide China with the perfect storm to get rid of their trade war woes.
The point is, based on the shared characteristics with influenza and other respiratory viruses as well as the history of significant genetic evolution of novel coronaviruses just in the last 20 years, we should expect genetic drift and the ability of the virus to evolve to require new vaccines.
I am not the only one saying that vaccines will not get rid of this thing and that this will likely become something we will have to deal with every year (i.e. endemic). You might not know this from the news media who seem to peddle if everyone just got “vaxxed” COVID-19 would naturally disappear, my position is actually common amongst the scientific literature:
However, as with other RNA viruses, such as influenza and HIV (83), further antigenic drift is anticipated in SARS-CoV-2…
As SARS-CoV-2 continues to circulate in humans and increasing numbers of COVID-19 vaccines are administered, herd immunity to SARS-CoV-2 should be approached locally and globally. However, as with other RNA viruses, such as influenza and HIV (83), further antigenic drift is anticipated in SARS-CoV-2….Because SARS-CoV-2 is likely to become endemic (89), the findings here and in other recent studies can be used to fast-track the development of more broadly effective vaccines and therapeutics.
Source: Structural and functional ramifications of antigenic drift in recent SARS-CoV-2 variants, Science. 2021 May 20 : eabh1139.
Another paper recently tried to directly compare the genetic variation of the recent SARS-CoV-2 virus to H3N2 influenza to speculate on the antigenic drift in SAR-CoV-2. The paper concluded that there were reasons to believe that the drift would not be as high as seen in the H3N2 with characteristics such as a “highly conserved proofreading protein nsp14 across all coronaviruses” allowing a more stable genome. Nonetheless, they still saw significant potential for genetic drift that would likely lead to changes in the formulations of the vaccines to deal with the mutations:
It seems plausible that the evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2 will bear similarities with that of IAV H3N2 during the pandemic phase and in the immediate aftermath, characterized by viral adaptation and accumulation of mutations in the RBD. Under this assumption, it seems plausible that the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants requires careful validation and regular vaccine update during the pandemic spread.
Source: The evolutionary dynamics of endemic human coronaviruses, Virus Evol. 2021 Jan; 7(1): veab020.
I would also note that it speculated in the above paper that another reason we might expect mutations to be less after the pandemic phase is the “strong T-cell responses” from the vaccines that are using gene therapy technologies like lipid encapsulated mRNA and adenovirus vectors. I concur that this is one of the theoretical advantages of these vaccines and the primary reason I used to believe years ago that these would be useful if they could be used safety. However, we just do not have the data to support this now and might never really have it since randomized trials (the best form of evidence) have been prematurely terminated.
But my main point is that no single vaccine is going to end this pandemic. It is going to take a series of vaccines that may or may not catch up to mother nature. Each time you inject one of these vaccines you are going to be subject to the very frequent short term reactions and severe adverse events demonstrated by the Pfizer vaccine.
And for those thinking that you can just give vaccine after vaccine and out compete mother nature, there are some other problems to consider. It turns out that we know from our experience with the flu there is a lot of evidence to suggest that having a flu vaccine the prior year, makes the flu vaccine in the current year less effective.
Experts are puzzled by a new study in which influenza vaccination seemed to provide little or no protection against flu in the 2010-11 season—and in which the only participants who seemed to benefit from the vaccine were those who hadn't been vaccinated the season before…
The vaccine was found to be 62% effective in those who hadn't been vaccinated the previous year. That was similar to findings in the other observational studies and also to the results of a recent, rigorous meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. In contrast, those who had been vaccinated 2 years in a row (before both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons) got no significant protection.
Think about this when they tell you to get 3 or 4 of the same jab in the same year. These results may or may not stand up to randomized trial scrutiny or transfer to SARS-CoV-2, but it highlights that our intuitive understanding of how the would should work does not hold up under scientific scrutiny. One should not assume throwing more and more vaccines with no long term safety data at something will make a problem disappear.
And this is even before we discuss the phenomenon of pathogenic priming, a mechanism for which is described by the antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) hypothesis. With every other coronavirus vaccine ever tested in animals, vaccinated animals were able to do better with challenges to the original strains, but did worse than the unvaccinated when exposed to other strains. This is well known science, and it was absolutely negligent of manufacturers to rush vaccines into humans before this question was answered with substantial animal studies including allowing some time for some substantial variants to actually develop.
How on earth can you even begin to test for pathogenic priming with less than a year’s genetic diversity in a novel virus?
Aside from the crappy data itself, this is the primary reason I tell people to avoid the vaccines. We do not have enough data or time since the breakout of the pandemic to know if pathogenic priming exists with SARS-CoV-2. But it is reasonable to assume there is a better chance than not that it does when it is observed in it other closely related coronaviruses like MERS and SARS. What is going on with the Delta variant today with breakthrough cases is exactly what you would expect with ADE!
After decades of flu vaccine use, their record in preventing the disease has been less than stellar, and no virus in history with a high level of antigenic drift has ever been eliminated through a mass vaccination campaign. Expecting us to be able to do so with SARS-CoV-2 is the height of arrogance and represents a lack of mother nature’s considerable ability to adapt.
Some of the world’s most vaccinated nations now are proving this. That it shocks anyone that a vaccine made from last year’s variants are resulting in “breakthrough cases” is mind boggling. This was expected if you understand how viruses work.
An even more absurd idea is that you can literally deliver the same vaccine for the third time in less than a year, and it will magically adapt to the new breakthrough variants without a substantial modification to the vaccine.
We should not be wasting money on vaccines with an over 40% risk of severe side effects over control to be given over and over to chase down the natural evolution of the virus. We should be focusing on better treatment protocols for the sick using cheap compounds that have shown impressive efficacy and have a well known side effect profile such as ivermectin. You can then limit the side effects to people whose chance of morbidity is higher, making the risk reward ratio more compelling than just giving to healthy individuals. It is a crime the NIH has not sponsored large scale randomized ivermectin trials since the first positive study was published in the spring of 2020. Imagine if all the money taxpayers had wasted on vaccines had gone into promising low cost therapeutics.
Even better yet, encourage people to live more healthy lives by losing weight, eating healthier food thereby reducing systemic inflammation, and getting more Vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and other factors necessary for a functioning immune system but often deficient in a modern lifestyle.
But if we did these common sense things, big pharma would not get their grab bag of profits because there is no patent on ivermectin or natural medicine. This vaccine hysteria is not driven by science and evidence based medicine, it is driven by pharmaceutical profits and the government’s desire to bring in an Orwellian government control grid under the guise of a Nazi vaccine passport regime. Look to France and Australia for the Nazi dystopian hell these people want to bring to the world in the their Great Reset. Agenda COVID is Agenda 666!