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On “natural immunity” to COVID-19 (and every other vaccine-preventable disease)

Antivaxxers have long appealed to “natural immunity” as being somehow inherently superior to vaccine-induced immunity, which is apparently “artificial”. This is a trope that comes from alternative medicine concepts about purity and contamination that is now endangering us in the age of the pandemic.

Ever since COVID-19 hit, I’ve been repeating the mantra, “Everything old is new again”. The reason is simple. Key to understanding a lot of the misinformation about COVID-19, its spread, and COVID-19 vaccines is an understanding that none of this misinformation is new. Rather, it’s the same misinformation that we at SBM have long been dealing with, just applied to the pandemic. Examples abound, including the minimization of the severity of COVID-19 that so much resembles how antivaxxers minimized the severity of the measles, misuse of the VAERS database to attribute harms to the COVID-19 vaccine that are very likely coincidental, false claims that COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility, and the appeal to “natural immunity” to the coronavirus and “natural herd immunity” as being inherently superior to vaccine-induced immunity or herd immunity from mass vaccination, which are denigrated as being somehow less than natural, artificial even—or even outright harmful. Never mind that achieving “natural herd immunity” requires that huge numbers of people be sickened and die of the disease, just as individual immunity from the disease requires the individual to be sickened and face the risk of severe disease and death.

Indeed, there is an eerie parallel between claims by Geert Vanden Bossche and Peter McCollough that COVID-19 mass vaccination is not just less effective but will lead to a “holocaust” and “depopulation” due to the emergence of ever more virulent COVID-19 “escape mutants” and the speculation by Andrew Wakefield pre-pandemic that the MMR vaccine will lead to a mass extinction due to the emergence of ever more virulent measles escape mutants.

Which brings me back to “natural immunity” and “purity.” Both are concepts embedded in alternative medicine, and an op-ed by Alan Levinovitz, an associate professor of religious studies at James Madison University and author of Natural: How Faith in Nature’s Goodness Leads to Harmful Fads, Unjust Laws, and Flawed Science, got me to thinking about them again in relation to COVID-19:

What began as a viral TikTok hashtag has infected every social media platform: Many of the proudly unvaccinated now identify themselves as #Pureblood.

Troubled observers have variously tied this term to the Harry Potter franchise (in which purebloods are Wizards untainted by muggle ancestry) and the eugenic Nazi fantasies of pure Aryan blood. But both comparisons miss the mark. The meaning of the hashtag is inseparable from vaccine refusers’ strong preference for “natural immunity,” a seemingly innocuous term that is actually a centerpiece of anti-vaccination ideology and ought to be abandoned immediately.

Although scientific authorities widely use “natural immunity” as a neutral description of immunity acquired through infection, it has different significance outside of medical journals. That’s because people often treat naturalness as synonymous with purity and goodness, even holiness. “God gave us a natural immunity,” said an announcer recently on Victory TV, a popular Christian network. “I personally choose God-given natural immunity over the new experimental vaccine for the safety and protection of myself and my family,” writes a chiropractor at Infinite Wellness Natural Healing Center. “How about you?”

I take a moment to observe right here that using the term “natural immunity”, as neutral as it sounds from a scientific perspective, was a huge mistake on the part of scientists for the reasons that Levinovitz describes above. Like the word “theory,” which in science implies a very high degree of certainty behind a proposition (e.g., theories of evolution and relativity) but in colloquial terms tends to connote any old wild guess, the term “natural” has very different connotations in the way most people who are not scientists use it.

Of course, vaccine-induced immunity is every bit as “natural” as immunity acquired after recovering from COVID-19, with the advantage that vaccine-induced immunity doesn’t require you to suffer through the disease and be at risk for the complications, long term disability, and death that it can cause. Otherwise, it uses the same “natural” processes that the wild-type virus does. As much as it perturbs me that this has to be explained again and again, boiling the concept of vaccination down to its essence, all a vaccine does is prime the immune system with a dead pathogen, a protein (or part of a protein from it), or a related but harmless pathogen so that the body can respond so much more quickly when the actual pathogen is actually encountered “in the wild”. The end result is to prevent you from becoming sick due to that pathogen. The best vaccines, of course, do more than that and prevent you from being infected at all (a phenomenon known as sterilizing immunity), but a good vaccine doesn’t have to induce sterilizing immunity or to be 100% effective at preventing transmission to accomplish a lot of very good things, again, not the least of which is preventing severe disease.

There is, of course, a scientific debate going on right now about post-infection immunity versus vaccine-induced immunity in terms of strength and duration of immunity, but that’s not what the invocation of “natural immunity” by COVID-19 contrarians and antivaxxers is about. What they are about is to deny the efficacy of vaccines and assert the supposed superiority of “natural” post-infection immunity, frequently in the context of minimizing or denying the likelihood of severe disease and death due to the coronavirus. The answers are coming in, seemingly slowly, but remember that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, only first reared its ugly head in China less than two years ago. That’s not a very long time at all to answer these questions. So it is not surprising that, thus far, the scientific literature is not entirely settled, which leads to people who want to believe that “natural immunity” is superior to be able to cherry pick articles to support their viewpoint. Oddly enough, Friday Daniel Lawrence Whitney, a.k.a. Larry the Cable Guy, did just that:

“Not settled,” however, does not mean that there is no scientific consensus or that it’s not strengthening.

Also:

In any event, as summarized here (although I really do wish that the doctors who had written this had used the term “post-infection immunity” rather than “natural immunity”), there are a number of issues with post-infection immunity that make vaccination, even after recovery from COVID-19, desirable, including that:

As for that Israeli study, which has been widely cited for its conclusion that those vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine were 13-fold more likely to suffer COVID-19 infection from the Delta variant than those who have recovered from the disease, it has…problems. First, it’s on a preprint server and hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet, which should tell you that you should take it with even more of a grain of salt than you take any study. Second, one thing I noticed right off the bat is how its tables and charts only report odds ratios (that “13-fold” number). You have to dig into the text to see that the absolute numbers of infections were quite low (for example, only 19 reinfections in one group) and actually do the math yourself to figure out that the breakthrough infection rates after vaccination were low. For instance, in model #1, the breakthrough infection rate was 238/16,215, or 1.5%; in model #2, it was 640/46,035, or 1.4%. I found that omission very curious, as well as the framing that didn’t mention that this study actually showed that the Pfizer vaccine was quite effective. It also showed that those who had recovered from COVID-19 and were later vaccinated were much less likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19. In addition, as described in this presentation, this study appears to have suffered from significant selection bias based on how different the populations being studied were. It also suffered from survivorship bias.

The bottom line: Contrary to the narrative being pushed, for COVID-19 “natural immunity” is not superior to vaccine-induced immunity, which is less variable and more reliable. Even if it were, yet again, I must emphasize that vaccine-induced immunity has a key advantage over post-infection immunity. It doesn’t require you to suffer through the illness and face the risks of severe disease and death from the disease to acquire it.

“Purity of essence”

Regular readers know that, from time to time, I like to invoke one of my favorite movies of all time, Dr. Stranglove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Old fart that I am, I sometimes find myself explaining (with difficulty) to younger people with no memory of life during the Cold War what it was like to live during the Cold War and how we were really afraid that any day nuclear bombs might rain down on our cities. Even though some of that paranoia ramped up again in the 1980s, it was nothing like the level during the 1950s and early 1960s, when the movie was made.

For purposes of this blog, though, one character resonates: General Jack D. Ripper, the unhinged “purity”-obsessed commander of a bomber group who at the beginning of the movie launches an unauthorized bomber first strike against the Soviet Union that the leaders of the U.S. frantically spend the rest of the movie trying to stop before the planes reach their targets and the bombs start falling. (Ramping up the consequences even beyond that of a nuclear war, there was also a revelation about a Soviet “doomsday” weapon that would be exploded if even a single enemy nuclear bomb were to explode on Soviet territory and render the surface of the earth uninhabitable for decades.) Indeed, that’s likely why I’ve mentioned Gen. Ripper several times over the years. In fact, re-watching the movie in the age of COVID-19 and QAnon, I’m struck with how much Gen. Ripper would fit into today’s zeitgeist, with his fanatical emphasis on “purity of essence” and his antifluoridation views. (Although the movie does not mention vaccines, I have no doubt that Gen. Ripper was also antivaccine. It’s all of a piece.) In fact, the reason Gen. Ripper launches his bombers to carry out a first strike was so as not to allow, as he put it, “Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids” (around 1:10):

(I always wondered at how Gen. Ripper could smoke cigars and drink alcohol while being so obsessed with his “purity of essence,” but no one ever said people were consistent.)

In any event, elsewhere in the movie, in a discussion with his assistant, an RAF officer named Mandrake, Gen. Ripper details his obsession with his “purity of essence” and his determination to deny women his “essence” during “the act of love”, as he puts it. Unsurprisingly (for the time), Gen. Ripper believed that the fluoridation of water was the mechanism by which Communists were accomplishing this nefarious aim to “impurify” Americans’ “precious bodily fluids”, as he explains while US troops are attacking his base as part of the government’s effort to take over the base, locate the recall code, and thereby abort the first strike:

I love General Ripper’s first question, “Mandrake, have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?”

As I’ve discussed in detail before, General Ripper’s fear of “contamination” (or, as he puts it, “impurification”) of his “precious bodily fluids”, his obsession with “purity of essence” (the very term playing a large role in the plot), and his conspiracy theory that “they” are out to contaminate that purity in order to conquer him and the US, remind me very much of how antivaxxers and COVID-19 deniers are discussing the pandemic and, of course, COVID-19 vaccines. What I haven’t discussed before (other than alluding to it) is how this all ties into the idea that “natural” (i.e., post-infection) immunity is superior to vaccine-induced (and therefore “artificial”) immunity. The idea of “purity” versus “contamination” lie at the heart of many alternative medicine beliefs, and it is those beliefs, which tend to be religious in nature, that pervade the discourse over “natural” versus vaccine-induced immunity to COVID-19. Moreover, such beliefs tend to victim shame as well given that, like so many alternative medicine beliefs, they suggest that if you only eat the right foods, do the right exercises, and use the right supplements, you can render yourself almost immune to disease. A long time ago, I discussed this in the context of Bill Maher’s claim that he would not catch influenza on a plane because of his superior immunity, which led Bob Costas to retort, “Oh, come on, Superman!” I also discussed it in terms of Del Bigtree’s horrendous victim shaming when he urged his viewers to “catch this cold” to contribute to “natural herd immunity” against COVID-19, while blaming people with chronic diseases influenced by lifestyle (such as obesity and type II diabetes) for having brought it on themselves.

My response to Del Bigtree is the same response I make to every antivaxxer who urges “natural herd immunity” to COVID-19: You first. Oddly enough, those advocating that the “healthy” be infected never seem to seek out the infection themselves.

Let’s go back to what now seems like ancient history, the year 2019. Truly, from the perspective of 2021, 2019 seems like another time, but even then the seeds of what we see now were fully germinated in the context of measles outbreaks that were occurring around the country because of low uptake of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine in some areas. Statements like this were not uncommon:

Yes, that’s Del Bigtree joining in to support the misinformation. Unsurprisingly, Darla Shine soon doubled down:

Although there was pushback:

https://twitter.com/DrLindaMD/status/1228194889357090818?s=20

And even more ludicrously:

Again, none of this is surprising. The appeal to “natural immunity” is a very old trope that is frequently combined with conspiracy theories about vaccine “profits”:

By early December 2019, just as the first large COVID-19 outbreak that led to the pandemic was picking up steam in Wuhan, China, antivaxxers were traveling to Samoa, where a huge measles outbreak had sickened over 4,000 children and killed 60, to spread their disinformation about the MMR vaccine. No less a luminary than Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote a letter to Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi touting “natural immunity” to measles due to maternal antibodies in breast milk, while blaming a “defective” vaccine and implying that it was actually the vaccine strain that had caused the outbreak. His evidence? He had none. He was just handwaving and JAQing off. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and briefly quote his RFK Jr.’s letter:

Media reports from Samoa suggest that the infection is targeting young infants who are not yet of age to receive the measles vaccine. If true, the culprit is most likely a vaccine that failed to produce antibodies in the vaccinated mothers sufficient to provide the infant with maternal immunity. Young infants contracting measles is a relatively new phenomena first recognized in the 1990’s. Prior to the development and widespread use of Merck’s measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, mothers passed protection to their infants via passive immunity derived from the placenta and breast milk. In contrast, mothers vaccinated with a defective Merck vaccine provide inadequate passive immunity to their babies. Merck’s version of the MMR has created a crisis where infants under the age of one are now highly vulnerable to these infections. These young infants suffer a much higher morbidity and mortality compared to populations historically impacted by wild measles later in childhood.

As I pointed out, none of this is actually correct, and maternal IgG antibodies to measles fall to zero by 6-12 months of age, while the IgA antibodies in milk are not nearly as protective and wane even more rapidly. I’m not going to relitigate the relevant science here; my point in bringing this up is as an example of how antivaxxers blamed the lack of “natural immunity” in Samoan mothers who had been vaccinated with MMR for their babies dying of measles in the outbreaks from two years ago. I also pointed out that high vaccine uptake is the best way to protect infants like these, coupled with earlier vaccination during outbreaks. If herd immunity is high, faster waning of immunity due to maternal antibodies is then much less of a problem. If herd immunity is not high, than vaccinating earlier is a viable option to protect these infants. In his letter, RFK Jr. also lamented how vaccines might not result in lifelong immunity to measles, another way that “natural” immunity is supposedly superior. Of course, post-infection immunity to measles isn’t always lifelong, and even if it were, lifelong immunity can be maintained with booster shots, something that antivaxxers seem to consider anathema.

Perhaps the most striking example of how in the age of COVID-19 everything old is new again comes from reconsidering an argument that the godfather of the modern antivaccine movement, Andrew Wakefield, made about measles five years ago. In brief, he claimed that mortality from measles had been falling long before the vaccine because of “natural herd immunity” due, of course, to “natural” infection and that this was so much better than the herd immunity due to the MMR vaccine. You can tell from where RFK Jr. got his argument about the immunity in mothers due to vaccination being “inferior” to immunity due to “natural” infection, though, because Wakefield made the very same argument three years earlier:

Vaccinated mothers do not confer adequate passive immunity upon their infants (< 1 year of age). Infants are unable to generate an adequate immune response to measles vaccine and in the absence of passive maternal immunity, are unprotected during the first year, putting them at risk of serious measles infection.

You can also see a precursor of a COVID-19 era antivaccine claim back then, as Wakefield also said:

The increasing Herd Immunity associated with natural measles and the accompanying decrease in morbidity and mortality, has been interrupted by vaccination. This makes it difficult to predict how vaccinated populations might respond to, say, a new strain of measles virus that has escaped the ‘protection’ conferred by measles vaccine (escape mutant). Because that population is not immune to the escape mutant we risk high morbidity and mortality from measles once again.

See the message? It’s that vaccinating will leave the population vulnerable to escape mutants. That’s a favorite antivaccine trope now used to argue against COVID-19 vaccination. Of course, I had the counterargument five years ago: Those who have “natural” post-infection immunity will also be vulnerable to escape mutants! Also, as must be repeated yet again, immunity from vaccination means not having to suffer through the disease itself to achieve immunity. As it turns out, this 2016 Wakefield argument was a precursor to an even more ludicrous argument in which he predicted that the MMR vaccine would lead to a “sixth mass extinction” (presumably of humans) due to the development of ever more virulent escape mutants. Other than some differences at the edges, at its core, Wakefield’s claim for the MMR and measles was identical to a claim made in a viral letter by COVID-19 crank Geert Vanden Bossche for the COVID-19 vaccine. The main difference is that Vanden Bossche claimed that a mass vaccination campaign during a pandemic is particularly dangerous, which made me wonder: When would be a better time to undertake a mass vaccination campaign than during a global pandemic that’s killed millions so far? Unsurprisingly, Vanden Bossche continues to fear monger about the emergence of “escape mutants” due to selection by COVID-19 vaccines, ignoring the observation from science that the richest source of new mutations is allowing the virus to spread and proliferate among the largest population possible.

It turns out, though, as Levinovitz points out, that the antivax appeal to “natural immunity” goes way, way back:

The language of naturalness short-circuits clear thinking about vaccines, substituting a theological binary — natural immunity vs. unnatural immunity — for empirical evidence. The standard vocabulary of medical science thus unwittingly undermines the very public health goals it is meant to serve by implicitly endorsing immunity that doesn’t come from vaccines.

None of this should be surprising, since we’ve known about the relationship between “pure blood,” naturalness and vaccine refusal for more than a century. The historian Nadja Durbach documented examples from Victorian anti-vaccination movements that would be right at home on TikTok: a father who feared his vaccinated baby had not a “drop of pure blood in its body”; an 1885 anti-vaccine banner that read “Pure blood and no adulteration”; and activists who asserted that vaccination was “pollution of our veins.”

For these Victorians, pure blood was “natural” and, by association, godly, because natural invoked the order ordained by God. The resulting ideology was, according to Durbach, a kind of “physical Puritanism” that granted vaccine resistance a divine mandate. Activists whipped up fear by describing vaccination as an “unnatural and dangerous” assault on the human body, unapproved by “Heaven’s will.”

Which brings us back to General Ripper:

The same associations remained powerful in the mid-20th century, when opponents of water fluoridation complained about unnatural adulteration of what should be pure. Their position — described by social scientists at the time as “naturalist syndrome” — was so mainstream that Stanley Kubrick skewered it in his classic “Dr. Strangelove,” wherein the lunatic Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper bemoans how fluoride corrupts the “pure blood of pure Americans.”

“Purity” vs. “contamination,” with disease and bad things caused by “contamination,” are at the root of much of alternative medicine and thus at the root of a lot of antivaccine sentiment. It’s at the root of the belief that “toxins” are the cause of disease and that “detoxification” is the cure. Before the pandemic, this belief manifested itself in many of the common antivaccine tropes involving “toxins” such as the false claim that vaccines are loaded with toxic chemicals, contain “fetal parts” or “fetal DNA,” and involve, as Bill Maher once put it, “injecting disease”, merely a different way of expressing the antivaccine trope that vaccines are “disease matter”. In the antivaccine world, as in the alternative medicine world, pharmaceutical products like vaccines are portrayed as “artificial” and “contamination” (of our precious bodily fluids) associated with decomposition, putrefaction, and impurity. Indeed, a decade before the pandemic, I encountered antivaxxers portraying vaccines as “transhumanism“. These same ideas from alternative medicine have manifested themselves during the pandemic in similar ways, with the added claims that mRNA vaccines somehow “alter your DNA,” thus by extension, presumably, “corrupting” your bodily essence, and, yes, “transhumanism” figures in this characterization too.

Never mind that:

Exactly.

The consequences of the term “natural immunity”

The idea that “natural immunity” is somehow superior to immunity acquired through vaccines has real-world consequences, too, particularly when it is applied to the pandemic. First and foremost, this idea is used by advocates as an intentional argument to oppose vaccine mandates of any kind, as we’ve seen many times. The line of argument goes like this: People with previous COVID-19 infection should not be required to get the vaccine as a condition of their jobs, to enter public spaces, or for any other reason. Again, this ignores the science showing that post-infection immunity is far more variable and might not be as long lasting as vaccine-induced immunity, as well as the logistical problems of documenting who has and hasn’t had COVID-19 for the purposes of such mandates.

When it comes to the claimed superiority of “natural herd immunity” things get even more dangerous and potentially deadly. After all, “natural herd immunity” was the rationale behind the Great Barrington Declaration, a declaration promoted a year ago by the free market libertarian think tank the American Institute for Economic Research that advocated, in essence, letting COVID-19 rip through the “healthy” population in order to achieve “natural herd immunity,” while using “focused protection” to keep those most vulnerable to severe disease and death from COVID-19 safe. As I discussed when it was first published, the Great Barrington Declaration did not describe how the vulnerable could be protected when the coronavirus was spreading unchecked through the rest of the population (it couldn’t) and actually represented eugenics more than anything else, as well as a technique of a “magnified minority” that sought to make a very minority fringe opinion seem mainstream. It’s a technique that had been used by climate science deniers, HIV/AIDS denialists, and creationists before, but unfortunately, unlike the case for those science denialists, the Great Barrington Declaration was a raging success. For example, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and then-President Donald Trump eagerly embraced the principles and ideas of the declaration. More recently, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appointed a signatory and apostle of the GBD Dr. Joseph Ladapo as Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health.

The religious idea of “purity” versus “contamination” (with sin or evil or whatever) that requires “purification” is a very old one. It’s at the root of damned near all alternative medicine and is never lurking far from antivaccine views. This concept goes hand-in-hand with the idea that “natural” means “virtuous” and is always better than the “unnatural”, such as those nasty pharmaceuticals and vaccines. (Never mind that immunity from vaccination is natural.) It’s also a profoundly harmful idea. It was harmful before the pandemic when cancer patients sought out “natural cures”—but cancer is natural!—and antivaxxers touted “natural immunity,” and, as Levinovitz points out, it’s even more harmful now:

Of course, natural does not mean good or safe. For most of human history, natural childbirth killed massive numbers of women, and still does in areas with limited access to unnatural hospitals. Natural selection worked its divinely mandated magic by killing off scores of infants. And acquiring “natural” immunity to the coronavirus means getting sick in the first place, an experience far riskier — for oneself, one’s loved ones and one’s community — than the “unnatural” vaccines developed to protect against it. But accustomed as we are to equating natural with good, it is easy to overlook the many ways it is not.

Indeed. “Nature” doesn’t care if you or I live or die. Cancer is entirely “natural”. So is COVID-19.

Truly, everything old is new again. One might even say that everything ancient (such as the belief that “natural” is always better) is new again, mainly because prepandemic most people had not been exposed to how quacks and antivaxxers had weaponized these ancient ideas against modern medicine in general and vaccines in particular. The optimist in me hopes that people, now exposed to the fallacy that “natural is better” will understand how it was always a fallacy, and not just about vaccines. In the meantime, henceforth I will no longer use the term “natural immunity” without qualification to describe post-infection immunity, because messaging matters.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

98 replies on “On “natural immunity” to COVID-19 (and every other vaccine-preventable disease)”

It’s important to note at least one glaring bit of misinformation in this post:

‘Cancer is entirely “natural”. So is COVID-19.’

COVID-19 is not natural. It was created in a lab.

No currently known genetic technology could engineer COVID. Theoretically you could “upcycle” a virus in a lab, but COVID would be a terrible weapon. The ideal viral weapon infects everybody, keeps them alive just long enough to let them infect a bunch of other people, kills everyone, then burns itself out in time for the troops to march in. COVID checks none of the boxes.

Expert in bio weapons, are we? Are all bio weapons “ideal?”” Are any weapons “ideal!”

How did the virus “leap” to humans?

Why does the evidence show it was engineered?

Expert in bio weapons, are we? Are all bio weapons “ideal?”” Are any weapons “ideal!”

How did the virus “leap” to humans?

I’ve got a better idea: You explain how SARS-CoV-2 was built in a lab. Specifically, as you say.

Anthrax is a known bioweapon.. It is a spore forming bacterium, very much diffrent than a virus

Strawman, red-herrings, strawman, red-herrings, oh my! So, is natural immunity superior to vaccination immunity? Throughout this meandering maze of blathering and emptiness, the closest Orac came to addressing the point was this:

More than a third of COVID-19 infections result in zero protective antibodies
“Natural immunity” fades faster than vaccine immunity, particularly after mild infection
“Natural immunity alone” is only half as effective as natural immunity plus vaccination

On your first point, Orac, don’t you guys argue that antibodies don’t matter so much — they often fade and quickly– and what really counts is memory cells. On your second point that natural immunity fades faster than vaccination immunity, again the study you linked to to support this is discussing antibodies. I might also scold you that the study is not really comparing how fast antibodies fade after natural infection in comparison to vaccination, but ditto to the first point; memory cells is what counts. The Israeli study showing natural immunity to be far more protective can be seen as indirect proof that natural infection confers superior memory protection. Nussenzweig et al is direct proof. Checkmate for natural immunity.

To your last claim that natural immunity is only half as effective as natural immunity plus vaccination, what the hell relevance does that have to the point of whether natural immunity is superior?! Provaxx logic: seatbelts are more protective than air bags because more people die in accidents who are just protected by air bags than are protected by both air bags and seatbelts.

The stupidity is beyond epic. I can’t believe you guys keep calling us the crazy ones.

That natural immunity you so covet comes at a price. I wish I could make you walk through one of our ICUs or covid wards.

That natural immunity you so covet comes at a price. I wish I could make you walk through one of our ICUs or covid wards

And, if you could, what would be your hope for this experience? That the shock and grief would catapult me 180 as I also leap onboard the forced vaccination train, agreeing that we should coerce people into an unwanted, intrusive medical procedure, and even some that had covid and would in no way benefit from the procedure?

@ MedicalYeti
Alas, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. You can bring Greg to an ICU, but he won’t change his mind about vaccines.

@Greg You will notice that Orac compares waning of natural immunity wirh waning vaccine immunity. He compares apples to apples. Immunity may not be same thing than reducing of COVID cases, but no immunity is definitely a bad thing.
Did you read the Israel stidy ? It shows that natural immunity is 1.01 times better, which is not a great number.,

The Israeli study showing natural immunity to be far more protective can be seen as indirect proof that natural infection confers superior memory protection. Nussenzweig et al is direct proof. Checkmate for natural immunity.

Indeed, experts and layperson alike should familarize themselves with Nussenzweig et al. Their study is essentially the nail in the coffin of hope that vaccination immunity is superior. Orac’ argues that the debate is still ongoing? At this stage in the game, the wrangling is pretty much the ‘experts’ considering the best way to surrender.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04060-7

I think Greg has auto-redaction mode activated. Must be one of those settings that get turned on by default after every reboot.

To your last claim that natural immunity is only half as effective as natural immunity plus vaccination, what the hell relevance does that have to the point of [sic ] whether natural immunity is superior?!

agreeing that we [sic ] should coerce people into an unwanted, intrusive medical procedure, and even some that had covid and would in no way benefit from the procedure?

It’s just like watching Tony play accountant:

Pfizer’s NET profit over Bextra was over 5 BILLION DOLLARS. They got fined just under 2 billion plus they got to write off the 2 billion dollar fine from their taxes (which every taxpayer had to make up [sic ]), so they only had to pay a fine of about 1 billion dollars plus a set aside of 900 million (which they also got to write off) to pay the families of people they KILLED (over 60,000 DEATHS). So they NETTED over 3 billion dollars….

Between prime and boost, memory B cells produce antibodies that evolve increased neutralizing activity, but there is no further increase in potency or breadth thereafter. Instead, memory B cells that emerge 5 months after vaccination of naive individuals express antibodies that are similar to those that dominate the initial response. While individual memory antibodies selected over time by natural infection have greater potency and breadth than antibodies elicited by vaccination, the overall neutralizing potency of plasma is greater following vaccination. These results suggest that boosting vaccinated individuals with currently available mRNA vaccines will increase plasma neutralizing activity but may not produce antibodies with equivalent breadth to those obtained by vaccinating convalescent individuals.

Translation: Pfizer and Monderna’s two-shots hit me ups will provide shittier long-term protection, and especially for emerging variants. Also, boosting the vaxxed will do just about squat.

@Greg Really, do read the Israeli study. If you read the whole of it, it says that vaccine effectivines is 98.5 and natural immunity protection 99.9. This is 1.4 % difference. Nothing vastly superior here.

@Greg Citation from Nussenszweig et al
“While individual memory antibodies selected over time by natural infection have greater potency and breadth than antibodies elicited by vaccination, the overall neutralizing potency of plasma is greater following vaccination.”
This actuslly says that vaccine induced immunity is superior (notice difference between B cells and plasma).

Greg Citation from Nussenszweig et al
“While individual memory antibodies selected over time by natural infection have greater potency and breadth than antibodies elicited by vaccination, the overall neutralizing potency of plasma is greater following vaccination.”
This actuslly says that vaccine induced immunity is superior (notice difference between B cells and plasma).

Yes, Aarno, it’s saying antibodies produce after vaccination is greater than that produce after natural infection, but we all agree, including you Aarno, that memory b-cells are what’s most important, especially in preventing reinfection. The study is confirming that natural infection is confering superior memory protection.

Yes, Aarno, it’s saying antibodies produce after vaccination is greater than that produce after natural infection, but we all agree, including you Aarno, that memory b-cells are what’s most important, especially in preventing reinfection. The study is confirming that natural infection is confering superior memory protection.

Early in the game, the vaccine pushers were practically having orgasms at the neutralizing antibodies that the vaccines were producing over natural infection. Nevermind that amount wasn’t so important as long as there were sufficient to clear the infection. Then the Israeli study hit and it was like being f’ed but without the orgasm. And, with Nussenzweig now reporting dismal memory protection from the vaccines, I imagine the vaccine pushers are now decrying how much they have to roll over and take.

@Greg If you really think that B cell memory does not count, stop citing this paper as example of superiority of natural immiunity

So it seems @Orac had taken the position that COVID-19 could not have been “created “in a lab.

Could it have escaped deform the lab? Let’s start there.

It could have formed much easier by about 5 recombination events (which happen all the time with RNA viruses like SARS-CoV-2) from viruses already present in a cave in northern Laos.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02596-2

The first SARS and MERS viruses both jumped to humans by a zoonotic transfer. Unless you have positive confirmed evidence to support it, the lab leak hypothesis is only a technical possibility.

But you are welcome to explain the purpose of each of the over 1200 base pair changes needed to get from the closest virus we know to have been in the Wuhan lab to the original SARS-CoV-2 sequence.

In the mean time, we still need to cope with the many variants that are out and about all around the world. And the best way to do that is to vaccinate as many people as possible ASAP.

Del continued his folly ( as I noted elsewhere) on Thursday’s episode ( @ high wire talk/ 4-8 minutes) when he shows Rand Paul “educate” HHR secretary, Xavier Becerra, about natural immunity vs vaccination. Highlights: Becerra isn’t a doctor and doesn’t have a science degree so he shouldn’t be listened to and then Paul compares Covid to immunity after measles and smallpox. This is followed by a clip of Dr Fauci being “schooled” by a conservative show host. ( 10-12 minutes)

Although Paul IS a doctor, he leaves out much of what Orac mentions above about immunity post- Covid infection. And he fails to hear Becerra mention how his position is entirely supported by data via CDC et al unlike Paul’s.

There is a simple way for anti-vaxxers/ contrarians to review the current situation involving vaccines- although I’m sure that they’ll find a way to twist even this-
look at US data via Mayo Clinic maps that illustrate current rates of Covid vs vaccine uptake: places with high rates of vaccination experience low rates of infection and places with low rates of vaccination experience high rates of illness- perfectly clear and follow a predictable political trend.

Becerra may not be a doctor, but his position is supported by medical associations and expert organizations populated by doctors and scientists, and Paul’s isn’t (I realize there are some fringe associations – looking at you, AAPS – that would agree).

Which is more or less what you said, in other words.

Great post, Orac.

Q. As artificial intelligence (AI) discovers novel compositions-of-matter and methods, in healthcare, is this natural medicine?

MJD says,

Yes, of course, and it is my hope that AI will someday inhibit cancer through immune-metabolic interference.

I can’t get tired of Doctor Strangelove references. Very appropriate. Today’s news includes a story that A. Q. Khan, the “father of the Pakistani bomb,” died from covid complication. The threat of nuclear war is far from over, the missiles are still armed and warmongers still run the nuclear armed countries.

When Daniel Ellsberg saw Doctor Strangelove in the movie theater (1964) he said “that was a documentary.” His profession at the time was a nuclear warplanner.

Meanwhile there’s also a story today about a Texas Republican who is sick with covid, denouncing public health mandates as solely a profit grab for big pharma but is also being given monoclonal antibodies to save his life. He’s probably smart enough to know his supporters do not understand that the antibodies were also made by big pharma.

Ugh, Allen West. He was a regular feature over on Dispatches from the Culture Wars (before Ed’s death), and he’s never said a smart or nice thing. So I’m not even slightly surprised at the line he’s taking on the monoclonal antibodies.

They know. Moreover, they’ve been touting it’s effectiveness. The silence about the monoclonal antibodies have come from those who are predominantly his detractors. That’s why monoclonal antibodies sat on shelves, mostly unused, for months. Everything was “vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate!”

No discussion about early treatments, which is very odd.

Hell, Narad, I’ve been granted and have written may patents therefore my writing style is atypical for NON-INVENTOR’S such as yourself. Meow…

Then perhaps you should consider adopting a writing style which is typical for people who wish to communicate clearly and effectively. As an INVENTOR you will presumably be familiar with the old adage of picking the right tool for the job.

@MJD, I draft contracts for my current job. 8 hours a day, five days a week. You’ll notice I don’t write these comments like a contract, because that would be ridiculous.

The question of “natural immunity” vs “vaccine-induced immunity” seems very simple to answer from, like, a general policy standpoint.
Just ask two questions:
1) How do the risks of the vaccine in question in the general population who were not previously exposed to the disease compare to the benefits?
And of course, in the case of any FDA-approved vaccine for a disease that is present, the benefits are way higher. (and if it’s not – for instance because the benefit of immunity to smallpox is pretty low these days – it doesn’t get recommended)

2) How do the risks of the vaccine in a previously-exposed population compare to the benefits?
It is at least possible to construct an argument for some of these vaccines that the risks are worse than the benefits in those cases… but almost all of what I’ve seen about it doesn’t even begin to try to construct such an argument.
(And in the case of Covid-19, if anywhere near 1/3rd of people who have the disease don’t generate a useful immune response, given how unbalanced the risk vs benefit calculation was for an unexposed population, reducing the benefit by a factor of three isn’t going to come close to making the risks a bigger deal…)

I have a guy here right now that we will never get off a vent. He needs a transplant to live that he will never get because he is in his 70s. Very healthy and active prior. His foray into natural immunity landed him with severely sclerosed lungs. He got over his covid infection weeks ago. Had he got the vax? Covid would have been a bad cold. He would be at home with his grandkids. Instead they come every day and look through a window at his lifeless body being kept alive by drips and a vent.

I have a 20-something in my clinic that now has moderate asthma after getting her natural immunity. She was the picture of health before and a community college soccer star. If she had got the vax, covid would have been a mild cold or she may never have even had symptoms.

These are two stories of DOZENS. The cross fitter who just died in another ICU, the natural foods NP who tried to cure covid at home and coded in our ER, etc, etc. these are just my experiences. Every doctor who is actually working with these patients day in and day out can tell you dozens more. The one common denominator? None got the vaccine.

@MedicalYeti

“He needs a transplant to live that he will never get because he is in his 70s. ”

Let me guess.
You destroyed his kidneys with remdesivir

@ Lynx

What % of your ICU are covid cases?

All of them. And his ICU, and those of the hospitals of the three counties around his, are filled.

What % are vaccinated?

None of them

Medical Yeti has been churning these stories here, one after another, for maybe six months, now. Do you pay any attention to anyone beside yourself?

And really, why do you ask? You don’t believe mainstream News and official reports, why would you believe some random stranger on the internet?
For all you know, we are all Bonnie Offit shilling for her husband and pretending to be different people.

Lung transplant. We don’t use remdesivir anymore. When we did? We always checked LFTs. The highest elevation I ever saw was about as bad as one would expect from one night of moderate drinking. I’m guessing you read some study or report somewhere that remdesivir caused transient LFT elevations or, at worst, one or two cases of hepatic failure and concluded: “Gotcha! It blows up everyone’s liver! Those evil doctors and pharma!” We gave it to hundreds of patients and never saw anything more than a slight elevation in liver markers.

I get that you are used to arguing with uninformed, well-meaning laypeople or folks in the research/academic side of medicine so I’ll say this: Try harder. You don’t know what you are talking about. Remdesivir was considered the standard of care around this time last year. If we didn’t use it? Jackaloons like you would be on here saying it’s a conspiracy and calling for our licenses. Anyone who didn’t recover? That person’s family would have a cause for action in court.

This is the real deal. Life and death. I see the consequences of bad information, fear-mongering, and conspiracy theories. I have to try to undo the damage done. I wonder-do you EVER feel guilty about what you do? Repeating nonsense spewed out by the IRA or Beijing. Feeling like a brake maverick who stood up to us evil doctors? Do you ever feel guilty that you are part of the cause of my full ICUs? When these people die because they heard too much baloney like yours and were convinced that the vaccine wasn’t safe, do you feel guilty for what you have done?

And of course had they been vaccinated, they might not have been infected at all – the vaccine isn’t perfect but it does completely prevent a significant number of infections. This is very sad 🙁

That ain’t what it takes to argue with Darla Shine, Del — thing more along the lines of a hard-boiled egg, a hammer, and a stabilized wormhole.

“and a stabilized wormhole”

Just out of curiosity, are you of the mind that a such a realizable/practical E-P-R bridge may at least suffice for the transference of information ? Asking for a day trader.

I just don’t yet see how one ungets the tremendous energy unput required.

Having given it some thought: “Purity” as a concept applied to any living thing is a bad idea. You end up with weird ideas about “bloodlines” (racism) but also religious/spiritual purity and sexual purity, both of which are used as a cudgel against people not in power (often but not always women). Ideological purity is used to get rid of dissenting voices. And let’s not start on the “purification” rituals (religious and secular).

At this point the only things I’ll apply the concept of “purity” to are chemical raw ingredients, like what you buy from Fisher Scientific. Anything else just leads to bad places and bad deeds.

Astute observation, as usual, JustaTech.

I find that amongst those whom I survey, the concept of purity often extends far beyond the purity of food products or air and water quality to more, often disguised notions, about the offensive taint of modernity** itself creeping into their idealised vision of the past, including a return to more traditional lifestyles, medical options, occupations and family roles. Of course, that last part is very sneakily inserted into their plan for this back-to-the-land retro-future, because most of their audience would probably reject it outright.

Alties deliver their message through daily posts or broadcasts so there is time to gradually acclimatise their marks to their grand vision. Modern life is based upon dependence on corporate products/ careers and maintains its gripe through standard education and mainstream media that capture humanity and drag it away from Nature.
By escaping cities to rural enclaves, people will experience freedom from government, business and media and instead return to the bliss their ancestors knew centuries ago, working the land, raising children, using natural medicines and avoiding
sinful thoughts and actions. This view underlies much of what these people preach. Traditional spiritual values, manners, ethics and morality will ground them and turn them from away from distractions like contemporary entertainment, education and careers.
Obviously, these concepts affect women greatly.

** which they convey via the internet

There’s a book I need to read, Prairie Fires, about Laura Ingles Wilder, and how she basically wrote utterly false propaganda about the wonderful life of a homesteader (at the time, for newspapers). And how the Little House books are beyond sugar coated (and that Pa was far more grifter than farmer).

But if you only ever read those books, and never looked beyond them to see what the success/failure rate was for homesteads (most failed), then you’d have this very distorted vision of history that would seem very attainable. Rather than the reality of, you know, nearly starving to death.

Churning butter sounds like fun, until you realize that you also have to use a latrine. (My school did this as an overnight trip for 6th graders and it went a long way to curing our very rosy view of the past.)

she basically wrote utterly false propaganda about the wonderful life of a homesteader

I married into a Kansas farming family (ex farming by the time I became involved). I have seen the remains of the two roomed sod house cut into the creek bank where Mrs. P’s grandparents lived. It was no picnic.

Much as I am nostalgic for the 1970s (not, although I would do the 2000s again), I am glad I live now and not in the time of my great-great-grandparents who lost 9 of their 11 children to childhood diseases.

I have some family members who refuse the COVID vaccine for what boils purity of essence reasons and yes, they smoke — from what I can piece together, everything from plants is Natural! And! Good! therefore tobacco is fine? At this point I don’t even ask any more.

You might think the sheer number of poisonous plants would give the ‘plants are natural and good’ people some pause. I mean, hydrogen cyanide is also natural; the lethal dose for an adult is approximately 50 bitter almonds.

Nicotine has been used in the past as an insecticide for a reason; heck, that’s the main reason why plants produce it.

Natural immunity being better than vaccination has over the years become a mantra of the anti-vaccine network. Rarely is any evidence provided to support this belief, of if evidence is provided it is severely skewed. The biggest problem with natural immunity is that you need to be infected with the agent to get it, taking all the risks that the disease presents. Even then you don’t always get natural immunity. My mother caught chicken pox twice, once as a child and a second time when I brought them home from school. The second infection left her with scarring on her lungs. Being able to get a vaccine booster, rather than catch the disease a second time is much safer.

For COVID-19, survivorship bias is a problem. The 1-2% of those who are infected with COVID-19 don’t get to have natural immunity, because they die. The data coming in does not suggest that natural immunity for COVID-19 provides significantly better protection than being fully vaccinated. However, even if the data did show natural immunity was better, it would still be better to get the vaccine rather than be infected by COVID-19 due to the high risks associated with the COVID-19 infection. I am not interested in spending a couple of weeks in hospital, just so I can have immunity to a disease I can be vaccinated for.

Some people around here say “getting the infection to get immunity is like burning something to fire proof it.” Perhaps the pure bloods can sport some cool outline tats of their rampaging keloid scar memorabiia.

It’s a good phrase. I listed you first in a string of three but got confused and quantum foamed some posts.

“Natural immunity alone” is only half as effective as natural immunity plus vaccination

With the debate of which is superior, reflect on how that point is more of an embarrassing concession rather than one assailing the virtue of the vaccines. An analogy would be the slow, out of shape kid approaching the star kid on the court. He explains, ‘yeah – you might be faster, quicker and more agile than me, but, if you accept me as your bitch, together we can take down team-virus.’

@ Gwerg – You continue to display to me with glee, awe, and some alarm, (but mostly your data exposing pushed created ignorance) — your rotten brained intentions. You make this the perfect post exposing likely a monied performance going all in to the theater of ignorance and what we chuckle about. Just wow and terrific. How obviously seeing you can’t read ‘data’ of argument. Thanks!

Vaccinations save lives! You don’t.

I write only because you persist in telling the world you know better (with no qualifications of course).

Furlong, imagine me doing my best Palpatine as I write this…

I can feeel your fear and doubts. It gives me so much warmth and comfort. It makes me whole. Ahh!

Actually. how one make a perfect thing better ? Obviously. natural immunity is not perfect.
It can use booster dose, too.

I can no longer say that I don’t know anyone who died from Covid-19.

The grandson of our favorite neighbor just died of the disease.

Aged 21.

“Let’s catch this cold.” – Del Bigtree

When I was a teen in the early 80’s and didn’t know any better (about a lot of things, really), I was convinced that “natural” immunity (aquired through infection) just had to be better than immunity through vaccines, not because it was “natural”, but because it was acquired with so much more pain and risk (I had complications from measles), and that had to be worth something.
Might have been a theological argument, or just a “I suffered for my immunity and so should you”. I wonder how much of that is still present in my generation.

@ Laura

I had a similar position, about that time. Not from personal experience, really, more like bad assumptions. As you said, there is more pain through the infection, so, I thought, that ought to leave a longer-lasting impression.
Turned out pathogens don’t play by any fair-play rules.

Recently we learned that some pathogens like the measles virus cheat by attacking our memory B-cells. We may get a long-lasted immunity for that measles infection, but that immunity to chickenpox or mumps we got before? Gone, literally killed by the virus.

It’s another commenter here (maybe the late and regretted Lilady) who pointed to me/us how, before vaccines, adults who came in contact with children were continuously re-exposed to childhood diseases. It seems the lasting immunity to these diseases was mostly due to that. A natural booster, one could say.

“Don’t freak out: vaxxed Aussies who catch Covid warned”

If you are fully vaccinated against Covid the next step to improve your immunity may be to actually catch the virus.

This kind of makes all this vaccine or natural immunity a mute argument.

The Courier Mail claims that if you are fully vaccinated against Covid the next step to improve you immunity may be to actually catch the virus.

“DON’T FREAK OUT: CATCHING COVID AFTER YOU ARE VAXXED IMPROVES IMMUNITY.” So say the experts, why bother with the vaccine if you have to catch it to improve your immunity>

couriermail.com.au/subscribe/news/1/?sourceCode=CMWEB_WRE170_a&dest=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.couriermail.com.au%2Fnews%2Fnational%2Fdont-freak-out-catching-covid-after-you-are-vaccinated-improves-immunity%2Fnews-story%2Fa65e560935dc5f4a271e9bcba226478e&memtype=anonymous&mode=premium&v21=dynamic-cold-test-noscore&V21spcbehaviour=append

So, what’s really the endgame? Fauci, Gottlieb and Biden have lied to the American people, suggesting if we vaccinate enough people we can end the pandemic; but, with long-term protection (and if 5 months could even be considered that!) going down the craphole, that thinking is pretty much a pipe dream, and serious scientists have already conceded as much.

So, despite all the faux outrage as we see here about letting nature do her job, natural immunity remains the one and only viable alternative to ending the pandemic. Should we credit the Australian epidemiologist for ‘realizing’ this? I would say as much as we credit a person for realizing the the sun rises in the east.

Vaccine protection is quite high. Rememer you own paper that showed 98.5 % efficiency ?
Another paper:
COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness against hospitalizations and ICU admissions in the Netherlands, April- August 2021
View ORCID ProfileBrechje de Gier, Marjolein Kooijman, Jeanet Kemmeren, Nicolette de Keizer, Dave Dongelmans, Senna C.J.L. van Iersel, Jan van de Kassteele, Stijn P. Andeweg, the RIVM COVID-19 epidemiology and surveillance team, Hester E. de Melker, Susan J. M. Hahné, Mirjam J. Knol, Susan van den Hof
doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.09.15.21263613
“The VE for full vaccination against ICU admission was 93% (95%CI 87-96%) in the Alpha period and 97% (95%CI 97-98%) in the Delta period”

Are you serious?

You know that 1+1=2 right? Not, I’ve already got 1 so I’ll not bother with the other 1 ‘cos 1 is the same as 2.

Secondly, catching Covid while vaccinated means a much lower chance of serious adverse events or death. So being vaccinated and then catching Covid is less dangerous than catching Covid and then getting vaccinated.

Secondly, catching Covid while vaccinated means a much lower chance of serious adverse events or death. So being vaccinated and then catching Covid is less dangerous than catching Covid and then getting vaccinated.

Related to this argument, something got me thinking. I am hoping the immunology experts around here such as Aarno, Athaic, Foolish Physicist, Squirrel or Joel will chime in. Speaking of Joel, he has been conspicuously missing; what’s up with that?

So, mRNA vaccines produce spike specific antibodies. The vaccinated person then encounters Covid, and adaptive immunity then tells innate immunity to stand down and then battles the infection with those spike specific antibodies.

What’s wrong that? The natural infection here after vaccination will still not result in the person acquiring the full breadth of antibodies that will produce superior immunity for warding off future infections. In a nutshell, I am considering covid after vaccination will result in inferior immunity than the immunity gain from fighting covid without vaccination. The mRNA vaccines in this way will irrevocably screw things up, and preventing the person to ever benefit from natural infection.

Any takers here that would like to chime in on this point?

The way viruses cause us harm is by going into our cells and using our cells to make copies of themselves – in the process, killing our cells.

The reason scientists targeted the spike protein is that that’s how the virus gets into our cells. The spike protein is the entry point.
If anti-bodies neutralize it, the virus cannot get into human cells and cannot use our cells to make new copies of itself, killing our cells in the process.

In other words, the vaccines target exactly what they should. Here is a cool animation on that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nD6Q9X0SFw

And the innate immune system never actually “stands down”. It’s not an either/or. Our body has multiple defense mechanisms that work at the same time.

Dorit, you are not really addressing the point. It’s not about whether scientists were wise to target the Spike; it’s about whether spike specific antibodies will dominate during subsequent infections to the extent of preventing the person from acquiring the full breadth of antibodies that natural infection usually brings.

And, yes, it has been shown that the adaptive immune response does suppress the innate one. I believe this what Bossche meant by adaptive immunity out competing innate immunity.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17917657/

The natural infection here after vaccination will still not result in the person acquiring the full breadth of antibodies that will produce superior immunity for warding off future infections. In a nutshell, I am considering covid after vaccination will result in inferior immunity than the immunity gain from fighting covid without vaccination.

Good luck with that one.You fucked around and found out and got the coronavirus. When has anyone not got the sniffles off their kid year on year?. Now that yu have proven your superior genes, It would probably do you some good to go ahead and beef up a little https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/10/mix-and-match-covid-boosters-are-as-good-if-not-better-than-all-the-same-shots/

Leaked from a lab*? What does it matter now? The researf? The very fact that it mutates shows not a finished or ready to be released weapon.

*the chimeric mouse/human ACE research was done in Chappel Hill, NC Killed by Osama bin Obamha and restarted under the direction of Donald J.Trump.

The point I am arguing is complex, so I will explain it with the ‘lock and key’ analogy:

We start with the first scenario where an unvaxxed person encounters the virus His innate and adaptive responses study and fights the virus, and, in that process, producing 10 keys (antibodies) for the virus 10 locks (epitopes). Those keys will serve as a wide breadth of keys (antibodies) for recognizing and fighting off future infections.

In the next scenario, the person is vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine. That process will only equip him with just one key (spike antibody) to fight off future infections.

Imagine for this scenario the person subsequently encountering the real virus. If the locks on the virus change (mutate) sufficiently, his one key might not even recognize any locks and
we have a breakthrough infection. But, another more depressing point that I am suggesting is even if that one key manages to find it’s matching lock on the virus, fighting the infection may still result in only that one, same key being mass produced for warding off future infections. With this scenario, the person hasn’t really benefitted from natural infection as he would have had he not been vaccinated in the first place.

OMFG, if this is true, would mRNA vaccination then not amounts to truly creating Frankenstein? Wouldn’t it amount to this type of vaccination permanently impairing the body’s chance of successfully fighting off future infections. Is this the reason for the 100% vaccination push, hoping for the Hail Mary where everyone is vaccinated and we luck out with the virus no longer circulating, and even if these leaky vaccines are not likely to aid this?

@Greg Did you already forgot Nussenszweig et al, paper you have cited multiple times ? It showed that infection would produce more diverse sets of antibodies, but vaccination produces more neutralizing antibodies. This may be related to fact that spike protein is a surface protein, more easily accessible to the immune system.

The point I am arguing is complex, so I will explain it with the ‘lock and key’ analogy

Oh, dear L-rd, that’s hilarious.

Anyway, I’ve only skimmed this one (very briefly for image hijinks), as I was looking for disease-based induction of autoimmunity markers de novo, but it goes to Gerg’s happy cherry-picking.

“Robust SARS-CoV-2–specific humoral and cellular responses are maintained in convalescent patients with COVID-19 at 1 year postinfection. However, the dysfunction of SARS-CoV-2–specific CD4+ T cells supports the notion that vaccination is needed in convalescent patients for preventing reinfection.”

I’m sure it will begin its literature review promptly.

Robust SARS-CoV-2–specific humoral and cellular responses are maintained in convalescent patients with COVID-19 at 1 year postinfection. However, the dysfunction of SARS-CoV-2–specific CD4+ T cells supports the notion that vaccination is needed in convalescent patients for preventing reinfection.”

So, the finding is T-helper cells 1yr after infection starts to wane, and the suggestion is to support natural infection with an agent that it’s own general protection goes completely down the craphole after a mere 5 months, Narad? I would say that argument is not only ridiculous, but also a moot point with the Israeli study saying natural immunity is quite protective — 13 times more protective than vaccination!

You’re also presenting a strawman, Narad, with you failing to address my argument. Does covid vaccination impede the normal gains from natural infection? Surprisingly, no one here seems to want to come to the dance on this question. Surely, an immunology expert such as Athaic should be keen to show her moves.

When Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein love each other in the anatomically correct way…

“Here is a cool animation on that.”

Actually that is a little graphic for people afraid of being washed over by writhing mating musking cotten mouth snakes a quarter way across the murky green river, the movie Venom, Greek mythology, Clive Barker, and Dyson ads.

If I were similarly phobi’ed and was on the fence before, I’m tippy toeing on top of it now.

What’s wrong with that Greg, is that you honestly seem to think that you can come up with something that actual immunologists haven’t thought of.

Reminds me of my youth. Walking along, talking to my dad when I was a kid and I ended up inventing the jet engine. Imagine my disappointment when he told me that it already existed. I had a pretty novel use for it too.

If the locks on the virus change (mutate) sufficiently, his one key might not even recognize any locks and
we have a breakthrough infection

In fairness, this might not be an entirely bad thing. If the system does not recognize the virus, maybe spike-specific adaptive immunity won’t tell innate immunity to stand down, and we might just have the full breadth of antibodies formation for subsequent infections, and just like what would’ve occurred for an entirely new infection. What’s bad is when the
one-trick-pony spike response recognizes the infection and starts to dominate.

Why would idea that vaccine produced ikmmunity is better than natural one is ridiculous ? Do research to determine facts
Israeli study showed that vaccine efficiency is 98.5 anf natural immunity protection 99.5. This is not 13 times better
As or your previous argument, infection does not produce antibodies against future variants, but current one. Diversity does not change things.

You’re also presenting a strawman, Narad, with you failing to address my argument.

<a href=:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUqSNbJuGOw“>Fuck off, jizzrag. When I’m talking to you (as now), you’ll know. Otherwise, everything is either talking about you or tossing things out to see what people who know better might think.

One thing I am absolutely not doing is having a fucking argument with a dog’s breakfast.

What’s wrong with that Greg, is that you honestly seem to think that you can come up with something that actual immunologists haven’t thought of.

Numb, whatever! So, are you guys agreeing with my assessment? Vaccination will impede the gains of subsequent natural infection.

So, is this the the real reason you guys are poo-pooing on natural immunity? The vaccines have f’ed it up and there is very little to gain there?

My point was that the spike protein is targeted because it helps the virus gets into cells. In other words, those antibodies will prevent infection.

If you actually look at the article you shared, it talks about the adaptive immune system limiting over-aggressive innate immune response that can lead to cytokine storm. Its whole premise is that the two systems generally work together to balance a strong immune response with avoiding an over aggressive one. Here is the actual article.

https://www.nature.com/articles/nm1007-1142b

General note: That last comment was NOT designed to attack anyone who works in academics, etc. I just assume that some of these bad actors are likely posting BS on FB and elsewhere, where they come up against folks from the sciences and other areas of medicine who do not have daily interaction with COVID cases and quickly bowl them over with bs. I see it constantly on Twitter.

I just don’t remember being told when I got the vaccines for Polio, mumps, measles, anthrax, small pox, hep a and b, tetanus, yellow fever, countless flu shots and mists, shingles etc (so many in fact I ran out of room on my yellow card). That it would help my immunity if I went out and contracted those diseases and got sick to help my immune system, I thought the vaccines were prevent me from getting those things.

But, another more depressing point that I am suggesting is even if that one key manages to find it’s matching lock on the virus, fighting the infection may still result in only that one, same key being mass produced for warding off future infections. With this scenario, the person hasn’t really benefitted from natural infection as he would have had he not been vaccinated in the first place.

Hence, why the vaccinated might need boosters for life. MRNA will hijack their immune response to the point of suppressing the gains that can be achieved from natural infection. All future infections will be met by the specific spike antibody until the virus mutates enough and renders it useless, and then prompting the need for new antibodies. Truly depressing. And, the only ones to be spared, those that said ‘no’ in the first place🙁.

“MRNA will hijack their immune response to the point of suppressing the gains that can be achieved from natural infection

Pure unfounded conjecture! Why? How? Compare and contrast with evidence from the protein subunit vaccines that have been in use for a number of years for other diseases. Note especially that the ONLY vaccine against a viral disease that is considered to elicit long-persistent sterilizing immunity is a protein subunit type presenting only one protein of the virus.

This is a thought exercise for you. I have no intention whatever of engaging any further with your lack of knowledge and wild conjecture.

Compare and contrast with evidence from the protein subunit vaccines that have been in use for a number of years for other diseases.

But, are we comparing apples to apples? Which vaccines and which diseases, and are those protein vaccines actually sterilizing the diseases, which is not the case with Covid mRNA vaccines?

I have no intention whatever of engaging any further with your lack of knowledge and wild conjecture

I encourage you to reconsider. During reinfection, where will the diversity in cellular responses come from if the system is just trained with one type of antibody (key)?

PS: Thanks for being at least the first to take baby steps toward the dance, and even if you had a change of heart and rushed back to your table.

We already know that, for anti-vaxxers, pure, unfounded conjecture = truth being hidden by nefarious forces. Although, perhaps just as often, pure, unfounded conjecture = pearls of genius cast before swine.

The percentage of the population with no electrical knowledge contains a subset who will try to hacksaw through an 11kV cable with theft in mind. No doubt they had confidence in their own theories too. Shame about the horrific burns and death.

“I will explain it with the ‘lock and key’ analogy”

I am still not understanding, Greg. Perhaps you might do a token and gate analogy? Don’t they have a lot of busses in the great white north? I got as far as: :they are differently sticky though QueenClean might be going on strike.

While I wouldn’t like to comment on Greg’s new pet theory from a immunological perspective. I would like to point out that, if his theory was correct, it would already have been noticed.

Gregs theory says that vaccine generated immunity will prevent any possible future natural immunity from developing. So, presumably, variants like delta which the vaccines have a harder time with, will be impossible for vaccinated people to generate antibodies to. So? Greg, can you find any studies to show that this is happening? Any evidence that vaccinated people get reinfected with delta on a regular basis with no change in the severity of the disease? No evidence of new antibodies? This would have to be compared to unvaccinated peoples response to delta for comparison.

A further logical issue might be Greg’s insistence that vaccine induced immunity only lasts a short time whilst natural immunity will still be found in fossilised remains at the heat death of the universe. If vaccine induced immunity is ‘forgotten’ after a matter of months then the immune system will start from scratch, producing natural immunity after the next infection.

Yet another logical issue is that mutations in the spike protein are what, as far as I am aware, make vaccine trained antibodies less effective. The immune system is looking for the spike protein, not the virus. Doesn’t this make a covid variant a completely different disease as far as the immune system is concerned? Given that we can have immunity to multiple diseases at once, Greg would have to show that the immune system sees a mutated spike protein but doesn’t know that it is mutated.

A further logical issue might be Greg’s insistence that vaccine induced immunity only lasts a short time whilst natural immunity will still be found in fossilised remains at the heat death of the universe. If vaccine induced immunity is ‘forgotten’ after a matter of months then the immune system will start from scratch, producing natural immunity after the next infection.

And, up-thread, after quoting myself, I conceded that point

If the locks on the virus change (mutate) sufficiently, his one key might not even recognize any locks and
we have a breakthrough infection

In fairness, this might not be an entirely bad thing. If the system does not recognize the virus, maybe spike-specific adaptive immunity won’t tell innate immunity to stand down, and we might just have the full breadth of antibodies formation for subsequent infections, and just like what would’ve occurred for an entirely new infection. What’s bad is when the
one-trick-pony spike response recognizes the infection and starts to dominate.

Indeed, I am arguing that the problem occurs with re-infection when the system recognizes the spike epitope on the virus and stubbornly keeps spitting out that same antibody that doesn’t sufficiently address the new mutated virus. This will just lead to continuous reinfections that can only be mitigated by boosters.

On this note, don’t get me wrong: my entire mantra is ‘just say no! — to vaccines’, but, with this problem, wouldn’t it had been better to approach Covid with a whole-virus vaccine? At least we would’ve gotten off to races with a fuller breadth of antibodies for addressing subsequent infections. Seriously, wasn’t mRNA vaccination a big oversight in this regard?

For the layperson who is interested understanding these discussions, I find this Khan video on immunity tremendously helpful. I found the video after I got into a discussion with Athaic a long time ago about one of Orac’s post suggesting that measles infection can destroy measles memory cells. Interestingly, even on that topic, I got up to speed quickly and was able to school Athaic.

Watching the videos, I find the immune system incredibly fascinating, but also not entirely hard to understand as one would presumably think. This knowledge has also been a tremendous boon in helping me deal with a personal matter; thankfully, one that my family has overcome.

Should I ever run into Athaic in real life, I would sincerely thank her for inspiring me. Of course, I would also remind her that she is a lying, disgusting, baby-killing shill, but I believe it’s necessary to give appreciation when it’s due.

https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/human-biology/immunology/v/inflammatory-response

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