Pandemic of the Vaccinated - Original Antigenic Sin in Covid Hamster Study
Impact of Imprinted Immunity
As discussed yesterday and many times in the past, mRNA vaccines use a snippet of the virus’ genetic material - its messenger RNA or mRNA - to instruct our cells to produce the virus’ spike protein and in doing so, trigger an immune response.
However, from the very beginning, one of the concerns with using vaccines against coronaviruses is the concept of Original Antigenic Sin (OAS). This phenomenon is where the immune system is trained on the variant in the vaccine but upon encountering a new but similar version of the virus, it responds based on its memory of the original virus rather than the new one.
So, if you were vaccinated at the beginning of the pandemic and your body was trained on the original Wuhan spike protein, the hypothesis is that when you encounter a new variant, your body produces a response against the Wuhan virus and not the new variant. This could mean you have a less effective immune response to the new variant, if any at all.
On the other hand, if your immune system is primed through natural infection, it is trained on all the different parts of the virus, not just the spike protein. You still get OAS but this time, if the spike protein has mutated into a different variant, your body will still produce an appropriate response because it will still recognise other parts of the virus that mutate much more slowly.
But this has just been theory. A group of researchers wanted to investigate whether the theory held up in practice and have recently published their report called “Impact of imprinted immunity induced by mRNA vaccination in an experimental animal model” in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. They used hamsters for their experiments because their immune responses can be similar to those of humans. The hamsters were given a three-dose mRNA vaccination, similar to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine used in humans. After the vaccinations, the hamsters were exposed to different variants of SARS-CoV-2.
The researchers then measured various outcomes, such as the amount of viral RNA in the hamsters and the ability of the hamsters' immune systems to neutralize the virus.
These are the results, which I will explain below.
It looks daunting but once you get your head around it, it isn’t that bad.
The first row ‘C’ looks at the unvaccinated hamsters. Four separate columns look at the different variants the hamsters were infected with. Column 1 shows hamsters infected with B.1.1. As you can see, unsurprisingly, they produced an immune response to B.1.1. The same thing happens with BA.2, BQ.1.1 and XBB.1 with the latter also producing a strong response to XBB.1.5
Row ‘D’ looks at the vaccinated hamsters and tells a different, worrying story. The first column looks at uninfected but vaccinated hamsters. These produce an immune response to B.1.1 because they have been vaccinated against B.1.1. In the second column, when they get infected with BA.2, they produce the biggest immune response to B.1.1 with a smaller response to BA.2.
This is where we start to see OAS occurring. When infected with BQ.1.1, the hamsters produce large immune responses to B.1.1 and BA.2 with a far weaker response to BQ.1.1. By the time the hamsters get infected with XBB.1, they hardly produce any immune response at all but are still producing a response to B.1.1
The immune response to XBB.1.5 was even weaker still and that is the current most dominant variant around the world.
The concept of "imprinted immunity" suggests that individuals vaccinated with ancestral virus-based vaccines may not develop effective immunity against newly emerging Omicron subvariants, such as BQ.1.1 and XBB.1.
While the vaccinated hamsters didn’t develop a specific antibody immune response, the authors point out that mRNA vaccines can also induce cellular immunity (the part of the immune system that attacks infected cells) against multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants.
However, recent studies have shown that vaccinated individuals are producing an IgG4 response and are therefore tolerating the virus in the same way we do pollen or bee stings.
So we are at the point where vaccinated individuals are no longer producing an antibody response to new variants, due to OAS, whilst allowing the virus to run riot in their bodies, due to the IgG4 response tricking their bodies into thinking the virus is as harmless as some pollen.
What does this mean? Who knows at the moment but it is highly likely that the vaccinated have turned into virus mutation factories. Fortunately, the current variants aren’t particularly deadly but that could change over night. Furthermore, if their bodies are overwhelmed with a virus which they can never fully fight off, are they prone to getting other infections, completely unrelated to Covid. Is this what is causing the relentlessly high excess death rates?
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