Vaccines - the Elephant in the Room

  • 31 Mar 2021
  • Reading time 18 mins
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APRIL COVID NEWS

  • Vaccines - the Elephant in the Room
  • The Second Wave is Over - Latest COVID Stats Confirm

There is one giant ongoing mistake, an elephant in the room, in the 21st century treatment of every single major disease: it is the narrow focus on one small part of the mechanism of the potential cause. For example, that cholesterol is the cause of heart disease and the solution is to block its production with statins. Or that dysregulated insulin is the cause of diabetes so let’s treat it with insulin-modulating drugs. Or that cancer cells cause cancer so they must be destroyed with chemotherapy. Or that dementia is caused by amyloid plaques so treatment should be with amyloid blocking drugs.

Each of these approaches have been remarkably ineffective but continue to be promoted despite evidence to the contrary. Why? Is it ignorance or because specific areas of science get so specialised and siloed? Or is it because you can only patent, hence make money, out of a specific man-made agent? So commercial logic demands you ignore the elephant in the room – that disease is not a function of a lack of drugs but due to a lack of health.

So, here we are with a new disease, COVID-19, and exactly the same thinking is being applied - that COVID-19 is caused by a specific SARS-CoV-2 virus that we can eliminate with a vaccine that makes the body produce antibodies against it. Then, much like the calls to put statins in the water supply, everybody must be vaccinated.

Those who point out problems with the vaccine or to other potentially effective treatments are shamed and branded as ‘selfish’ for putting others at risk. All resources are focused on mandating vaccines and restricting freedom of movement with vaccine passports.

I believe it is misguided. Let me explain why. Firstly, it ignores the way the two parts of your immune defence system act. First to swing into action is your INNATE immune system, a multi-pronged response to any invading organism. This is what allows us to get over a cold or flu fast.

The second part - ACQUIRED or LEARNT immunity - takes longer because it is producing an army of cells that are trained to recognise features of the particular virus and mount a specific attack. This involves antibodies that can latch onto many parts of a virus and alert the innate immune system to attack.

How vaccines work

The way ‘normal’ vaccines work is that they introduce an ‘attenuated’ or weakened live virus which triggers the innate immune system to do its work, including the production of antibodies, but without giving you the full blown disease. Both polio and smallpox are attenuated live virus vaccines. They aren’t given during an active infection or a pandemic, but in advance for protection. If enough people are vaccinated in a population, the virus dies out. That’s herd immunity.

We’ve had two coronavirus epidemics in the last decade, SARS CoV-1 and MERS. Both were extremely deadly and those infected became very ill very quickly. This meant they were isolated fast giving the viruses little time to spread and the epidemics petered out.

Coronavirus SARS CoV-2 (COVID -19) is something very new and different. It is not nearly so deadly, so as many as 80% of those infected have few or no symptoms, allowing them to spread the disease for much longer, making it far more contagious.

As we saw early in the pandemic, very few young and healthy people got critically sick or died. The vast majority of those who did were old, overweight, had other underlying diseases and were, to some extent, immune-compromised. In other words, their innate immunity was not up to the job.

Then another more surprising fact emerged. Infected health care workers were usually either asymptomatic or only mildly infected, yet their level of immunity was at least as good as those who received a single dose vaccination that lasts for at least a year. However I would argue they are actually likely to have better immunity because the way the innate immune system triggers learnt immunity means it has a much broader effect than a vaccine. Let me explain.

Both of the vaccines most widely used in the UK, Pfizer’s and AstraZeneca’s, give an instruction to your cells to produce very specific antibodies to the unique hallmark of the virus – the spike protein - which is the battering ram it uses to get inside your cells. This is much more targeted, and specific than the antibodies, and other defence systems, triggered by your innate immune system on exposure to a coronavirus.

Concerns about vaccination. Are they well-founded?

There are two potential theoretical downsides to this approach. The first is called ‘pathogenic priming’. Could a person’s immune system over-react when exposed to a simulated infection induced by a vaccine? Most people who die from COVID-19 do so because their immune system over-reacts and starts attacking the body’s own cells, a condition known as ‘sepsis’ or ‘cytokine storm’, thought to occur when bits of virus get stuck in the lung stream or accumulate in the blood and the body’s immune system attacks There have been, fortunately, only a few cases of this following vaccination but the real test will come when vaccinated people become infected. There are trials specifically infecting people who have been vaccinated to explore this potential risk.

The second concern relates to so-called variants and whether vaccines will work against new ones. These are viruses whose genetic make-up has slightly changed giving them different abilities. The response of the narrow-minded elephant thinking is to try to create a new vaccine as fast as possible to target the new changes. There have been twelve major new variants so far and the first generation of vaccines are only partially, if at all, effective against some of them.

There is a reason why this response is unlikely to be effective. All animals produce changes (mutations) in their genes all the time. Viruses and bacteria do it particularly fast. Most have little or no effect, but some give a survival advantage. There have been an estimated 12,000 mutations in COVID-19, so far, and twelve of these variants provide significant new abilities. There will be many more.

Flu vaccines provide the model we use for dealing with this. Unlike the flu virus, the Coronavirus, throws up new variants every years and virologists have to make educated guesses as to which will be the most successful and make vaccines to provide immunity when they arrive but they are only partially effective.

The concern is that some people who have been vaccinated and are producing very specific antibodies against very specific spike proteins, will encounter a mutated virus that produces different-looking spike, which means that their antibodies will be ineffective.

An analogy here could be that the first variant vaccines were developed for uses arrows to get inside your cells. The vaccine ramps up production of chain mail – highly effective against arrows. But the next variants uses bullets and chain mail is relatively useless. Natural immunity ramps up production of shields – not quite as good as chain mail for arrows, or a bullet-proof vest for bullets – but broadly effective. Natural immunity also gets troops on the ramparts firing flaming balls at the invader (a bit like your t-cell response) and sends in troops to attack and kill (much like your Natural Killer cells and macrophages which gobble up viruses).

With elephant thinking you’d then need a booster vaccine, this time to make antibodies that protect against bullets, making bullet-proof vests. But the virus wants to survive and, next time, it attacks with lasers, not stopped by either chain mail or bullet proof vests….and so on.

At this point we become locked into an arms race with the virus. We produce a vaccine that targets the spike, a new variant finds a way of concealing it. We then come out with a vaccine that hits a different target but already the vaccine has a variant that eludes it.

Our elephant way of thinking dooms us to fail. Their new variant production line is much faster than our precision responses. All we are left with is endlessly locking down borders, isolating people and forcing more rounds of mass vaccination in the desperate hope that if everyone is vaccinated the disease will stop.

While this ‘worst case’ scenario is both plausible and possible the hope it that, with a fast enough development on new vaccine ‘upgrades’ the virus might run out of new variant options and the war is won. But it’s quite a risk, and one that depends on achieving herd immunity, which means vaccinating children even though they don't need it.

The flipside of this is that it is mass vaccination that provides precisely the pressure that forces the production of new resistant variants. That’s how evolution works. This has already happened with antibiotics. Their over-use resulted in the emergence of antibiotic-resistant variants of bacteria. This scale of global vaccination has never happened before. We are in new territory.

This ‘worst case’ scenario would not happen immediately. The short-term expectation is that mass vaccination would reduce rates of symptomatic infection, hospitalisation, and death. The virus is defeated but not destroyed; before long a new effective variant will emerges and with that a sharp spike in cases even in those vaccinated who are therefore just as capable of spreading infection.

Do the vaccines against Covid-19 work?

In the short term they seem to be having an effect. But there are still many known unknowns. It is not even clear what the best way of measuring effectiveness is.

  • One test is do they induce an antibody response?
  • But what about other aspects of immunity, such as T-cell memory?
  • How long will immunity last? (It is usually a couple of years for natural immunity)
  • Do you need one shot or two and what is the most effective interval between them?
  • Is an annual yearly booster going to be necessary?
  • Are there less infections, hospitalisations and deaths in those who have been vaccinated?
  • What happens in the vulnerable, with weakened innate immunity?
  • What happens in the younger, healthier people with stronger innate immunity?
  • What’s the scale of adverse reactions, such as pathogenic priming?

All these questions are being explored in ongoing research.

What have we learnt so far?

Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines induce a good antibody response, and seemingly T-cell memory. This has resulted in less hospitalisation and seemingly milder infection among the older population – over 80. This ranges from 40 to 90% effectiveness. We don't know much about younger age groups yet. Antibody levels both post vaccination and post infection are highly variable. The average level of antibodies or apparent protection in those who been infected (healthcare workers are usually used in studies) is similar to those who’ve had one vaccine shot (Pfizer in this case).

The level of antibodies in those who both had infection and one vaccine shot is much the same as those who’ve had two vaccine shots but no Covid infection. Roughly, the top fifth of natural infection responders have antibody levels equivalent to the bottom fifth of those who’ve had two shots. (I use this ‘fifth’ loosely – this is the trend and shows the variability of response.)

This point opens up the question that ought to be provoking a flurry of research that could greatly benefit patients: What is it that gives one person a stronger innate response than another?

The fact that it is not, is another damaging side-effect of elephant thinking. The billions being spent on the narrowly targeted vaccines means that promising alternative strategies for protecting people are not only largely ignored but actively suppressed. The next section describes what else could be done.

Enhance your innate immunity

Anyone familiar with modern medicine, disease and effective cures knows that the real solution, whether you are dealing with infections, diabetes or cancer, is prevention - building up your natural resilience and making the diet and lifestyle choices that make you ‘disease-proof’.

The young and healthy, and those that have high vitamin C, D and zinc levels, eat well, keep fit, don’t smoke or drink in excess, have mild symptoms or remain asymptomatic upon infection. According to NHS figures only 388 people under age 60 without an underlying condition have died in hospital from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic until now. That’s roughly one death per 100,000.

There is, therefore a good case for governments to use this opportunity to push a health message about eating well, keeping fit, losing weight, getting outdoors, supplementing vitamin D, C and zinc especially in high doses upon infection and otherwise letting these people get on with their lives. There is no problem in combining keeping people healthier with vaccination. Their health will be protected by infection, not just to one variant but all variants. Vaccines are very unlikely to do this and the science so far shows that current vaccines do not.

As I see it, there is really only a good case for lockdown and isolation for the vulnerable, especially when only 0.4% of those tested test positive. The so-called ‘R’ number, which is not a hard statistic but a valued judgement, seems to be hovering around or below 1.

Also, it is well established now that no-one except for the extremely vulnerable (above 85 and with end-stage disease) needs to die from COVID-19. It is virtually criminal to ignore the ‘best practice’, now practised by the FLCCC group of doctors, giving Ivermectin, vitamin C, D, and compounds known as ionopheres. which carry some nutrients into cells. Zinc, for example, needs the transport it can get from quercitin or hydroxychloroquine. The critically ill also get steroids and anticoagulants.

There should be no resistance to this at all. It is a no brainer and based on good science and clinical practice with no safety concerns. If anything needs to be mandated it is this yet, in reality, this is being fiercely resisted by the authorities, both here in the UK, where Ivermectin cannot be prescribed and intravenous C is not being made available due to ‘supply’ problems, let alone recommended, to ICU teams. No research on vitamin C has even started in the UK.

Should the young and healthy be vaccinated? We don’t know yet. There are good grounds to say that the idea that we can achieve ‘herd immunity’ by vaccinating everybody is an unrealistic pipedream, both because it’s never happened with flu, and because the vaccines are already showing only partial effectiveness, and you’d have to vaccinate all children, but there is no need to do so, and good grounds not to, from their health point of view.  Most are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms if infected. They are not ‘at risk’.

But, you might say, they could spread infection. This is unlikely. A study from China, tracking those infected and their social groups reports that an infected but asymptomatic person will infect 1 in 100 contacts and half of those infected will be asymptomatic. A symptomatically infected person will infect 4 out of 100, one of which will be asymptomatic. So 1 in 200 people exposed to an asymptomatically infected person will become symptomatic compared to 1 in 33 exposed to a symptomatic infected person. Most children, young adults and healthy people who become infected are either asymptomatic or mildly infected. They are not likely to super-spreaders.

Vaccinating everybody, then revaccinating with each new variant, then boosting antibody response annually, or six monthly, is a vaccine maker’s wet dream. Call me sceptical, but I’ve been around the block a few times and seen how a 73% reduction in brain shrinkage and cessation of memory decline with B vitamins and omega-3 for those with pre-dementia has been ignored; or how sugar as the driver or diabetes and obesity, as well as cancer and heart disease, has been resisted. These are but two examples of many I’ve covered over 40 books in over 40 years of investigation. My book Food is Better Medicine Than Drugs is all about this.

I happen to know that major big pharma companies realised several years ago that their main profit stream in the western world - 'blockbuster' drugs generating billions of dollars - was coming to an end, statins being the last cash cow. Hence, for example, the failed multi-billion dollar hunt for a dementia drug, and the massive suppression of B vitamins and omega-3s which substantially prevent Alzheimer's.

Many decided that their main profit stream from the western world would have to come from vaccines. If you think about it the best sales strategy for vaccines would be to sell them to governments, who then mandate or pressurise use, rather than having to sell to individuals and doctors, as per drugs. This is a business overview, not a medical science one. I'm not saying vaccines do or don't work, I'm just saying this is the business model, and here we are with the perfect sales opportunity - COVID-19 - but also the perfect opportunity to corrupt the system to pave the way for the future - an industry primarily profiting from vaccines.

Looked at in this way, it is absolutely vital that we fight to protect two fundamental freedoms: the right to choose our own medicine; and the right to live unmedicalised. If either of these lines get crossed for COVID-19 you can guarantee this will be used for the purposes of selling more and more vaccines down the line. That's why a seemingly small issue such as 'vaccine passports' is highly controversial and important.

But the much bigger issue, which needs urgent attention and clear thinking, with the elephant in the room clearly in sight and without vested interests suppressing inconvenient truths exposed by science, is what the effect of mass global vaccination might be and whether it is actually the right path to go down.

The alternative or complementary approach, which I favour, is to trust and learn how to strengthen one’s innate immunity. I am young enough (63) and healthy enough, and know what to do if infected, to not be unduly worried for myself. I am very mindful of first symptoms, self-isolate and know how to knock a cold or flu on its head fast. I’m a low risk for spreading infection, and mindful to wear a mask and/or keep my distance if meeting vulnerable or sick people.

I acknowledge a stronger case for vaccinating the elderly, and so far the results in terms of immune response and hospitalisation seem good. There are serious questions regarding adverse effects and some countries have alerted doctors to this in the frailest patients. Most older people, even when aware of potential risks albeit on not much evidence yet, have judged for themselves that the benefit outweighs the risk. But when there’s enough money at stake it’s very hard for the truth to come out.

Years ago I pointed out a fact, established by science and court rulings, that a small number of children develop autism-like symptoms after the MMR vaccine (a triple live attenuated measles, mumps and rubella vaccine). I got hung, drawn and quartered, and still am to an extent.

A decade later, when a whistleblower in the US Center for Disease Control showed that the CDC had found the same thing, but discarded a chunk of evidence, to obscure this finding, then had to republish their findings showing an increased rate of autism in black American children who’d had the MMR. My point is, with so much at stake, unbiased scientific debate, research and disclosure of evidence may be a bumpy ride. The truth, I hope, comes out at the end.

THE SECOND WAVE IS OVER - LATEST COVID STATS CONFIRMS

The second wave is over. Weekly numbers of both ICU admissions and deaths have been steadily dropping for the past 7 weeks, and are now at 239 admissions and 154 deaths last week. This is about where we were at in late September.

 ICCNARC Sept to March figutres

Weekly deaths within 28 days of a PCR test have also steadily dropped, now at 318 - same as at end of September. That’s one death in ever 200,000 people. The percent testing positive has hovered around 0.4% for the past three weeks, well below the 4-5% which is the guide for lockdowns so, according to WHO guidelines it's time to end the lockdown.

It's impossible to say how much of this is just the normal flu pattern, which coincides with the return of sun/vitamin D, lockdown or vaccines but it's good news either way. Viral infections also tend to burn out when they run out of susceptible people to infect given that healthy people who are asymptomatic are ineffective spreaders.

All this talk of vaccine passports, locking us in and others out, would seem to be mainly driven by lack of confidence in vaccines working against new variants, which kind of emphasizes the point that building up one's innate immunity with optimum nutrition, inc vit D and C, makes a lot of sense since this is how our immune system responds to any viral variant.


Wishing you the best of health,

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