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May 6, 2024

Training is gaining!

Training is gaining! A glimmer of rational hope.

There is compelling scientific evidence indicating that mass vaccination against COVID-19 (C-19) has led to growing immune evasion of SARS-CoV-2 (SC-2) from infection- or vaccine-induced neutralizing anti-spike antibodies (Abs), along with an increasing incidence of immune pathology (https://bit.ly/3NYokkE). Immune evasion leads to vaccine breakthrough infections (VBTIs) and thereby prompts a phenomenon known as immune refocusing. As immune refocusing perpetuates the emergence of new variants that can escape immune responses in highly C-19 vaccinated populations, the impact of mass vaccination on the evolutionary dynamics of SC-2 virus is irreversible.

Although some protocols have been proposed to mitigate pathology caused by the prolonged and/ or excessive production of mRNA vaccine-induced spike (S) protein in the body of C-19 vaccinees (the so-called ‘detox’ therapies), there is currently no remedy to abolish the disastrous effects of viral immune evasion and associated immune dysregulation.

As a result of the mass vaccination program, adaptive immune responses to SC-2 in highly C-19 vaccinated populations has been dysregulated while their cell-mediated innate immunity (CII) remained largely unaffected, although its training is hindered by recurrent immune refocusing events (https://bit.ly/3NYokkE). This raises the legitimate question of whether it is still feasible to effectively train the CII of C-19 vaccinees sufficiently to enhance their first line of immune defense against a new betacoronavirus, which I predict to emerge soon in highly C-19 vaccinated populations.  Due to population-level immune pressure exerted by pre-existing, polyreactive nonneutralizing Abs (PNNAbs), such a new coronavirus (CoV) lineage might naturally evolve to evade PNNAb-mediated inhibition of viral intra-host ‘transmission’ to distant organs.

Here's why I think it's plausible that MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination could train CII, particularly focusing on Natural Killer (NK) cells, in individuals who failed to do so as a consequence of mRNA vaccination or VBTI: NK cells can recognize virus-infected or otherwise pathologically altered host cells by virtue of NCR (Natural Cytotoxicity Receptor)-mediated recognition of pathogen-derived self-mimicking peptides (PSMPs). As self-mimicking peptides of measles, mumps or CoV sensed by NK cells exhibit a high level of homology in their amino acid composition, it is reasonable to assume that NK cells trained by live attenuated measles or mumps viruses would also detect and eliminate CoV-infected host cells. On the other hand, administering live attenuated CoV vaccines to C-19 vaccinees wouldn't be effective because target host cells infected with live attenuated CoV would be promptly1 recognized and eliminated by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), which currently  play a  crucial role in the rapid elimination of  SC-2-infected cells  presenting the PSMP comprised within S2 in the context of MHC class I molecules (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19439480/). This scenario, however, does not apply to target host cells infected with live attenuated measles or mumps viruses as their PSMPs triggering NK cell activity are presented in the context of MHC class II molecules (PSMPs respectively containing amino acids 113 to 130 and amino acids 103 to 120 of the viral fusion protein).

1 i.e., at an early stage of viral infection

While MMR2 vaccination could potentially sufficiently train NK cells to substantially diminish the viral load of a newly emerging CoV, I am inclined to believe that preventing severe disease from such new CoV lineage would still necessitate complementary prophylaxis with a safe and effective antiviral drug. Furthermore, if a healthy C-19 vaccinee were to consider MMR vaccination, that person should undergo Ab testing several weeks after vaccination to ensure that seroconversion has occurred. For those who did not receive the MMR vaccine during their childhood vaccination regimen, a second injection four weeks after the first shot might be necessary to achieve seroconversion.

I am sharing my thoughts/ analysis for informational purposes only and not as medical advice. I am not a medical doctor, and even if I were, I would not provide medical advice solely based on immunological considerations. Nevertheless, considering the established safety of ivermectin, for example, and the live attenuated MMR vaccine, I believe it's worth considering my thoughts on how to prevent VBTIs upon future CoV exposure in C-19 vaccinees while also facilitating the training of their CII. However, others may prefer vaccination with the live attenuated BCG3 vaccine over MMR vaccination. There is compelling evidence suggesting that BCG vaccination can train the innate immune system (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7938189/; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35930640/). However, its use for protection against highly infectious CoVs would be largely empirical, as there is currently no immunomolecular evidence suggesting a cross-reactive NK cell response between CoVs and BCG, or for that matter, Mycobacterium tuberculosis4.

In conclusion, there exists scientific reasoning to suggest that combining an effective antiviral medication with immunization using approved live attenuated measles and/or mumps vaccines could offer a safe and promising strategy to protect C-19 vaccinees against a newly emerging coronavirus. This approach may help mitigate the risk of such new CoV overpowering the compromised adaptive immune system of C-19 vaccinees, thereby preventing or at least reducing viral virulence.

2 I did not (yet) verify the similarity in amino acid composition between the PSMPs from rubella virus and CoV. Hence, I am currently uncertain as to whether live attenuated rubella virus alone could adequately train NK cells in C-19 vaccinees to kill SC-2-infected cells at an early stage of infection.    
3 BCG stands for Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, which is a vaccine primarily used against tuberculosis.
4 Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the bacterium responsible for causing tuberculosis (TB) in humans. It is a highly contagious pathogen that primarily affects the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body.

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Geert Vanden Bossche received his DVM from the University of Ghent, Belgium, and his PhD degree in Virology from the University of Hohenheim, Germany. He held adjunct faculty appointments at universities in Belgium and Germany. After his career in Academia, Geert joined several vaccine companies (GSK Biologicals, Novartis Vaccines, Solvay Biologicals) to serve various roles in vaccine R&D as well as in late vaccine development.

Geert then moved on to join the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Discovery team in Seattle (USA) as Senior Program Officer; he then worked with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) in Geneva as Senior Ebola Program Manager. At GAVI he tracked efforts to develop an Ebola vaccine. He also represented GAVI in fora with other partners, including WHO, to review progress on the fight against Ebola and to build plans for global pandemic preparedness.

Back in 2015, Geert scrutinized and questioned the safety of the Ebola vaccine that was used in ring vaccination trials conducted by WHO in Guinea. His critical scientific analysis and report on the data published by WHO in the Lancet in 2015 was sent to all international health and regulatory authorities involved in the Ebola vaccination program. After working for GAVI, Geert joined the German Center for Infection Research in Cologne as Head of the Vaccine Development Office. He is at present primarily serving as a Biotech / Vaccine consultant while also conducting his own research on Natural Killer cell-based vaccines.

Email: info@voiceforscienceandsolidarity.org

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