September 24, 2022

VSS Scientific Updates During Pandemic Times #39

1.    Nature of Acquired Immune Responses, Epitope Specificity and Resultant Protection from SARS-CoV-2

From Geert: “Somebody else is voicing his concern about the miserable lack of knowledge on the critical interplay between the evolutionary dynamics of the virus and the ongoing changes in the population’s immune response.  A simple citation from the abstract speaks volumes! :’…. to ignore a substantial body of well-attested immunological research in favour of expediency is a poor way to proceed’. It’s just that I don’t like all this euphemism!!”

2.    Reevaluation of Antibody-Dependent Enhancement of Infection in Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Therapeutic Antibodies and mRNA-vaccine Antisera Using FcR- and ACE2-positive Cells

“Although sera collected from mRNA-vaccinated individuals exhibited neutralizing activity, some sera gradually exhibited dominance of ADE activity in a time-dependent manner. None of the sera examined exhibited neutralizing activity against infection with the Omicron strain. Rather, some ADE of Omicron infection was observed in some sera. These results suggest the possible emergence of adverse effects caused by these Abs in addition to the therapeutic or preventive effect.”

3.    Pre-exposure to mRNA-LNP Inhibits Adaptive Immune Responses and Alters Innate Immune Fitness in an Inheritable Fashion

“Interestingly, mice pre-exposed to mRNA-LNPs can pass down the acquired immune traits to their offspring.”

4.    Anti-Spike Mucosal IgA Protection against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Infection

From Geert: ‘It’s mind-blowing how researchers are exhausting their creativity in trying to make people believe that C-19 vaccines still provide an immunological advantage. Meanwhile, they are ‘discovering’ that mucosal IgA in triple-vaccinated individuals correlate with a lower rate of vaccine breakthrough infections with Omicron, suggesting that IgA have broadly neutralizing capacity! They conclude:

“Taken together, these findings suggest that wild-type SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific mucosal IgA is protective against omicron infection. Further studies are warranted to determine whether vaccines that induce a combination of mucosal and systemic immune responses would confer stronger protection than intramuscular vaccines.”

However, their observation can easily be explained by the higher avidity of the mucosal IgA, which is due to its multimeric structure (this has already been documented for Influenza virus: IgA and IgG). However, due to their higher avidity, mucosal Abs will rapidly lose their binding capacity when antibodies start to wane. Consequently, they’ll rapidly reach suboptimal titers and thereby put immune pressure on a much broader spectrum of SARS-CoV-variants. This is to say that C-19 vaccines targeting the induction of mucosal IgA are expected to even enhance immune escape when administered during a pandemic. Conclusion: Mucosal vaccines do not constitute a sound approach to fighting the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.’

5.    The Spanish Flu | DW Documentary

April 1918. As Europe plunged into WWI, an extremely virulent flu swept across every continent. Wrongly called ‘Spanish Flu,’ it raged for two years, causing the deaths of more than 50 million people before disappearing into oblivion. Where did the disease come from? How did it spread? What measures were put in place to restrain it? What lessons can we learn from this tragedy?

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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.


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