The “great common” of pandemics, as far back as the Black Death that wiped out one-third of Europe in 1347, is that science post-dates narratives — and those narratives create cognitive dissonance and “group think” driven by power figures of the day. The difference with COVID-19 is that it did not need to be that way: the science of COVID was known through experience with influenza and knowledge of compartmentalised mucosal immunology. The power of the pharmaceutical industry and its pervasive influence at every level of political and medical decision-making was underestimated.
Together with a political structure desperately needing a narrative, the world was powered by the belief that genetic vaccines would save the day. Anyone compromising vaccine roll-out had to be “cancelled” and demonised as well, just for good measure, irrespective of the quality of the person, their expertise or the logic of their argument. “False news” was a term used to ensure compliance with the vaccine narrative, supported by government, regulatory organisations, professional bodies, journals and individual health professionals. The world press fell into line to “combat the spread of harmful disinformation”. None could demonstrate their “belief” to be to fact, nor would they debate those who questioned the narrative. A comprehensive critique of censorship and suppression of argument opposing the narrative, Censorship and Suppression of COVID‑19 Heterodoxy: Tactics and Counter‑Tactics, places particular focus on bad behaviour by media organisations.
Two recent personal experiences illustrate the global abnegation by professionals upon whom we traditionally depend for scientific guidance.
First, I approached the Society for Mucosal Immunology (SMI), an international body for the study of immunity at mucosal surfaces, including viral infection of the respiratory tract, and the body best placed to educate in regard to the science of COVID-19 infection. I was one of six founders of the SMI, and the Asian-Pacific representative for many years. There was no response to the proposal that our society had a responsibility to provide leadership in understanding COVID, vaccination and management. No surprise, perhaps; the SMI “gold sponsor” was Pfizer.
Second, an approach to the College of Pathology (of which I was a Senior Fellow, a foundation Professor of Pathology, and past-Chairman of the College committee for undergraduate pathology education) emphasising the unique opportunity for an across-country study to determine whether COVID vaccination was responsible, or not responsible, for the spate of reports of an increase in unexplained deaths occurring in the Western world — excess death above expected background rates of death, where Australian excess deaths during 2021/22 are now exceeding 17 per cent. The College, I suggested, could use its network in Australia and New Zealand developed for quality-control programmes to coordinate a standardised protocol for a post-mortem study to answer what is arguably the most important question facing medicine. After two approaches there was a reply: take your question to the Therapeutic Goods Administration!
These examples are important, as they reflect the failure of professional bodies to support debate or science conflicting with a narrative that has enabled the persecution of health professionals questioning its validity.
Two basic truths were ignored or not understood. The first was that the natural history of COVID-19 as an infection of the respiratory tract was determined by the outcome of a host-parasite relationship (the interaction between the infecting virus and the immune response) involving the mucosal immune response. The second was that introduction of an experimental genetic vaccine to prevent an infection of a mucosal space was unnecessary, limited by the biology of the infection, and fraught with potential for unpredictable adverse events.
The muscosal immune response dictates the outcome of COVID-19 infection
Pandemic infection by a respiratory virus, be it influenza or a corona virus, occurs when mutation enables escape from the mucosal compartment to the gas-exchange apparatus of the lungs, where outcome is determined by the systemic immune response. That outcome reflects the balance of viral antigen and IgG antibody: “antigen excess” leads to viral pneumonia, while “antibody excess” (due to previous infection or vaccination) reduces severity of disease. Infection of the mucosal tissues induces profound immune suppression by “suppressor” T reg cells that dominate net immunity in both local and systemic tissues – a physiological mechanism to prevent a profound inflammatory response to the myriad of microbes colonising mucosal sites. This is the forgotten hallmark of mucosal immunology.
How should immunisation against COVID-19 infection be understood within this framework?
First, systemic vaccination (ie injected vaccines) will only stimulate systemic immunity (the IgG antibody system). It will protect against virus that has escaped the mucosal compartment but have essentially no impact on the mucosal site of primary infection.
Early clinical studies of COVID vaccines indicated little to no effect on preventing infection, but a reduction in more serious disease due to escape of virus into the gas-exchange apparatus. This has become less clear over time as the Delta sub-type virus the vaccines developed in 2020 failed to recognise the antigen variants inherent in the Omicron strain.
More importantly, repeated antigen dosing from vaccination, often in combination with intercurrent COVID infection, activates T reg cells, specifically suppressing immunity to COVID infection. This led to “reverse immunity” with more infections and more severe disease reported in multi-vaccinated subjects, so that COVID has now become a pandemic of the vaccinated.
Now vaccination has no significant effect on virus spread as it doesn’t stimulate mucosal immunity. Indeed the multi-vaccinated excrete virus for longer periods, due to the suppression effect discussed above. None of this should surprise, as “desensitisation” (multiple antigen shots for allergy subjects) effectively suppresses allergic reactions for about five years, via activation of the same T reg cells.
The implications for COVID are concerning, as protracted suppression of specific immunity through poorly spaced boosters predicts a predisposition towards more severe disease for a considerable time. Natural immunity from COVID infection is broader and more durable than that following vaccination, while immunisation post-infection adds to the risk of impaired immunity due to specific immune suppression.
Two issues follow. First, systemic immunity to any respiratory tract infection will be less effective and less durable than the protection to which we are accustomed from vaccines used to prevent systemic infection (such as measles), because of its tie to immune suppression. This fact has been neglected by those making vaccination decisions. Second, genetic vaccines are liable to dysregulation and unpredictable outcomes, as synthesis of spike protein (the antigen) is not localised, but present throughout the body, with spike protein manufacture lasting weeks to months. The amount of antigen and the dynamic of its production is uncontrolled, creating critical dose-response parameters that influence the net immune response, underpinned by reports of poor vaccine quality control with variations between lots. These factors promote net immune suppression.
The influenza vaccine model – imperfect though it may be — predicted all the above findings for genetic COVID vaccines: short duration, variable low level community protection (20-60%), but favouring protection against more severe disease. Experience led to annual pre-season influenza immunisation emphasising the critical importance of spaced vaccination, to avoid immune suppression.
Influenza vaccine history emphasises the myth and aura that has spread about the “innovative technology” of genetic vaccines: both mRNA and DNA vector vaccines have been ineffective in earlier limited human studies, with no evidence of advantage over antigen-based vaccines (including a recent study comparing a mRNA influenza vaccine with a split antigen vaccine); development of the COVID vaccine took twice as long to market compared to appropriate influenza antigen vaccines in earlier Influenza pandemics; and they incorporated untested delivery systems capable of dysregulating genetic information, that being the holy ground of human biology no vaccine should dare enter. Genetic vaccines were hoisted on the world at “warp speed” with no idea of their biologic impact, or the adverse event profile. They had great patents creating a huge commercial opportunity which converted into historic and extraordinary windfall profits. It’s as simple as that.
An important difference between influenza vaccination and genetic COVID vaccines is the observation that, following influenza vaccination, there is a 10% reduction in overall mortality in the vaccinated population. That compares with the finding of “increased community deaths of about 10%” across the COVID-19 vaccinated world – correlating with vaccination dynamics.
Clearly controversial, and of concern, is data correlating increased deaths with post-COVID severe adverse event reports from government reporting bodies. The have been more reports of severe adverse events for COVID vaccines than the combined total for all other vaccines over 20 years! Estimates of under-reporting severe adverse events at 40-fold are claimed.
The appearance of myocarditis as an example of a post-vaccine adverse event exemplifies the evolution of understanding. Initially, rare cases were reported in teenage boys. Recent prospective studies using troponin levels find 2-3% of mRNA vaccinations are followed by myocarditis in both women and men. The long-term impact of myocarditis is unknown, though three- to six-month follow-up studies suggest many have persistent damage, with scars from healed myocarditis suggested as the cause of an increase in sudden deaths in athletes. The finding of spike protein in tissue lesions associated with T cell infiltrates, identified in myocardial biopsies and in post-mortems following sudden unexpected deaths, suggest pathogenicity of the spike protein induced by COVID-19 vaccination as the probable difference between post-vaccination mortality experiences reported with influenza and COVID vaccines.
These short-term adverse events following genetic vaccines have led to ratios being calculated showing significantly more deaths following genetic vaccines than lives saved from COVID by vaccination. These ratios are higher in children who rarely develop severe disease. Longer-term disease possibilities that must be investigated further include integration of spike protein genetic coding into DNA, and prion sequences within spike protein that may cause amyloid deposition in neural tissue.
The message of potential damage, reduced protection, and need to rationalise immunisation strategies is slowly learnt. Denmark has stopped routine vaccination in those under 50, and mandates are quietly being dropped.
Replacing a narrative driven by commercial interests with science is surprisingly difficult. But it must happen.
Review of existing data for both efficacy and safety of genetic vaccines by professional organisations, mainline journals and the media has been a “no-go” area. Denial and ignorance fall in line with a narrative, with those who ask questions excluded from participation in the discussion by methods which have ranged from accusations that the offenders are “anti-vaxers” to the de-registration of health professionals. Recently, recognition of limitations and concerns with respect to genetic vaccines and the consequent failures to impact public health policies has begun to seep into the mainstream press.
Calls have been made for drawing a line under earlier decisions irrespective of how wrong they were based on “the uncertainty at the time”. The point of this essay is that there should have been very little uncertainty at the time.
The immunologic framework was known, the influenza vaccine model had been studied since the 1940’s, and concerning data not released by the pharmaceutical companies was available through the FDA and review by Prof Peter Doshi in the British Medical Journal. Red flags were all over the use of completely untested genetic vaccines. These “certainties” were reviewed with outcomes predicted, in a Quadrant– Online article as early as January 17, 2021: COVID-19: A realistic approach to community management.
Under camouflage of a pandemic, a different form of medical care was imposed on Western society. This in a manner outside of all the honed and traditional norms of clinical practise: the rule of science, and the doctor-patient relationship based on informed consent.
Numerous legal challenges current across the Western world may be the only way to bring clarity and sense to the table, with reversion to a tested pattern of safe, science-based medical practise, based on the relationship between doctor and patient that evolved from the time of Louis Pasteur.
Robert Clancy is Emeritus Professor of Pathology at the University of Newcastle Medical School. He is a member of the Australian Academy of Science’s COVID-19 Expert Database. He has also written on aspects of the COVID pandemic in Quadrant‘s July-August and October issues