(Mistakes were made.)
|Long before the coronavirus hit, Fauci and scientists who specialize in vaccine development knew flu shots hardly worked. They knew they needed a better vaccine to beat Sars-Cov-2.|
As Covid spread around the world in early 2020, they believed they had found one: jabs that had a completely different mechanism of action than influenza vaccines.
Flu shots are old-school “inactivated virus” vaccines. They contain actual influenza viruses grown in chicken eggs and treated with formaldehyde
so they cannot reproduce.
Fauci and his colleagues at Warp Speed, the federal program that developed the Covid shots, decided to focus on mRNA biotechnology to make a next-generation vaccine.
The Covid vaccines consist of a strand of genetic code - mRNA - that tells our cells to make a piece of the coronavirus called the spike protein, along with a tiny fat globe that encases the mRNA and helps bring it to our cells. (mRNA occurs naturally, but the mRNA in the vaccines has been subtly modified to make it easier to deliver to our cells and more potent when it arrives.)
In the most basic way, mRNA vaccines work.
That is, they make our cells produce huge amounts of the spike protein. They cause a powerful response with high levels of anti-spike protein antibodies, far more than our immune systems produce in response to an actual coronavirus infection. Fauci and other scientists hoped those antibodies would have a strong and lasting protective effect.
Only they didn’t.
As Ken Frazier, the then-chief executive of Merck, which is history’s most successful vaccine company but which rapidly ended its efforts at a coronavirus vaccine, warned in 2020
There are a lot of examples of vaccines in the past that have stimulated the immune system, but ultimately didn't confer protection.
Frazier was right.
We now have two years of real-world data on the mRNAs, based on billions of doses. Putting side effects aside, they work extremely well against Covid - for about four months after the second dose.
After that, their effectiveness rapidly wanes. It falls to zero against coronavirus infection and transmission within a few months. In fact, we have increasing evidence that it eventually turns negative - that vaccinated people are MORE likely to get Covid repeatedly than the unvaccinated.
(Mo’ doses, mo’ problems)
What about severe disease and death from Covid? Early on, the mRNAs prevent those too, because if you don’t get infected with the coronavirus, you can’t die from it.
What about after they stop working against infection? What about now? In truth, no one knows. Fauci and vaccine advocates will insist forever that the mRNAs retain some effectiveness against severe disease and death.
But their evidence comes almost entirely from epidemiological studies that compare the results in non-random groups of vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The problem is that these studies cannot be trusted because vaccinated people are healthier as a group than unvaccinated people (and the gap has likely increased with each booster).
This is exactly the same reason that influenza shots seem to work against pneumonia EVEN BEFORE PEOPLE RECEIVE THEM. Flu vaccines are a marker for health, not a driver of health.
At the same time, the coronavirus has mutated against the vaccines exactly as some immunologists predicted. It has changed its spike to defeat the mRNA-generated antibodies.
Worse, efforts to update the vaccine against the new Omicron variants do not work
, probably because the first generation vaccines leave such a powerful imprint on the immune system.
The upshot is that Covid vaccines, like flu vaccines, appear to be - at best - ineffective on a population basis.
Two years after mass mRNA vaccinations began, the wealthy countries that used them are still having mass Covid waves and significant deaths, mainly in the same very elderly people who have died from Covid all along. Poorer countries that used other vaccines are not reporting many Covid cases or deaths anymore, but whether that’s because they don’t have them or have just stopped counting is not clear.
So the Covid vaccines work mechanistically as promised. Only they don’t actually do any long-term good.
And Fauci and his co-authors know where to lay the blame. On the human immune system.
It’s not me (or my vaccines) - it’s you!
As the paper explains, we spend our lives breathing an almost infinite variety of threats:
Because humans inhale and ingest enormous quantities of exogenous proteins with every breath and mouthful, the respiratory and gastrointestinal immune compartments have evolved to deal with continual and massive antigenic assaults from the outside world.
Thus our immune systems have learned to make a distinction between relatively minor respiratory viruses like influenza and RSV - which have “a short duration of illness and a typically uncomplicated course” - and far more serious intruders like measles, which replicate systemically and can kill even young and healthy people.
The serious threats rouse the full complement of our immune defenses. And if we beat them, we end up with lifetime immunity. The minor viruses do not:
As a result, the non-systemically replicating respiratory viruses, apparently including SARS-CoV-2 tend to repeatedly re-infect people over their lifetimes without ever eliciting complete and durable protection.
Any virologist or immunologist will tell you that - in the words of Science magazine
For many infectious diseases, naturally acquired immunity is known to be more powerful than vaccine-induced immunity and it often lasts a lifetime.
But our immune systems aren’t trying to provide lifetime protection against the minor respiratory viruses. We’d rather live with them and the minor threats they represent, instead of blowing up our own bodies to defeat an infection that will likely last only a few days.
In Fauci’s words, we have made an
immunologic “Faustian bargain” between tolerance versus infection control [allowing] transient, moderated infection by respiratory agents of low or intermediate pathogenicity to restrain the destructive forces of an immune elimination response.
In other words, the natural human response to real coronaviruses is NOT long-lasting immunity. And vaccines are not as effective as real viruses in provoking an immune response. How, then, could a coronavirus vaccine provide such immunity?
Two years ago, the geniuses of virology and immunology thought they had the answer.
The mRNA Covid jabs were designed to overcome evolution and make us do something we had evolved NOT to do. They fooled our immune systems into a much more powerful response than it would otherwise have to Sars-Cov-2, producing supra-naturally high levels of IgG antibodies.
Those super-high antibody levels were supposed to be a feature, not a bug. They were the reason that the mRNAs suppressed infection.
But we now know that the body quickly returns those antibody levels to normal.
Worse, if we force them higher again with repeated booster shots, our immune system will respond by producing a kind of antibody normally seen primarily as a response to non-replicating allergens, not viruses.
In other words, our immune systems appear to respond very unfavorably in the long run to the provocation from the mRNAs.
The paper ends on a stunning note:
Past unsuccessful attempts to elicit solid protection against mucosal respiratory viruses and to control the deadly outbreaks and pandemics they cause have been a scientific and public health failure…
We are excited and invigorated that many investigators and collaborative groups are rethinking, from the ground up, all of our past assumptions and approaches to preventing important respiratory viral diseases and working to find bold new paths forward.
Past unsuccessful attempts?
From the ground up?
Fauci just helped spearhead the effort to push a new type of vaccine on the world. After only a few months of testing, the United States and other countries injected their citizens with more than 3 billion doses of mRNA.
Yet with these words, Fauci is admitting that effort has failed completely. He’s not excluding the mRNAs from “past unsuccessful attempts” that “have been a public health failure.” He’s not saying they can form the basis for “bold new paths.”
He’s washing his hands of them - and whatever the long-term consequences of their failed effort to rewire the immune system may be.
Tony Fauci is lucky.
It’ll be up to the rest of us to deal with what he’s done.