Immune escape – Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche explained
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." (Marcus Aurelius)
Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche’s bombastic claims
In this post we will dissect the scary theories of Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche about virus immune escape. And specifically, his claims that mass vaccinations will potentially help develop immune escape variants of SARS-CoV-2 and why this could be very dangerous to everybody. By immune escape, we mean a virus that has mutated to be able to be completely unaffected by the antibodies meant to stop it from working. Basically, the mutations impact the ability of the antibodies to either bind the virus or be able to prevent it from infecting cells, even if they are bound to the virus.
We came across his information few months back and we already discussed it in one of the videos dedicated to mRNA vaccines content.
Dr. Bossche has faced huge criticism for his opinions. Furthermore, it appears that not a single scientist has lent a voice of support for his claims. So why are we even presenting it?
Because when we checked his narrative, we found it fascinating, even if disturbingly morbid. We dove into his story and decided to present it because it is so vastly different - it reads like some twisted plot of a world gone mad, and… it seems to ever so cleverly find answers for many of those head-scratching questions you might have had about the pandemic. Right or wrong, it is definitely absorbing.
Thus, before we continue, a disclaimer.
First, we do not know if his information is actually true or not and as such we focussed on presenting the story, not on confirming its scientific accuracy (which we would not be able to do anyway). There is still much more research of supporting scientific evidence to be studied (provided by Dr. Bossche in his essays) but that does not change the fact that the purpose of this article is to present the thesis of Dr. Bossche’s argument about why the current mass vaccination is dangerous for promoting virus immune escape.
Second, if you are easily anxious and you are vaccinated, consider not reading this article at all. We are not interested in spreading fear among people, and we restate that we do not even know if this thesis is true.
Third, this is not to promote hesitancy towards vaccination, as the dangers of immune escape apply to absolutely everyone whether you are vaccinated or not, and we already find ourselves in the context of highly vaccinated society where Dr. Bossche now claims immune escape is unlikely to be prevented.
In other words, this could be a scary story for anyone reading it, so proceed with care.
And finally, we also mention at the end how this entire narrative could fall apart.
We are presenting this story because we find it engaging in a similar fashion to how we found the Maojing miners’ story fascinating and how the Wuhan Institute of Virology might have obtained SARS-CoV-2 samples many years ago - a story that someone else fancifully laid out. For now, this story is just a hypothesis, and not embraced by any other experts. This is why we think it is safe to present it. Plus, it is very provocative!
One key reason why this chilling story is alluring is because it provides a rational narrative to some questions that are simply not well clarified in general. Such as how did new virus strains so suddenly emerge? Why are they now taking over the world? Why did the infections shift to younger people, including children, who previously were nearly immune to COVID-19? What drives the different waves of infection that we are seeing in this pandemic? How is the infection cleared in asymptomatic people? Why can some people be reinfected and end up with more severe disease than first time around? And perhaps most relevant at the moment: why are we seeing these massive spikes in infection in some of the most highly vaccinated populations? Why are waves of deaths and hospitalizations suddenly decoupling from infection waves that we are currently seeing in highly vaccinated countries? Why are we suddenly talking about the need for booster shots for vaccinated people? And finally, what is virus immune escape and why this could be so dangerous in our ability to control this pandemic?
If you find these questions intriguing (and you either have nerves of steel or you just don’t give a damn and want a good story) then this article should be very interesting to you. At the very the least, you can consider reading this document to see how carefully laid out this thesis of Dr. Bossche’s is for driving a superbly convincing argument (assuming that you are not an expert in immunology that can take this apart. We could not find plot holes, and we normally enjoy finding them).
However, we actually found Dr. Bossche very difficult to follow because of so many pieces crucial to the story in order to properly grasp it. Without a background in immunology, it can be hard to follow especially since he introduces many new concepts that are not at all common knowledge even among the top science experts (according to his claims). The complexity of this story is underscored by how long this article has become in our attempt to explain it in detail. Despite the censorship and unpopularity of his message due to his contrarian views with regards to how we are handling this pandemic, Dr. Bossche appears to be slowly gaining a wider audience who want to at least hear what he is warning about, and we wanted to help reiterate his story in a different format.
Below is a summary of everything we learned from deep analysis of Dr. Bossche’s website, including all his posted articles and interviews. It took a tremendous effort to grasp his message, especially with the intricacies of what constitutes a natural pandemic, and keep in mind this interpretation of his message could also be wrong, as we discovered he was almost always misunderstood by his many critics.
Let’s get started.
Immune system background
Immune pressure versus infectious pressure
We need to commence with some information on immune system terms. Two terms that Dr. Bossche fondly uses are infectious pressure and immune pressure. Infectious pressure is any event that promotes the spread of a virus between individuals. Some examples are mass gatherings or overcrowded living conditions that promote much closer contact between people and this might involve infected individuals spreading the disease. Infectious pressure can also include new mutations in a virus that enhance its ability to more easily infect people or cause the infection to last longer.
This can be contrasted with immune pressure which is any event that reduces viral spread between individuals. This can include human intervention such as infection control measures like lockdowns, or vaccinations to boost immunity to fend off a virus from successfully infecting people. It can also be due to building immunity against the virus in a large number of hosts either due to vaccination or past natural infection.
Infectious pressure is in constant battle with the immune pressure. Viruses thrive (in a population) when there is a high infectious pressure. Viruses are under attack though when exposed to high immune pressure. So when infectious pressure is high and immune pressure is low, a wave of disease breaks out in a population. Conditions of high infectious pressure typically do not promote selection of mutant new strains to emerge in a population. When immune pressure is high and infectious pressure is low, the population will appear largely unaffected but such conditions can promote the emergence of new mutant strains when they develop a selective advantage to find new hosts (and therefore escape the immune pressure and start increasing infectious pressure again).
Induced immunity versus innate immunity
There are two types of immune systems that work on different concepts, with the names providing a hint of their origins. Let’s start with induced immunity as most people by now will be exposed to this concept, as vaccines stimulate this type of immune response.
Induced immunity is when your immune system is triggered into existence due to an encounter with a specific pathogen. As a consequence of this, your body activates immune responses that are trained to recognize and eliminate that same specific pathogen. Because the induced immune system has to first be trained to specifically recognize the pathogen and subsequently mount a response, induced immunity takes time to develop, but once in place it is very powerful.
Innate immunity on the other hand does not recognize specific motifs of pathogens. Rather, innate immunity is built on a concept that recognizes the overall patterns of molecules that are decorating either our own cells or those of pathogens. This type of immunity is therefore very broad, and is used against any pathogens that might be invading our system, as opposed to a very specific pathogen that is recognized by specifically triggered induced immunity. Although you can induce innate immunity to some degree by continuous exposure to pathogens (a form of training your innate immunity to be especially responsive against specific pathogens), overall, innate immunity is a wholesale protection system and because it is always present, it is the first line of defense against pathogens. This is very important distinction, because the big premise of Dr. Bossche’s education is that it is the innate immunity that primarily takes care of the bulk of all of our infections, and why prior to the emergence of new strains of SARS-CoV-2, the vast majority of the population was very well protected against SARS-CoV-2 in this fashion. Because the innate immunity wanes over time, the older the individual, the weaker the innate immunity, and why the oldest people, or immunocompromised individuals were primarily under the threat of this coronavirus. Children on the other hand, who have extremely strong innate immunity, especially well trained against coronaviruses due to the exposure to common colds, were practically invincible against the original SARS-CoV-2.
Dr. Bossche claims that the understanding of innate immunity is lacking amongst professionals to such degree that this is partially reflected by the continuous claims in scientific publications of how mysterious the immunopathology of the disease is, whereas he claims it is not, if innate immunity is considered as an influencing factor in disease management.
To his point, the primary attraction of exploring Dr. Bossche’s statements is the opportunity to learn so much about the innate immunity. What is also fascinating is that his layout so far seems to easily match what we have been observing with this pandemic. And he offers possible predictions of future outcomes that we can measure against.
Humoral immunity versus cell-mediated immunity
Whether we are talking about innate immunity or induced immunity, both of these can be further subdivided into their own categories of humoral immunity and cellular immunity. The basic distinction is that humoral immunity comprises the immune system that is responsible for the production of antibodies, whether they are innate or induced by exposure to a pathogen, whereas cellular immunity refers to the arm of the immune system that involves cells that will either destroy the virus directly or destroy the cells in our body that have been infected by the pathogen. Antibodies can prevent a virus entry into our cells, or mark a virus for easy recognition and destruction, whereas cellular immunity does the clean up.
In the induced adaptive humoral immunity, the immune system responds by production of very specific antibodies that match very specific region of any of the virus proteins (these are called antigens). There are many types of antibodies of adaptive immunity, but the antibodies that are released to go and target virus antigens are called the IgG antibodies.
This can be contrasted by the innate humoral immunity which consists of IgM antibodies.
Adaptive cell-mediated immunity is complex and one of its main stars is the T-cells. T-cell immunity according to Dr. Bossche do not play a role in protection against the virus infection as that is not the role of cytotoxic T-cells. Rather, cytotoxic T-cells protect against the COVID-19 disease development instead because the cytotoxic T-cells kill already infected cells in the body. Dr. Bossche claims that currently none of the vaccines have been shown to induce T-cells that can destroy virus infected cells and that is to be expected because these COVID-19 vaccines do not work as many regular vaccines with a live but weakened virus (attenuated live viruses) which induce much broader immune responses. Our currently employed mRNA and DNA vaccines just provide instructions to produce one of the main viral proteins, namely the spike protein. We could have considered the option of using attenuated virus as a vaccine to start with but now it is too late as once the population has already been vaccinated and induced their adaptive immunity, we primed our bodies to respond in this one particular way. Use of attenuated vaccines after will no longer have same impact.
Naturally infected hosts however will have protective T-cell immunity. It can also be pointed out that even when cellular immunity is induced, either due to natural infection or due to use of vaccines with live attenuated virus, it cannot be universally achieved as the success of T-cell induction is very dependent on the genetic background of the host that governs how the virus antigens are presented to trigger a response from T-cells. These antigens are presented by MHC class I receptors (also referred to as HLA class I receptors in humans) , and your genetics can influence how well these receptors will work with any given pathogen. The good news is that for those who are not compromised by the genetic background influencing the quality of MHC class I antigen presenting receptors, the antigens these MHC class I receptors present are typically going to induce T-cells against broad array of viral strains because such antigens can include very conserved elements of virus proteins that are never allowed to mutate between strains (to preserve some highly important functionality of virus proteins). Basically cell-mediated immunity is the most powerful way to most efficiently combat infection.
However, even if current vaccines do promote adaptive cellular immunity, because of the fact that typically this arm of the immune system gets activated after infection inside the body is more rampant, it is going to be too late and therefore a non-factor in the context of stopping virus immune escape because many of the spreaders of the virus in our society will not be people with disease but asymptomatic spreaders.
To make things bit more confusing, there are also T-cells that are involved in the humoral immunity, and these are helper T-cells. Helper T-cells are needed in activating the B-cells to start producing the antibodies. Thus, this distinction between the different type of T-cells involved has to be noted. These are independent players from the cytotoxic T-cells.
As mentioned, innate immunity also has its cell-mediated component. One of its main engines are the natural killer cells, or the NK cells. According to Dr. Bossche, these are pivotal in innate immunity helping to clear infections. NK cells are like innate antibodies, they are good to act on infected cells right from the start. But they can also be influenced what to recognize. In this scenario, IgM antibodies first have to coat the virus which can then signal specific cells called the dendritic cells to uptake that virus. Once inside these dendritic cells, the virus is destroyed and virus antigens are presented on the surface of the dendritic cells. These antigens then trigger NK cells to recognize such kill infected cells to effectively and rapidly clear the infection because all the players in this immune arm are always present. Thus, the powers behind the innate immunity are the non-specific antibodies and NK cells that together provide the protection from infection.
Types of people participating in the current pandemic saga
This is where we all started from at the beginning of the pandemic (it can also be referred to as naïve or seronegative). As time goes on, to remain in this group means the individuals had to chose not to be vaccinated due to personal reasons and be lucky enough to remain uninfected by SARS-CoV-2. Currently there might not be an easy way to confirm if a person was never infected as our present method of confirming past infection is with detection of antibodies mounted against the virus. However, as you will see below, such antibodies might be transient in asymptomatically infected people and therefore eventually undetectable. Therefore, there might not even be a way to distinguish those who have never been infected from those who were only mildly affected. Currently, due to the mass scale of the vaccination program and the emergence of more infectious variants, this group is expected to be constantly shrinking.
Vaccinated and uninfected
This group can be further subdivided into partially vaccinated (received only one vaccine dose of the expected two vaccine doses) or fully vaccinated (received two vaccine doses which are expected to mount full immune protection against SARS-CoV-2). Vaccination induces antigen-specific antibodies, and the second dose promotes production of greater amount of these antibodies.
Asymptomatic naturally infected
One of the unusual features of this coronavirus that was not seen previously with other coronaviruses affecting people is that this virus can spread between people asymptomatically, meaning obvious disease symptoms do not have to develop for a person to be infected and then transmit the virus to another person.
Asymptomatically infected individuals are characterised by either complete lack of symptoms or very mild symptoms.
From an immunological point of view, asymptomatic individuals naturally infected by SARS-CoV-2 do not induce memory B-cells, meaning the antibodies produced by their B-cells are only temporary and short lived, and disappear in a span of 6-8 weeks. This is a key distinction from antibodies produced in vaccinated people and will be a key component of this story.
Once again, these individuals will not display symptoms or will display very mild symptoms. However, from an immunological point of view, due to vaccination, these individuals will have induced memory B-cells and will produce vaccinal antibodies that are expected to be long lived. Any vaccinated individuals who do get infected can also be referred to as breakthrough cases.
COVID-19 naturally infected
These are individuals who were infected prior to public mass vaccination program and developed COVID-19 symptoms (whether needing hospitalization or not, depending on the severity of the disease symptoms). From immunological point of view, these individuals will have induced memory B-cells as a result of the disease and will produce naturally induced antibodies that are expected to be long lived, just like people who are vaccinated. However, such individuals would also have strong protective T-cell immunity induced as a consequence of the disease.
Furthermore, this group can be subdivided into unvaccinated versus vaccinated based on their personal decision.
Virus participants in the current pandemic saga
Original SARS-CoV-2 strain
This is the original strain that has spread from Wuhan, China to the rest of the world and which started the pandemic at the end of 2019. This variant was characterized by rather mild outcomes compared to later variants and any variants yet to emerge, with a vast majority of infected people being largely unburdened.
New more infectious variants
These are the strains that have started to emerge in the last quarter of 2020, prior to the mass vaccination roll-out around the world. Their emergence is somewhat of a mystery and not widely discussed as a consequence. Dr. Bossche contends that these variants emerged as a result of introducing artificial immune pressure on the natural progression of a pandemic, in this case inappropriately executed lockdowns (definitely not a popular mantra to be spouting). An additional contributing factor is overcrowding which could allow a rapid establishment of a new dominant strain due to an excessive promotion of infection.
The recent emergence of so many variants is unprecedented and the dynamics of their emergence not understood. Furthermore, these variants have similar mutations indicating convergent evolution, indicating that under pressure the virus was mutating towards a specific outcome to overcome immune pressure.
Future immune escape variants
This is the main warning of Dr. Bossche and main point behind this article. These are the variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus that will have mutations allowing the virus to completely be no longer recognized and bound by the antibodies produced by the current mass vaccination programs.
Antibodies participants in the current pandemic saga
Innate non-specific antibodies
Dr. Bossche also calls these natural antibodies but we will stick to innate antibodies to avoid confusion with other descriptions (below) and to help you recall that these are part of the innate immunity. Innate antibodies are antibodies that are always present, available since birth, and are not specific against any particular pathogen, but rather general enough to be able to attack many different pathogens through recognizing common motifs found on foreign invader cells. According to Dr. Bossche, these in fact are the main heroes behind providing protection from pathogen infection. Unfortunately, as we age, or fight with different diseases, these tend to wane, resulting in weaker and weaker natural immunity over time.
Naturally induced antibodies
These are antibodies that are induced due to infection by a specific pathogen and therefore are explicit to recognize that specific pathogen that caused the infection. The power and duration of existence of these antibodies can be dependent on the severity of the disease experienced as an outcome of infection.
Because induced antibodies are specific against the pathogen that induced the production of these antibodies, these antibodies will be able to outcompete innate antibodies for binding of the pathogen. They will even be able to outcompete innate antibodies even if the induced antibodies are actually not that strong and might not even provide protection from infection. That is how much different the binding strength of induced antibodies that bind specific portion of the pathogen can be over the innate antibodies. Innate antibodies always lose out to induced antibodies!
These are also induced antibodies but rather than being induced by infectious pathogen that invaded your body, they are induced by a vaccine. They can have very long longevity.
Natural pandemic course
Here we will finally start laying out some of the major components towards understanding why vaccination might be leading to emergence of dangerous strains. It is by the proper understanding of how a pandemic works within the context of both the innate and adaptive (induced) immunities that is the guide to how the current pandemic should have been handled according to Dr. Bossche.
A natural pandemic is usually characterized by three waves. The first wave is the easiest to understand, as the pathogen enters a community where no one has protective antibodies induced by the disease, just their innate immunity antibodies. Therefore, the first victims of the first wave are all the people with a very weak innate immunity. These include the elderly, people with underlying health problems, or otherwise immunocompromised individuals. This was very obvious in the course of the current pandemic. The consequences of the first wave were that the vulnerable people developed the disease and either died, or survived and developed protective immunity, while all the other people who were not too vulnerable got infected and easily got rid of the infection with their innate immunity.
The second wave then moves onto the younger population resulting in a much bigger wave. This time people that previously were able to withstand the infection thanks to their innate immunity start to become victims of the pandemic in increasing number. We have seen this with the current pandemic where young adults originally were basically invincible to SARS-CoV-2 and as the pandemic continued on, more younger people fell victim to the disease. This is where Dr. Bossche warns it is the gross misunderstanding of the natural course of pandemics that is leading to current misjudgments of how the pandemic should be managed. This second wave is a lot harder to understand. Here is the crux of why we are utterly misunderstanding the natural role the of immune system in fighting pandemics.
The second wave is basically elicited by the fact that people that were previously protected by their innate immunity are reinfected. However, remember that even though your innate immunity protects you from infection, you still develop short-lived, infection induced antibodies. And recall that these antibodies will outcompete innate antibodies for binding the virus. So, if you happen to be reinfected in that time window where you still have short lived induced antibodies due to your last infection, your innate immunity is supressed and it can no longer protect you. Then it comes down to protection from those induced antibodies, and they might not be that good because you actually didn’t develop a disease in the first round of infection (basically for most people the infection was so mild it is perceived as asymptomatic). Thus those are some seriously suboptimal antibodies that you cannot really count on to protect you either. Eventually more and more people get reinfected in the moment when they still bear the burden of suboptimal short-lived antibodies from the first infection, and as long as they have these suboptimal antibodies (in terms of their quality to actually eradicate the infection), they will fall victim to the fact that these same suboptimal antibodies actually supress their innate immunity. And while the innate immunity is supressed, there is the risk of actually developing the disease from the infection.
Here is the super complicated part to grasp and why people miss this coming twist. You could wonder, what is the point of having such a lousy reaction to the first infection - that it only elicits suboptimal antibodies allowing further infection and a threat of disease? This is very good question! But this is actually an outcome of thousands of years of our co-evolution along with pathogens to protect a population from the infection by being able to develop herd immunity that will eventually subdue the pathogen. This is a system we have evolved in order to protect ourselves from pathogens wiping us out. And it is not at first very intuitive to grasp (provided Dr. Bossche’s story is correct, or that we even understood it correctly).
By having an immune system response that in fact allows virus infection to shift to greater population (including younger people), this allows reduction of the immune pressure on the virus enough so that in the process new and more dangerous strains do not emerge. As a consequence, we pay the price on some individual level (including with life) but the population is spared the burden of emergence of even more dangerous viral strains. Thus, according to Dr. Bossche, natural pandemics are typically not accompanied by emergence of new strains.
This is because if the virus faces no opposition in its ability to infect people in the population, there is no environmental pressure for selection of any particular strain over any other, and any new mutant strains that might randomly show up (as they do at all times) will simply get lost in the sea of the already dominant strain that started the infection. Put in other words, if nothing is killing off the competitor of a new strain, that new strain will have a hard time to become dominant. If selective pressure is applied where competing strains start disappearing, a new mutant strain can emerge and be dominant. So, it appears this unusual process with regards to our immunity being temporarily compromised has evolved in order to protect the population from serious infectious threat while at the same time allowing, in essence, the weeding out of the weakest members of the population (from an immunological stand point).
So how is this safe environment from an emerging new virus strains achieved?
This is going to blow your mind (we say that a lot at this blog).
Remember, that this second wave starts with people who got protected in the first wave and happened to be reinfected? And as a consequence of the first infection, they eventually build suboptimal quality antibodies? The crazy part is that these suboptimal antibodies in fact show up after they already clear the infection with their innate immunity! Therefore, these suboptimal antibodies do not serve any purpose in individual protection from infection. Rather, they do the exact opposite! These antibodies serve to promote reinfection which as a consequence helps to protect the population! Yes, totally wild but bear with us!
This is because if they got reinfected when still presenting suboptimal antibody response as a consequence of the first infection, these induced antibodies actually play a role to promote further infection by inhibiting the innate immunity that would otherwise eliminate this infection (and put undue immune pressure too early hence promoting the emergence of new strains). Statistically this is bound to happen in a pandemic - that re-infection of people will occur in this short time window. Such reinfected people can then spread disease to similar individuals. This way the virus always has enough people to infect to avoid selection of new strains. But along the way, due to the outcome of developing and surviving the disease, we are constantly building herd immunity.
So how do new strains arrive?
Ironically, the same people who participate in this process due to the interplay between temporarily induced suboptimal immunity and the innate immunity to allow enough virus infection spread to prevent selection of new strains, are also the same hosts that are most likely to generate a new mutant strain if the virus infection spread is suddenly going to be limited. It is in the individuals with suboptimal antibody response that conditions provide that immunological pressure right in their body, for the virus that is still under some antibody attack to mutate so that it can bypass this attack from antibodies and continue to thrive.
Thus, the same people who are causing the second wave of natural pandemic, are the same people that need to exist for herd immunity to be established and are also the same people who can drive the development of new strains (if things are shifted out of balance and the virus cannot spread properly). Or it could be anyone for that matter with suboptimal antibodies to prevent the virus’s infection (including those people who are otherwise immunocompromised individuals or get vaccinated during a pandemic and still get successfully infected).
New strains arrive when this delicate balance is thrown out of tune and the virus feels pressure to its survival, allowing new mutants to better survive if they still have plenty of hosts available to find and become dominant. That imbalance is caused if the infectious pressure of the virus is low enough, meaning the virus is in a state where it cannot easily spread among available hosts. This could actually still occur naturally too – in essence, once you really start running low of hosts with compromised innate immunity, the infection pressure of the virus will be very low and the virus has to find a way out of it. But lockdowns are a perfect example of how viral infectious pressure can be driven to low levels to provide grounds for natural selection of more advantageous strains to emerge to enhance the virus’s infectious pressure (ability of the virus to more effortlessly spread by finding newly available hosts again), and this is just what Dr. Bossche believes has happened during this pandemic.
The third wave is then started by the group of people who just in time stopped producing suboptimal antibodies from their previous infection and became readily available for another round of infection (or if a new variant did pop up, it could trigger this wave). Along the way the pandemic transitions into a state where herd immunity is finally reached and the virus becomes endemic (running in the background but without any further ability to actually cause major wave of morbidity or mortality). Herd immunity is a balanced state of enough people who have survived the actual disease caused by the virus (and therefore such people developed very strong adaptive immune protection, including cellular immunity allowing for wholesale clearance of the infection) and people who retain very good quality innate immunity (who rapidly clear the virus with their innate immunity). Once a certain number of such individuals exist, their numbers will even protect any of the vulnerable people that could still be at high risk of developing the disease (such as older individuals whose innate immunity waned). Along the way, the virus is subdued and without the development of further dangerous strains. Those with innate immunity could still be reinfected, but there no longer are sufficient numbers of people to continue the spread in such way because at this point there are too many people who can effectively clear the virus and so the chances of having high enough number of people susceptible to infection and disease development has become too low. The virus can travel in the background by asymptomatically reinfecting but it no longer has enough available hosts for new strains to re-emerge and take over the population. It’s too late because there is not enough of a suboptimal environment for a new strain to take a foothold. It really comes down to the right balance of things.
If this is accurate, then this is an evolutionary twist at its finest!
Prophylactic vaccines use
This is a final backgrounder before we can explain how Dr. Bossche thinks immune escape will take place. First, let’s define a sterilizing vaccine, as a vaccine that prevents a virus infection. Current COVID-19 vaccines do not prevent virus infections although they appear to dramatically reduce transmission between people, meaning current COVID-19 vaccines are not sterilizing vaccines.
Non-sterilizing vaccines, also called leaky vaccines, should only be used prophylactically prior to an outbreak of infection. In this way masses are inoculated to respond with antibodies when the virus attempts to break out in a population, and the virus will hopefully meet an effective enough resistance that it simply cannot find enough hosts to propagate. Not having enough hosts to spread through also means no good opportunity for a new strain to emerge that could bypass the effects of vaccination. Furthermore, this strategy is also dependent on having the right vaccine against the correct virus strain that is actually in the wild.
This is in very stark contrast to what we are currently doing with our mass vaccination. We are using non-sterilizing vaccines in a midst of a pandemic!
Now, if non-sterilizing vaccines are used non-prophylactically incorrectly during the midst of infection like we are using them right now, it should follow from Dr Bossche’s theory that in the middle of this heavy infectious pressure from the virus, where a large bulk of the society is already infected with the virus and can spread it to others at all times, you provide a massive opportunity for a virus to be exposed to so many people at the same time with that incomplete ability to kill the infection and the virus, that instead of stopping the spread of infection, vaccination actually increases the chance of the virus to mutate instead to new strains (we’ll get to just how next). So, this is immune escape in action.
More so, the danger intensifies as this is the first time in human history that such an event is taking place - where mass interventions during a pandemic are taking place, including the use of lockdowns and a mass vaccination program. Hence the final consequences are not known, yet. We are hoping for certain consequences, but history has yet to be written on these results.
The dire warning is that because these vaccines do not provide cellular immunity that can protect against infection (non-sterilizing), means that herd immunity through vaccination with such vaccines cannot ever be reached! The best chance for that would be through use of vaccines with live attenuated virus which would have promoted such cellular immunity. In other words, only those who have been naturally infected and developed COVID-19 disease and survived have such cellular immunity. Now that we removed the vast majority of the society from having effective innate immunity through mass vaccination with leaky vaccines, herd immunity is no longer possible.
Dr. Bossche thinks the consequences of this will not just be dire, they will be extremely dire. He worries that if immune escape takes place that allows the virus to bypass the vaccines, there will be mass deaths because natural protection has been removed as a consequence of the mass vaccinations.
Dr. Bossche thesis
The biggest contentious statements that come from Dr. Bossche: The biggest threat we currently face is virus immune escape!
Vaccinating with vaccines that do not completely stop a virus infection during a pandemic can be very dangerous.
Innate immunity is the primary immune system involved in fighting infection.
The focus of our efforts in fighting this pandemic should be on preservation of the innate natural immunity.
Inappropriate suppression of innate immunity increases the likelihood of emergence of new strains.
The importance of innate immunity is grossly underappreciated in the scientific world in general.
The only way to fix the outcome of this mistake is to build a sterilizing vaccine (a vaccine that prevents the virus’s infection) or maybe through antiviral treatments.
Most controversial, and one for which we suspect he is most censored for: he feels certain that new strains will emerge that will be able to bypass current vaccines’ antibodies entirely, and our policy error will finally become evident to everybody when morbidity and mortality of vaccinated people start to rise far above those of unvaccinated.
Well, with that viewpoint, you can imagine why this guy is not too welcome at many parties!
This is obviously the scariest part of this entire story.
Those are the main pillars of Dr. Bossche’s story on which he is currently hanging his remarkable career in vaccinology; he is actually one of the few experts with experience in vaccine development and vaccine use in a population setting.
Another vital factor to the current problem with mass vaccination during an ongoing pandemic is the fact that SARS-CoV-2 can be spread asymptomatically. This makes it very difficult to actually be able identify and isolate people who can continue promoting the spread of this viral infection. It really limits the ability of preventing the spread of infection. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 is a highly mutable virus with a very fast life cycle where it can duplicate in mere 10-12 hrs and can produce copious amounts of itself in an infected individual.
This means that if we are attacking the virus in an attempt to eradicate it with such a (non-sterilizing and therefore compromised) program of mass vaccination, we better make sure we can really eradicate it, otherwise such an attempt will actually seed the conditions to drive the virus to rapidly evolve to new strains that will be able to not only withstand such immune pressure, but in worst-case scenario, completely bypass it. Unfortunately, the vaccines currently used for mass vaccination actually do not stop transmission and infection. They might greatly reduce it, but they do not stop it, and therefore we are literally inoculating billions of people with such leaky vaccines. This is a problem because we are literally ending up with millions upon millions of people who will be infected with SARS-CoV-2 and expose the virus to conditions where the virus is inefficiently attacked by antibodies, thus allowing the virus to continue to exist and replicate and mutate to generate new forms to bypass such immune pressure. Put another way, mass vaccination with vaccines that are not fully effective during a pandemic where so many people still run the risk of being infected (especially since we often cannot identify the person who is infected as they are potentially completely asymptomatic) is bound to result in the development of viral strains that will be able to completely resist these vaccines.
The reason why this is such a serious problem is because vaccination at the same time also results in very long-term induced immunity, where our bodies are trained to produce highly specific antibodies against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. If such antibodies are bypassed by the virus, this defense mechanism then becomes obsolete and no longer useful. But such specific antibodies can still bind to the virus spike protein at much greater affinity then our innate non-specific antibodies. Therefore, vaccination automatically makes the innate immunity defense mechanism obsolete as well, whereas it is primarily the innate immunity that has been protecting us thus far from the virus. In other words, vaccination outcome in the presence of a new virus strain that can bypass vaccinal antibodies, makes the vaccinated people completely defenseless against such virus. In essence, vaccinated people will be in very dangerous way - immunocompromised.
Therefore, mass vaccination is actually leading to a restart of the pandemic with a much worse and more dangerous virus than we started with, with the vast majority of the population now completely unprotected as opposed to previously being nearly completely protected (where basically only those with compromised immune systems were at very high risk of developing the disease and potentially dying from it). The outcome of this could be absolutely catastrophic according to Dr. Bossche, with mass morbidity and mortality in all age groups that have been subjected to vaccination. Basically, we have condemned a majority of our population to a grave risk of disease and death by a virus that previously had very low fatality rate.
One of the best ways to explain the actual power of innate immunity against SARS-CoV-2 is to also explain why different blood types have a different susceptibility to infection by the virus. You might have heard that blood type O infers greater protection against the COVID-19 disease. Why would that be? It is because if you are blood type O you have innate antibodies against blood type A and blood type B antigens. People with blood type A only have antibodies against blood type B whereas people with blood type B have antibodies only against blood type A antigens. The reason why people with blood type O who have innate antibodies against blood type A and B antigens are more protected is because when the virus leaves infected cells, it is also coated with components of the membrane of those cells and that can include blood type A or blood type B antigens (blood type O has no antigens). Therefore, if you are a blood type O carrier and you happen to be infected with a virus that came from either blood type A or blood type B host, your innate antibodies will start binding with that virus just because it has the type A or B antigens present on its surface! And these are innate antibodies that are not even related to the virus and yet it provides the blood type O person an added protection from developing COVID-19 disease! You can imagine that if you have an army of different innate antibodies which can also include antibodies that recognize motifs of the virus, how powerful of a cocktail it can be in stemming infection. If you remove this army by outcompeting their binding with either naturally induced antibodies or vaccinal induced antibodies because they interact much stronger to viral motifs than innate antibodies, then the innate immune system is no longer your weapon available to fight the virus infection. This is especially bad if these naturally induced antibodies or vaccinal induced antibodies that outcompete the innate antibodies, themselves are not strong enough to actually outcompete virus binding to cellular receptors, meaning they are not powerful enough to actually prevent infection of cells.
Most dangerous players in the pandemic progress
The most dangerous players in the unfolding pandemic are those who can promote SARS-CoV-2 virus mutations in their bodies under incomplete immune pressure. This comprises individuals who mount incomplete immune response against the virus (either due to not enough antibodies or due to use of antibodies that do not effectively end up binding and neutralizing the virus) thus allowing the virus to still continue surviving in the host. However, the host environment of partial immune attack against the virus promotes virus mutation towards a new strain that could evade and surpass such an immune attack against it.
Dr. Bossche is warning that mass vaccination with prophylactic vaccines that actually do not have the ability to completely eliminate virus infection is the huge public blunder we are currently committing on a global scale because it exponentially increases the number of such individuals who could be infected with SARS-CoV-2 and play host towards the development of new viral strains that could eventually escape the immune protection of the vaccines. This is why Dr. Bossche has been claiming since the start of the year to immediately stop mass vaccination, and definitely not to consider vaccinating children who otherwise were already extremely well protected with their innate immunity.
The most dangerous players that can promote new strain development include:
Vaccinated infected individuals
Because currently used vaccines actually do not eliminate virus infection, vaccinated individuals can still be infected, albeit they will be largely protected from experiencing the disease from such an infection (the actual reason behind the approval of these vaccines). But especially partially vaccinated people because their immune protection is not even complete and hence being infected when vaccinated with only one dose could make it even easier for the virus to find a way to mutate past the vaccine-imposed immune pressure. In other words, every vaccinated person who gets infected provides a potential breeding ground towards a new strain because upon infection they provide immune pressure on the virus within their body that the virus now has a chance to escape through random mutation that might make one such mutant bypass the effect of vaccinal antibodies.
Unvaccinated asymptomatically infected individuals
While remaining unvaccinated according to Dr. Bossche is the most valuable state to be in due to preservation of one’s innate immunity which is the real thrust of protective measure against infection, such unvaccinated people will provide an incomplete immune fight against SARS-CoV-2 virus in the event that a person is infected twice in a short time span. As the initial infection temporarily induced sub-par antibodies, if a second infection takes place before these antibodies are cleared out of the system, such an individual has an inadequate antibody response to effectively clear the virus. The naturally induced IgG antibodies from the previous infection will unfortunately still continue to outcompete the innate, non-specific IgM antibodies. This is because the naturally induced IgG antibodies, while not strong enough to clear the infection (cannot successfully outcompete the virus from binding to ACE2 receptors on the surface of our cells), are still binding to the virus more effectively than the IgM antibodies, rendering the IgM antibodies useless. Thus, these individuals for a short period of time are putting immune pressure on the virus to mutate into more effective way of outcompeting the partially effective IgG antibodies which could accidentally result in new more dangerous strain of virus.
Dr. Bossche contends that it was through this method that likely resulted in the development of some the new more infectious strains currently dominating the world (just prior to onset of mass vaccination program, about 10 months into the pandemic). Some of these strains could have arose due to immune pressure imposed by infection prevention measures such as lockdowns (potentially helping to explain why it took so long for the new strains to emerge and establish themselves), which placed selection pressure towards virus mutations that resulted in a longer infection cycle currently observed with new strains, thus overcoming the impact imposed by lockdowns. But another way could have been due to massive overcrowding of people, especially in living conditions which greatly enhanced the likelihood that a person could be infected twice, providing the breeding grounds for too many new different strains to show up until one became dominant by chance. These contentions are seemingly contrasting, where one variant emergence is due to too low infectious pressure and the other seems like it is due to too much infectious pressure that resulted from too many individual hosts with immune pressure on the virus (which is now the same as we are doing with mass vaccinations - we are introducing too many individual hosts that provide immune pressure on the virus inside their bodies).
These are individuals who are unrelated to the above groups, but rather are already with a compromised immune system due to other factors, such as cancer for example. Even prior to mass vaccination programs it was already observed that certain individuals can be infected by SARS-CoV-2 for extremely long time (months on end) and such persons typically were not able to mount an effective immune response to clear the virus. In fact, it was during the current pandemic that it was demonstrated for first time that a single individual if infected for long period of time can lead to development of new virus strain as the virus mutated from one form to another.
Mistakes during the current pandemic
This section might also read as a difficult study because it would appear that every public decision that has been made during the pandemic, in the attempt to control the pandemic, was in fact a wrong decision that according to Dr. Bossche exacerbated the situation and will continue to do so.
Of the many currently controversial statements made by Dr. Bossche, one is the fact that ultimately achieving herd immunity naturally would have been the safest approach. The vast majority of infected people would have been naturally protected with their innate immunity, a small portion of the population would have contracted the disease and vast segment of those would survived and acquired naturally induced antibodies and cellular protection from the virus, while a small segment of those with compromised immune systems would succumb to the disease. To minimize the number of casualties as much as possible, those who got infected and start developing the symptoms of COVID-19 disease should have been treated with antiviral drugs such as Ivermectin. This would hopefully reduce the likelihood of dying from disease while at the same time affording the immune system time to build T-cell immunity against the virus due to the onset of disease development (this approach is referred to as infection treatment protocol and is already used to protect livestock). The final outcome is that the virus becomes an endemic feature of the population but without a future ability to mount large scale waves of morbidity and mortality provided that we no longer participate in events that promote mass gatherings where overcrowding allows a rapid spread of virus to numerous people.
Globally, except for perhaps Sweden, we clearly did not attempt to allow natural herd immunity to take place. Where did we supposedly go wrong?
When it comes to mass lockdowns, it is all about the right timing. The ideal timing of lock downs should be immediately after the second wave of a naturally progressing pandemic (in a context of COVID-19, this would have been the first big wave of the pandemic where the bulk of the people are getting infected by asymptomatic carriers). Why then? Because this is when most people are asymptomatically infected and mount suboptimal antibody responses that can last multiple weeks. It is during this period of time that there is a risk that this suboptimal immune pressure allows for the propagation of new variants that could be more infectious and more dangerous. Therefore, it is during this time that a very strict lockdown is imposed, the duration of which is longer than the lifespan of such suboptimal antibodies (approximately 10 weeks). This approach would allow herd immunity building without encouraging virus immune escape. Lockdowns might be necessary to control any subsequent outbreaks, but otherwise not needed.
Executing lockdowns outside that time window or without effective stringency otherwise amounts to another immune pressure on the virus that actually promotes selective pressure on the virus towards evolving to more infectious strains to bypass such immune pressure. So, unless you do it right, and can commit to a complete lockdown (highly unlikely to succeed), do not even bother. According to him, this is exactly what we have observed with the emergence of some of the new viral strains even prior to any vaccination efforts.
Mass vaccination (with the wrong vaccines)
The vaccines are wrong on two accounts: one is by using prophylactic, non-sterilizing (leaky) vaccines, and the second is delivering mass vaccinations with old strains as the new more infectious strains started to emerge, rendering vaccines partially ineffective. If there was any chance where a vaccination program during a pandemic could have worked it would have been using a sterilizing vaccine (that prevents virus infection) or perhaps with a live-attenuated virus, as this would induce activation of a more enhanced immune response, thus affording greater protection for those who were vaccinated (not unlike the immune protection after natural infection). The current leaky vaccines used were the worst choice possible. The only way such leaky vaccines could have potentially worked is if the virus causing this pandemic is a new virus previously not encountered and not highly mutable, and finally there would be no asymptomatic carriers (but both of these last two conditions are not met with SARS-CoV-2).
Spreading the time period between vaccinations
This was a problem because by increasing the time period between the first vaccination dose and a second, it only enhanced the time during which the virus had exposure to suboptimal quality of antibodies mounted by the first vaccine dose, thus enhancing the possibility of an immune escape that could lead to new strain development.
No mass screening post vaccination
This is another policy mistake according to Dr. Bossche, the assumption that we no longer need to screen the population including healthy but potentially asymptomatic carriers of the virus on the assumption that it is no longer necessary due to mass vaccination. We do know that there are breakthrough cases, which are captured once a vaccinated person ends up in a hospital or dies, but we no longer have much of a clue as to how many vaccinated people are actually asymptomatically infected. By making this shift from only PCR testing those who are hospitalized, we are creating a false image of successful vaccination program while completely missing those who are potentially very dangerous participants of immune escape, the vaccinated people who get infected, especially those who are not yet fully vaccinated. This is very serious mistake according to Dr. Bossche as this will only further increase the chances of new variants emerging. Instead, a screening program should be used precisely to capture such individuals to minimize the emergence of new strains as much as possible, especially since once new strains emerge that can bypass vaccines, the vaccinated people will be in grave danger from COVID-19 as they will no longer have quality immune protection. Not only should we start screening people for possible infections, especially vaccinated people, but this should also be accompanied by a sequencing of the virus genome to ensure that new emerging variants are immediately identified.
Removing restrictions and mass gathering post vaccination
As mass vaccinations have taken place, a majority of jurisdictions, under mounting pressure from exhausted populations, have removed restrictions. This ironically is the exact opposite of what should be happening according to Dr. Bossche. This is because as we mounted the mass vaccination, we also increased the opportunity for immune escape, allowing the virus to breed into a new strain that could bypass this immune pressure through a new variant that could take over the population. Anyone with suboptimal immune response to an infection will pose a threat to the population, and that will include the large group of vaccinated people who are asymptomatically infected. It is just in this most dangerous time of allowing for a new variant to emerge and take over the society that we are allowing more contact between the people to take place, increasing the likelihood that any new variants can spread among the population. According to Dr. Bossche, rather, after an aggressive mass vaccination that resulted in dramatic drop in observed cases, the best option would be to introduce a very strict, complete lockdown of approximately two months to ensure that those with suboptimal immune response (both those who are vaccinated and are infected, and unvaccinated who have recently been re-infected) do not have the opportunity to spread a new emerging variant in the population. This could potentially achieve a successful outcome of mass vaccination if virus transmission between people in a population can be stopped completely. But can you imagine this taking place in current environment of people being so weary of all the past lockdowns? And mass gatherings of any kind, are absolute no-no at this stage, and basically for the continuation of this pandemic. Too much chance for large scale infection with a new dangerous variant.
Why Dr. Bossche could be wrong
Despite his impeccably laid out narrative, there is one prediction that so far Dr. Bossche has got quite wrong: it is the speed with which he expected the immune escape to occur. Dr. Bossche in his early interviews was expecting that this immune escape will potentially take place even in a matter of days, perhaps weeks at most. It has been several months since he has launched his warning crusade in March of 2021. So, the expected speed of immune escape definitely did not pan out.
Therefore, we can hope that his other predictions will also not pan out, those of eventual mass casualties related to immune escape. In some of his interviews Dr. Bossche is quite hyperbolic with his prediction, even going as far as suggesting that the outcome could massively threaten our species. This type of rhetoric puts him with far-out doomsdayers and we would venture a guess that the vast majority of all of the doomsdayers are eventually proven wrong, and we hope and expect the same to take place here. On the other hand, Dr. Bossche is so certain of what is going to happen, he predicts that once the reality dawns on the populace of how horribly this pandemic has been mismanaged, leading to massive unnecessary death tolls in those who chose to be vaccinated - that the realization will lead to a form of revolutionary outbreak by a deeply disenchanted and grieving public. Because heads will have to roll. He even thinks that ultimately this will affect how people view vaccines in the future and might even require banning the use of the word vaccine due to the negative impact that current mass vaccine use will have. He really put a lot of thought to his vision of the future!
Another hope we have where Dr. Bossche could be completely wrong is the fact that his entire theory hinges on one crucial component: that vaccines we are using do not promote cellular immunity or rapidly activated cellular immunity. Dr. Bossche’s entire premise hinges on the fact that vaccinated people will be extremely vulnerable after the virus’s immune escape because they will not have an effective means to fight infection. This is in contrast to those who get naturally infected and develop COVID-19 because they develop effective cellular immunity that can be mounted in subsequent reinfections to clear the virus. Vaccinated people will not have that privilege. But if Dr. Bossche is wrong about that, his ominous prediction of mass casualties is put to rest.
The other good news is that at the moment it looks like vaccines are indeed having a spectacular effect. If you study available GISAID database on COVID-19 pandemic, in a majority of countries, the mass vaccination efforts appear to have driven down both the number of cases and associated deaths. In only a handful of countries this trend breaks where a wave during an extensive mass vaccination is also leading to corresponding deaths. Some of the countries where cases have started to rise, unlike previous waves, hospitalization and death rate do not appear to follow the pattern of increase. Although here too Dr. Bossche finds a reasonable explanation: this stage is characterized by the emerging dominance of new strains that now have a selective advantage over the original strain, and whilst vaccinated people are mostly unavailable at the moment for virus infection (on account of their current induced antibody protection) the virus has shifted to younger crowds. These younger crowds are still strong enough to much better withstand the COVID-19 disease than previously observed in earlier waves. So, for him, another totally expected finding.
But we hope he is wrong and that this trend will now persist as we keep moving on. Because, could the vaccination program in fact allow that equilibrium where enough people are now getting infected by the latest strain, including vaccinated people, that there no longer is selective pressure for new mutants to emerge? And could we not eventually reach similar herd immunity where enough people are protected by vaccines versus innate immunity versus those who survived the disease and eventually stop the spread of the virus? After all, it all seems about right balance between immune pressure and infectious pressure for no new strains to become dominant.
What if he is right
Potential outcomes on a personal level
If the SARS-CoV-2 mutates to a form that will become completely resistant to current vaccines, this will be a huge problem, potentially of catastrophic consequences. The population will be divided into those who will be potentially protected and those who will be completely unprotected and at the mercy of the new variant virus. All vaccinated people, especially those who were fully vaccinated, will be completely unprotected. That is because the vaccination will prevent their innate immune system from normally functioning while their induced immunity will be no longer effective against the new strain. This will be the population expected to suffer the most, irrespective of age, if such new strains emerge.
The exception to that will be those who are vaccinated but have previously developed COVID-19, as they have the protection of the T-cell immunity from that infection to protect them from the future new strains of the virus.
In turn, those who are unvaccinated will have the highest chance of survival of the subsequent pandemic due to the presence of their intact immunity. They can still succumb to the disease if their innate immunity is not powerful enough to cope with the new variant strain of coronavirus, or if they get infected twice in a short timespan.
In essence, what Dr. Bossche is saying is the exact opposite of what the health authorities in the entire world are professing, which is primarily why Dr. Bossche is being completely dismissed as a fear-mongering lunatic.
Potential outcomes on a population level
This is the interesting part - as this is where we can start comparing the real-world outcomes to Dr. Bossche’s narrative and start drawing conclusions as to if his thesis has merit.
Prior to the emergence of any new strains, as a consequence of immune pressure imposed on the virus due to mass vaccinations, the very first expected outcome of mass vaccination will be to see cases dramatically go down. This is what we are currently seeing in a majority of highly vaccinated countries. This is where we will be congratulating the mass vaccination effort.
But that drop in cases, seen as a flat line of very little observed cases, is referred to as the valley of fitness. This is where the new virus strain that has mutated to overcome this immune pressure is slowly and seemingly imperceptibly establishing itself in the population, before it can take over and dominate the infection in the population. Every time you have a peak of infections, followed by a valley, followed by another peak, that is when a virus is breaking through the valley of fitness to find a new way of becoming infectious again, and depending on the circumstances, that can be by becoming a new strain, or maybe finding new susceptible hosts elsewhere, such as hosts with compromised innate immunity.
The second outcome would be to force the virus to move to an unvaccinated cohort. This also means that we should see more younger and younger people being infected and coming down with COVID-19. The sense behind this is that at first, as a consequence of mass vaccinations, the virus is predominantly barred from effectively infecting the vaccinated people (but not entirely, which will be the reason that will spell the final doom to this approach) and on top of that, many of those who do get infected, remember, these vaccines were developed to protect from severe disease. So, in this initial state after mass vaccination they will not be the obvious victims. In the meantime, the virus is forced to find other susceptible hosts. This vaccination pressure also leads to the dominance of more infectious strains as they are going to be more effective at achieving the goal of finding new hosts to infect (which by the way, are now present all over the world since their emergence late last year). The most susceptible hosts are now the unvaccinated who have their innate immunity to rely on. For most of these people their innate immunity will protect them just fine although there are two factors that will contribute to an initial rise in cases in this cohort: the new more infectious strains will overcome the innate immunity in some people because their innate immunity is no longer good enough to deal with the increased infection load as compared to the original virus strain; and second, there will also be a bulk of unvaccinated people who will be reinfected at the time when their suboptimal induced antibodies are suppressing their innate immunity and thus preventing their protection from infection. The spreaders among this wave will be both the vaccinated and unvaccinated asymptomatic carriers, and those who are actually sick with COVID-19 who are not quarantining despite the symptoms. But in a horrible twist of fate, the faster the population vaccinates, the more impacted the unvaccinated people will be due to the intense pressure on the virus to find next vulnerable hosts.
We might already be seeing this in some of the highly vaccinated nations.
At this stage, the blame for this will be shifted (inaccurately, according to Dr. Bossche) on the unvaccinated for preventing to reach herd immunity, whatever that level would be, as no matter how high the level of fully vaccinated people any nation will reach, we can never end up seeing an effective end of this pandemic as a consequence of vaccination. Thus, this elusive unreached number for herd immunity will forever remain a mystery, on which the blame shall be pinned, as no amount of vaccination will actually work with non-sterilizing vaccines (not even 100% vaccination effort should work). Others will place the blame (correctly according to Dr. Bossche) on removal of all lockdown measures on the account that if we are this vaccinated, we have nothing to worry about. Vaccinated people especially will have a false sense of protection and fail to exhibit any prior protection measures and worse, any people who are asymptomatically infected will easily be spreading the virus.
This stage will also result in a tragic consequence of coming to the wrong conclusion that we need to continue vaccinating more of the young people on the account that they are now contributing to the ever higher, increasing rates of infection and hospitalization. Along the way, no one seems to ask as to why this is happening - where the population that was previously completely “protected” is suddenly now vulnerable.
The third stage will be dramatic drop in the cases as the remainder of the population will be protected by their innate immunity. This is yet to be observed as most countries are seeing dropping cases due to the roll-out of vaccinations. This is also where the trouble will begin. It is at this stage where the infectious pressure of the virus will drop under the current weight of immune pressure elicited from vaccination and natural protection, and thus the virus will have no option but to start mutating into new variants that can bypass this immune pressure, in other words the virus will start to evolve to exhibit immune escape.
The final outcome will be a complete immune escape from the current vaccines - driven by the emergence of completely new strains from the background of all the people who get infected by the virus while sporting induced antibodies (eventually it will be mostly the vaccinated people because they will dramatically outnumber the unvaccinated who are re-infected). At that point those who have been vaccinated will lack any protection from the virus and should make up the bulk of casualties while a portion of the unvaccinated will suffer, mainly the unvaccinated whose innate immunity will not be strong enough to protect against the infection load of such new strains, or if they are re-infected too soon after they cleared their first infection. So, both the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups will suffer through this wave which will be massive in proportion. The best protection in this scenario will likely be experienced by those who have already had COVID-19 disease.
This stage will be first identified by an increasing level of breakthrough cases among the vaccinated with a greater and greater number of hospitalizations and deaths due to the virus bypassing the immune pressure imposed by the vaccines. This will continue to be blamed on a lack of achieving mass vaccination or the lack of continuing stringent lockdowns even though it is the mass vaccination itself that will be the cause of this progression. The emergence and propagation at this point will be carried out by the vaccinated people, but potentially not noticed at first as many countries have stopped their general screening of the population, thus preventing the catching of asymptomatic cases among this cohort. This is the stage where the new vaccine boosters will be introduced to help fight against these strains which might afford some temporary protection but will ultimately always fail.
But ultimately, and Dr. Bossche is very urgent on point, this will be a death sentence to many people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, irrespective of age, but especially vaccinated people because they will make up such large portion of the society by now.
If the world finally figures it out at this point - that mass vaccination generated this problem - we will have to shift to a completely new method of dealing with the problem. But likely the response will be to redevelop another leaky vaccine to fight the new strains. The issue is that it will likely, once again, be a non-sterilizing vaccine, so the problem will not be solved in this way, while the number of casualties will continue to mount.
If we follow Dr. Bossche correctly, we should expect at least two more waves after mass vaccination, with the first wave primarily affecting the unvaccinated, followed by both groups being affected, with the vaccinated eventually being affected in greater and greater numbers. We might see a few waves if the virus needs multiple mutations to adapt to a complete immune escape, but each successive wave should see a greater participation of vaccinated people.
Why future vaccines are likely to fail
One could wonder then, why can’t we just update the vaccines by substituting the current mRNA vaccine (that was originally coded for the starting strain of the virus that emerged from China) with any of the current variants that can be expected to be most dangerous? Dr. Bossche also mentions why this approach will fail and it has to do with what is referred to as “antigenic sin”. You will see right away why it is an appropriate term for this particular immunological phenomenon. Antigenic sin refers to the fact that if you already built immune memory to produce a specific antigen against an original strain, then once you are infected or vaccinated with a subsequent new but closely related strain of virus (in this case a new strains of SARS-CoV-2, including potential strains that will escape the vaccines), your body will not start building new immune memory and start mounting the new immune response against this new strain, but rather relapse to mounting the previously established immune response.
Furthermore, the virus life cycle is very fast, it duplicates itself in mere 10 hours or so. To think that we can outsmart a virus that can so rapidly replicate and therefore drive a generation of new mutant variants is a folly because to generate a new vaccine is simply too slow for how fast the virus can bypass the outcomes of vaccination.
What to do
This is interesting - while at the start of the mass vaccination Dr. Bossche was calling for immediate halt of the program, he admits that at this point the damage has already been done on such grand scale, that stopping vaccinations now is irrelevant in terms of protecting the population. Achieving herd immunity at this point is no longer possible due to the introduction of long term vaccinal antibodies in so many people. What are the options then if a new SARS-CoV-2 variant emerges that can escape vaccines? Remember though, these are Dr. Bossche's ideas not sanctioned by any institution, thus this is strictly for your curiousity only.
If you are unvaccinated
Practice a healthy lifestyle as that is intricately linked to innate immunity quality.
Avoid contact with vaccinated people as they are at high risk of being asymptomatic carriers of a new dangerous strain that could overwhelm your natural immunity protection (but how practical is this now in real life in highly vaccinated countries? Pretty impossible!)
Screen regularly for antigen specific IgG antibody presence. If antibodies are detected, long quarantine is required until they disappear. This is because you are now exposed to get a disease as you no longer have a protection because the IgG antibodies are suppressing your innate antibodies from being able to protect you from the virus. So, if you get reinfected at this stage, you are in danger of developing COVID-19 because you temporarily have suppressed protection. Furthermore, this is when you could be an incubator for a virus to mutate into a new strain. This is the price to pay for preserving your innate immunity which otherwise can protect you from all and any strains (unless they are too infectious and overcome your innate immunity). When antibodies are not present, the person participates in normal lifestyle, especially outdoors, which helps to train the innate immunity so it is persistently available for maximal protection.
Large mass gatherings should be avoided at all times to minimize infection.
If you are vaccinated
Practice a healthy lifestyle as that is intricately linked to innate immunity quality. When it comes to SARS-CoV-2 your innate immunity is gone as long as you continue producing vaccinal antibodies, but you can still gain from having a strong innate immunity against other pathogens. If your vaccinal antibodies protect you from current circulating strains, you are good. If a new strain emerges that can bypass vaccinal antibodies altogether, anyone who has been vaccinated is a sitting duck, and at a dangerous risk of developing COVID-19. This is where still having a strong innate immunity against other pathogens might be still very valuable, to protect you against other additional infections. This is the price to pay for vaccinating yourself if vaccines fail.
Screen regularly for viral presence (for example with a test like PCR). If a virus is detected, regular quarantine is required to protect others in case you become an incubator for the virus to mutate into a new strain.
Large mass gatherings should be avoided at all times.
If you get sick
Early antiviral treatment with drugs such as Ivermectin or a cocktail of such drugs could be the only option remaining for those who have been vaccinated or those who are unvaccinated but whose innate immune system has not sufficed to protect them, or who get re-infected while still presenting suboptimal induced antibodies from the first infection.
For the entire population with low vaccination rate
Immediately abandon vaccination, especially in the younger population and allow a natural wave of infection to take place. The subsequent response is as mentioned above: all those who have been infected and started to exhibit signs of disease should be treated with antiviral agents to ensure their recovery while allowing for the building of effective immunity against the virus. As that wave subsequently goes down, do a stringent lockdown for approximately 10 weeks to ensure that asymptomatic carriers with suboptimal temporary antibodies are not at risk of being reinfected, and thus stopping vaccinated carriers from spreading the virus further.
Large mass gatherings should be avoided at all times.
For the entire population with a high vaccination rate
The only way out of this according to Dr. Bossche is to develop a sterilizing vaccine to lead to the complete eradication of the virus. Without that, we are now stuck with this virus and its consequences. Since we might not be able to actually produce such vaccine using the conventional methods employed so far, he proposes a development of a completely new kind of vaccine that actually would boost the innate immune system. But… it has never been done before!
In the meantime, prior to this taking place, the most likely outcome to protect the population from the ensuring health catastrophe will be the use of existing highly effective antivirals or a development of a new one.
Prior to these measures, stringent lockdowns should be implemented when a wave of infection goes down to dramatically lower levels and enters the valley of fitness. This lockdown would ensure that those remaining unvaccinated but who might have been infected (likely from asymptomatic vaccine breakthrough carriers) are not exposed again to new strains and also that vaccinated carriers are no longer spreading the virus.
In between outbreaks that might require additional future lockdowns, mass screening of the entire population should take place to help identify the dangerous asymptomatic carriers in order to quarantine them to prevent infections and emergence of new strains, especially strains that could bypass the vaccines.
Large mass gatherings should be avoided at all times.
Why this has not been thought of by anyone else
Apparently according to Dr. Bossche this is because there is still a massive underappreciation of the importance of the innate immunity in fighting infections. From a scientific point of view, we also have a lack of knowledge on how to control and manipulate the innate immunity, and therefore we automatically relapsed to the only type of vaccines we know how to create: vaccines that induce humoral immunity. While there might be appreciation in remote scientific circles of the fact that vaccination with non-sterilizing vaccines should not take place during the pandemic, this point is completely missed by the governing health authorities. In other words, there is simply a massive lack of understanding about pandemic cycles and how they can relate to population health and safety. Dr. Bossche pronounces himself as one of such rare experts. If you actually take a look at his resume, it is true that Dr. Bossche is one of the world’s pre-eminent vaccine development experts with a profound understanding of viruses, their life cycle and host immunity. Ironically, there are few people in the world more qualified to lend their opinion on this matter than this man.
As an example, we started with a normal pandemic and have morphed into a pandemic of more infectious variants and currently could be undergoing morphing into a pandemic of antibody resistance. This is not easy to see at the moment as cases are actually going down due to mass vaccination (along with illness and deaths).
The reason why we can get fooled is because as the new infectious variants shows up, they will not start rapidly infecting everyone right away, but need some time to build momentum, just as we have seen with the previous variants such as the UK (alpha) variant recently taking over in Alberta, or the delta (India) variant taking over the alpha variant in the UK. That very slow build up is seen as a drop in cases, a flat line of very little observed cases - the valley of fitness - before a new virus emerges and dominates the infection rate in the population. Compared to the current variants that have taken over the world, the SARS-CoV-2 virus might require several reiterations yet to fully adapt to a variant that will be able to completely bypass protection from vaccinal antibodies. Thus, we might be celebrating at the moment of the amazing success of the mass vaccination campaign while the doomsday scenario is actually playing out behind the scenes. It is this short-sighted view without a deeper appreciation of the virus life cycle that is leading the world to commit these blunders. In addition, those who might attempt to speak up against this policy error, are highly likely to be censored for actually promoting a false narrative, to the degree that Dr. Bossche himself has experienced.
Yes, it is hard to imagine that Dr. Bossche could be so alone in such an important understanding of how to properly control this pandemic. So hard that it almost seems implausible that he could be right, while the rest of the world gets it wrong. But perhaps this is not unlike Sweden being isolated (and ridiculed) for not enforcing stringent lockdowns as a nation when everyone was doing the same. Surely, we have more experts who could speak to this and raise the alarm. For the moment, this is a story that we will have to wait and see how it plays out, but the majority of the world have to hope his narrative is definitely wrong.
We can take this either as a warning or as a misguided interpretation by a single well-meaning individual who ultimately will pay the price with his career for such ill instruction.
But we would agree with one statement made over and over by Dr. Bossche: let’s bring all the credible experts to a table and let them duke this out using scientific evidence to support their cases, including why Dr. Bossche might be so wrong, but at least, agree to a criterion of what we should be expecting from this pandemic moving forward so that we can properly judge our current efforts. Right now, he claims we do not have these criteria, we just make up excuses along the way to explain any results that might be showing up. And if he is right, then we have already proven to ourselves that we can whip up vaccines in record time, so we should immediately jump on his notion of building a sterilizing vaccine to deal with this pandemic before too many would pay the price.
For now, let’s wait and see what happens, and let’s hope his predictions fail.
This article has been produced by Merogenomics Inc. and edited by Jason Chouinard, B.Sc. Reproduction and reuse of any portion of this content requires Merogenomics Inc. permission and source acknowledgment. It is your responsibility to obtain additional permissions from the third party owners that might be cited by Merogenomics Inc. Merogenomics Inc. disclaims any responsibility for any use you make of content owned by third parties without their permission.
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