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Vaccinating people who have had covid-19: why doesn’t natural immunity count in the US?

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 13 September 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n2101

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Rapid Response:

Natural Infection Immunity versus Vaccine derived Immunity

Dear Editor

It would appear to me that basic science of immunology has been ignored in the reaction to COVID-19. The SARS-COV-2 virus has 28 known antigenic sites to which immune reaction is a potential possibility. Spike Protein is only one of the 28 antigens. The current anti-Spike Protein vaccines only target one of the 28 antigenic proteins or sites. This leaves the virus with 27 antigenic sites intact.

Vaccination with the anti-Spike Protein vaccines currently heavily favoured generates antibody and relevant cellular immune reaction to that one antigenic protein

Infection ab-initio (natural infection) with the intact virus presents the body's immune system, (cellular and humoral) with all 28 antigenic proteins. As with traditional vaccines pre-Cov-2

This enables the immune system to respond to all antigenic proteins presented to it in a comprehensive manner rather than selectively to one. In this circumstance it can only mean a more comprehensive robust protective response to the initial whole virus and any future exposure. This will explain the observed advantages of natural infection over the limited effectiveness of the present vaccines.

The current anti-Spike Protein vaccines if they were meant to be stopgap vaccines have served their purpose giving the scientific community time for refocusing and to come up with vaccines that elicit responses and protection in terms of effectiveness and duration, similar to natural infection just like vaccines we had come to rely on over the last century.

A strategy of comprehensive immune reaction to whole virus in the form of attenuated virus product will provide a reasonable and reliable long-term way out of current pandemic

Booster doses of the current vaccines are unlikely to provide the long-term desired results.

It is time to look at what worked in the past and are still relied ipon in areas like measles, mumps, smallpox and other where booster doses are not mandated after every few months.

SARS-CoV-2 may be different from these other viruses but the results indicating the superiority of natural whole virus infection over Spike Protein targeted vaccines do indicate that greater hope lies ahead

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 October 2021
Daniel Imoedemhe
Medical Doctor
London, United Kingdom