T-cells, antibodies and vaccines. What does it all mean?

OK. This post follows hot on the heels of my post on Wednesday after I read the two articles I referred to from Reuters.

I'm going to try and make some sense (to me - other results may vary) of where I'm at in this whole SARS-CoV-2 storm that we're all living through.

I got slated by some educated friends of mine for being a faxxer. I'm not anti-vaccine (there is a long list of vaccinations that I have had in my lifetime in a previous post).

But neither am I in the camp of a very dear GP friend of mine - who after a long day of vaccinating people responded to my reservations as follows:

"So Giles I’ve literally just got home from a community vaccination clinic I help run - that about sums up my opinion . There are clever people in the world and there’s cleverer people - the latter are the ones who work on the vaccines - the others think they know more ...and  theorise and criticise."

I had to apologise for calling him a DRONE.

Antibody-dependant enhancement ("ADE") is a real thing - well at least according to the Americans and the Chinese; it's not good. No one refers to it because it would (like reading the contra-indications printed on the leaflet that comes with any medicine) put you off taking any medicine; which would be counter-productive.

But it's put me off taking the new vaccines; and you can bet your bottom dollar that the cleverer people are looking out for signs of it in the wider community.

So, where am I at today.

If I could travel to the French alps this summer to fly my paraglider or ride my mountain bike I would take the vaccine that I have been offered if it was a requirement.

Paragliding and mountain biking are probably statistically more dangerous than the vaccines.

So, why am I not having the vaccine anyway?

TLDR: Because, on balance, my faith in my own immune system (results for other immune systems may vary) overrides my belief in the efficacy of, and need for, vaccines that themselves come with inherent risks. AND I can't currently go anywhere anyway. Simple as!

Full version:

Well, research is indicating that your T-cell response is also quite important; whereas the vaccines focus on just generating antibodies - which may or may not work and may in fact cause problems through ADE.

AND naturally occurring antibodies arising in people in Manaus don't seem to be protecting them from the new P.1 variant that is ripping through Brazil as I write. So why should the vaccines - except in the sense of the T-cell response (see below) - which they should already have as a result of prior infection - make any difference? In fact the second wave in Manaus may be so virulent because of ADE arising through natural antibodies produced in people who have survived first wave infection - only time will tell.

I read the paper referred to by Reuters in respect of T-cells and what it boils down to (in a very small sample size of 30) is that T-cells taken from people who have had a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection attack new SARS-CoV-2 strains (which is what you would hopefully expect them to do).

This has little to do with antibodies except to the extent that helper T-cells stimulate B-cells to make antibodies. I suspect the article is referring to killer (special forces - my words) T-cells that directly kill cells that have already been infected by a foreign invader.

There is a wonderful article here explaining the difference between T-cells and B-cells.

PS. For more context of my thinking, I'm glad that my elderly parents have had the Pfizer jab because for them I think the pros outweigh the cons.

Don't believe the faxxers but stay informed.

I think that's it for this post!


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