- Vaccination is a preparedness and prevention exercise : Dr Kang
- Dr Kang said variants are many, but variants that escape immunity are few
- If viruses are not replicating they cannot mutate: Dr Kang
New Delhi: Stressing that the only way to decrease variants of COVID-19 is by increasing vaccination, prominent clinical scientist Gagandeep Kang said massive inoculation being a mistake is a topic brought up with “pseudo-scientific messy incorrect immunology”. She was reacting to French virologist and Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier’s comments on mass vaccination. Dr Kang said that apparently he did not say all vaccinated people will die in two years, as claimed by some, but he did say that new variants are created through selection imposed by antibodies made through vaccination.
“And he said there will be much stronger infection by variants in vaccinated individuals due to antibody dependent enhancement, massive vaccination is an enormous error, a medical mistake,” Kang tweeted, and termed his claims as “not true”. Dr Kang said,
When we are infected or vaccinated we make antibodies in response to a whole virus or part of a virus. In a viral infection, the body’s immune responses, including antibodies, shut down viral replication and we recover from infection. Massive vaccination being a mistake is a topic brought up with pseudo-scientific messy incorrect immunology that I have addressed previously…, she tweeted.
Calling vaccination an exercise in “preparedness and prevention”, the vaccinologist said the immune response that is made has nothing to fight immediately but “we train the immune system to recognise the virus if and when it comes”.
In a small number of individuals, special, because they are immunocompromised (therefore not usually out & about to spread virus) it is possible that virus replication may be prolonged. In such (rare) cases there may be a development of variants that escape the immune response, she said in another tweet.
Dr Kang said variants are many, but variants that escape immunity are few.
“As the virus spreads through populations and multiplies massively, the few variants that are more capable of escaping immunity that is induced by vaccines will make vaccines somewhat less effective,” she said. While this may be what we are currently seeing with B1.351 and B1.617.2, even there two doses of vaccines protect reasonably (data from Qatar and UK).
The only way to decrease variants is not to stop vaccination, but to increase it to stop virus circulation and replication! she said.
She said it is seen from effectiveness and impact studies that vaccination reduces viral replication in individuals and decreases transmission in communities, effectively decreasing the overall viral load in the community and the world.
Clear and simple- if viruses are not replicating they cannot mutate and become new variants. Vaccinate to decrease viral replication and variants, she said.
She said all vaccines are being evaluated to see that they make high amounts of neutralizing antibodies and they are.
What about with variants because neutralizing antibodies to an older version of the virus might not be enough? This is analogous to the situation with dengue where it is not old and new versions of the virus but four different serotypes that may infect sequentially. With repeat dengue infection, where low levels of antibodies from the first infection with 1 type of virus or vaccination can trigger enhanced/severe disease when a person does get subsequently infected with a type to which there is not good neutralizing antibody, she tweeted.
Noting that with SARS-CoV2 vaccines based on older virus/spike the ability to neutralise new variants is lower but not absent, Kang said vaccines seem to be working.
A booster dose of old or new versions of mRNA vaccines has been shown to broaden the immune response, which is encouraging. We need to continue to study long-term protection, and particularly study the immune response in vaccine breakthrough cases to understand what is happening with immunity and safety. But reassuringly, so far there is no signal, she added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.