By: Sayer Ji, Founder
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Immunity to a disease is achieved through the presence of antibodies to that disease in a person’s system.”[i] This, in fact, is the main justification for using vaccines to “boost” immunity, and a primary focus of vaccine research and development.
And yet, newly published research has revealed that in some cases no antibodies are required for immunity against some viruses.
Published in the journal Immunity in March, 2011, and titled, “B cell maintenance of subcapsular sinus macrophages protects against a fatal viral infection independent of adaptive immunity,” researchers found that mice infected with vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) can suffer fatal invasion of their central nervous system even in the presence of high concentrations of “neutralizing” antibodies against VSV.[ii]
The researchers found that while B-cells were essential for surviving a systemic VSV infection through the modulation of innate immunity, specifically macrophage behavior, the antibodies they produce as part of the adaptive immune response were “neither needed nor sufficient for protection.” These findings, according to the study authors, “…contradict the current view that B cell-derived neutralizing antibodies are absolutely required to survive a primary cytopathic viral infection, such as that caused by VSV.”
The discovery that antibodies are not required for protection against infection, while counterintuitive, is not novel. In fact, not only are antibodies not required for immunity, in some cases high levels are found in the presence of active, even lethal infections. For example, high serum levels of antibodies against tetanus have been observed failing to confer protection against the disease. A report from 1992 published in the journal Neurology found severe tetanus in immunized patients with high anti-tetanus titers, one of whom died as a result of the infection.[iii]
These research findings run diametrically opposed to currently held beliefs regarding the process by which we develop immunity against infectious challenges. Presently, it is a commonly held view that during viral infections, innate immunity must activate adaptive responses in order to achieve effective immunity. It is believed that this is why the immune system has developed a series of innate defenses, including complement, type I interferon, and other “stopgap measures,” which work immediately to lower pathogen burden and “buy time” for the much slower adaptive immune response to develop.
This view, however, has been called into question by the new study: “Although this concept may apply to other viral infections, our findings with VSV turn this view upside down, indicating that during a primary infection with this cytopathic virus, innate immunity can be sterilizing without adaptive immune contributions.”
Does this strike a mortal blow to the antibody theory which underlies vaccinology, and constitutes the primary justification for the CDC’s focus on using vaccines to “boost” immunity?
Indeed, in vaccinology, which is the science or method of vaccine development, vaccine effectiveness is often determined by the ability of a vaccine to increase antibody titers, even if this does not translate into real-world effectiveness, i.e. antibody-antigen matching. In fact, regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, often approve vaccines based on their ability to raise antibody titers, also known as “vaccine efficacy,” without requiring proof of vaccine effectiveness, as would seem logical.
The obvious problem with these criteria is that the use of vaccine adjuvants like mercury, aluminum hydroxide, mineral oil, etc. – all of which are intrinsically toxic substances — will increase antibody titers, without guaranteeing they will neutralize the targeted antigen, i.e. antibody-antigen affinity. To the contrary, many of these antibodies lack selectivity, and target self-structures, resulting in the loss of self-tolerance, i.e. autoimmunity.