As of the early days of the mass vaccination campaigns, at least a few experts have been warning against the catastrophic impact such a program could have on global and individual health. Mass vaccination in the middle of a pandemic is prone to promoting selection and adaptation of immune escape variants that are featured by increasing infectiousness and resistance to spike protein (S)-directed antibodies (Abs), thereby diminishing protection in vaccines and threatening the unvaccinated. This already explains why the WHO’s mass vaccination program is not only unable to generate herd immunity (HI) but even leads to substantial erosion of the population’s immune protective capacity. As the ongoing universal mass vaccination program will soon promote dominant propagation of highly infectious, neutralization escape mutants (i.e., so-called ‘S Ab-resistant variants’), naturally acquired, or vaccinal neutralizing Abs, will, indeed, no longer offer any protection to immunized individuals whereas high infectious pressure will continue to suppress the innate immune defense system of the nonvaccinated.
This is to say that every further increase in vaccine coverage rates will further contribute to forcing the virus into resistance to neutralizing, S-specific Abs. Increased viral infectivity, combined with evasion from antiviral immunity, will inevitably result in an additional toll taken on human health and human lives. Immediate action needs, therefore, to be taken in order to dramatically reduce viral infectivity rates and to prevent selected immune escape variants from rapidly spreading through the entire population, whether vaccinated or not
In parallel with universal vaccination, more infectious strains have rapidly expanded in prevalence. According to molecular epidemiologists, Sars-CoV-2 is now also rapidly evolving towards resistance to S-specific Sars-CoV-2 Abs (9, 10). They have ascribed this to S-directed immune pressure that is now rapidly building up in the population. There can be no doubt that resistance to vaccinal Abs will be the endpoint of any mass vaccination program that uses modern vaccines during a pandemic of an acute self-limiting viral disease caused by a highly mutable virus.
That viral resistance to S-specific neutralizing Abs may occur is anything but a myth. To my knowledge, the most compelling example of a variant capable of escaping neutralizing anti-S Abs is the lambda variant of Sars-CoV-2. This variant has incorporated an important change in the N-terminal domain (NTD) of its spike protein. This antigenic shift causes the virus to become resistant to neutralizing Abs. The change is caused by a deletion mutation and prevents neutralizing Abs from binding to the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of S (11). Thanks to this mutation, the lambda variant may gain a substantial competitive advantage if the virus is suddenly put under substantial and widespread S-directed immune pressure. A prominent surge in cases (as has been observed, for example, in several South American countries) may lead to a dramatic increase in S-directed immune pressure, especially in healthy people who become rapidly re-exposed to the virus as a result of a steep increase in infectious pressure. This explains how all of a sudden an immune escape mutant that is capable of resisting S-specific antibodies can rapidly become predominant in populations that experience a substantial surge in cases. But also populations that are subject to mass vaccination can exert strong immune pressure on viral infectiousness (i.e., on S protein). This suggests that high vaccine coverage rates eventually turn populations in excellent breeding grounds for such vaccine-resistant variants.
Innate immunity critically contributes to protecting a population from Covid-19. This is why children and healthy people (i.e., not immune suppressed and without underlying disease) are enjoying a significant degree of protection from Covid-19 disease. Natural, innate antibodies (Abs) and Natural Killer (NK) cells can target non-mutable common structures in otherwise highly mutating viruses and hence, deal with all Sars-CoV-2 variants (1)
Innate immunity critically contributes to protecting a population from Covid-19. This is why children and healthy people (i.e., not immune suppressed and without underlying disease) are enjoying a significant degree of protection from Covid-19 disease. Natural, innate antibodies (Abs) and Natural Killer (NK) cells can target non-mutable common structures in otherwise highly mutating viruses and hence, deal with all Sars-CoV-2 variants (1). However, as they merely serve a first line of immune defense and have relatively low affinity, they’re not armed well enough to deal with high concentrations of pathogens (1, 2, 3). Although our innate immune defense system can be considered a very potent natural bioweapon against Sars-CoV-2, it is populated by Abs that can readily be outcompeted by spike protein (S)-specific Abs. This is because the binding affinity of antigen (Ag)-specific Abs for a specific antigen is much higher than the affinity of innate, polyreactive Abs for the same antigen (the latter primarily bind to multiple surface-expressed binding sites(1) through multivalent interactions (2); 3, 6, 7). This biophysical phenomenon already explains why morbidity and mortality rates tend to increase with increased infectious viral pressure (e.g., due to enhanced intrinsic infectiousness of the circulating virus or due to overcrowding, mass gatherings, close contacts etc., especially if combined with poor hygiene and housing conditions).
As abundantly reported in the literature and social media, vaccinated subjects do not only spread Sars-CoV-2 variants (4) but are now also increasingly developing symptomatic infections (5).