Misinformation about immunization against COVID-19 is still present on social networks. A viral tweet says that according to a German virologist, vaccines “destroy the innate immune system.” But this information is false.
The statement is credited to Geert Vanden Bossche, a virologist who has spread this misinformation since the beginning of vaccination processes. The doctor affirms that mass immunization creates a “pressure” on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, which “generates adverse effects on the innate immune system”.
The tweet contains an article by euskalnews.com, a Spanish web portal that publishes disinformation. In this work, the statements of Dr. Vanden Bossche are expanded in which the alleged adverse effects of vaccines in the body.
The Data Verification and Fact-checking Unit from Cocuyo effect investigated the functioning of vaccines in the innate immune system and the supposed negative consequences caused by anticovid vaccines in this area of defense and immunity of the human body.
Vaccines and the immune system
Carlota Dobaño, head of the Malaria Immunology group at the Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal) in Barcelona, explains for the vaccination website of the Government of Spain that the objective of vaccines is to activate the immune system and generate a memory that mimics infections, but without its adverse effects.
The Spanish researcher assures that, for this to happen, “vaccines incorporate the fundamental elements of the immune reaction: adjuvant, which stimulates innate immunity; and the antigen, which stimulates adaptive immunity; formulated with a vehicle that introduces them into the cells of the immune system ”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that vaccines, in general, activate the body’s defenses and trigger the response emitted by the immune system when it recognizes a virus and generates antibodies, remembers the disease and fights it. However, there are no warnings about significant detrimental effects of the injections on the immune system.
According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), vaccinated people may have mild side effects; for example, pain at the injection site, fever, and short-term muscle pain, which are common and a sign that the body is generating an immune response. If these symptoms are not present, it does not mean that the immunization did not generate protection.
Effectiveness of vaccines against spike protein
The note of euskalnews.com, which appears in the tweet, says that Dr. Vanden Bossche assures that vaccinated people are more susceptible to infection by the “Short life of antibodies” that fight the spike protein (the one used by the SARS-Cov-2 to mate and penetrate cells).
According to an article in the MedlinePlus medical journal of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the United States, thanks to the creation of the vaccine against MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus ) in 2016, which uses spike protein, SARS-CoV-2 vaccines also they can block it before combining with a human cell.
The work explains that, upon discovering the 2P mutation (adaptation of the spike protein into a certain shape before combining with a human cell) in the MERS-CoV vaccine, the developers of the anticovid injections had the advantage that the SARS-CoV-2 also uses spike protein.
“It helped advance COVID-19 vaccine research very quickly,” said Dr. Jason McLellan, associate professor of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Texas McLellan Laboratory, quoted in the article. In addition, the research ensures that, at least, vaccines Modern, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax they use the 2P mutation.
Do the antibodies produced by the vaccines “not match” the spike protein of the variants?
The German virologist also states in the same article: “Their vaccine antibodies do not match very well with the spike protein of the variants, because the spike protein in the variant is a different version, as you know, from the used in vaccines, which means that this vaccine can continue to spread the virus. “
A job in the Spanish environment The world explain what Alfa, Beta and Gamma are the variants that involve the spike protein in its adhesion process to human cells. According to their genetic makeup, these variants are composed as follows:
- Alfa: it has 23 mutations, of which eight are in the spike protein (including N501Y). It is transmissible at least 50% more than the original strain.
- Beta: of 21 component mutations, nine are in the spike protein (including N501Y). It is less transmissible than Alpha, but the E484K mutation makes it a potential immune evasion.
- Gamma: its mutations include spike protein N501Y and E484K. According to the research “it is between 1.4 and 2.2 times more transmissible compared to the ‘archaic’ coronavirus, a little less contagious than the Alpha variant.”
However, the article does not exclude vaccination as an alternative to avoid symptoms that lead to complications from COVID-19 or that the disease presents in a serious way in any of its variants.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the vaccines that have been approved to date are capable of both mitigating most variants of SARS-CoV-2 and of prevent severe symptoms disease, leading to hospitalization or even death of the patient.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Edcd), one way to attack the presence of the variants is through the “acceleration of vaccination, focusing on the groups most vulnerable to severe disease and determining the optimal dosage guidelines ”since, as there is a larger vaccinated population, the virus has fewer opportunities to replicate and mutate.
Vaccines in children
The viral tweet also says that Sucharit Bhakdi, a German doctor specializing in microbiology and epidemiology, claims that vaccines “Of all brands” they cause the immune system of children to “explode into action to fight the virus” and, as a consequence, create blood clots that can cause death.
According to a work published by the German medium German wave, the side effect that minors have suffered after being vaccinated has been the myocarditis. However, this condition has only occurred in those who have received messenger RNA-based vaccines (those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Modern).
“Myocarditis after vaccination with COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are adverse events confirmed but very rare that occur most frequently In the kids that in girls (…) the acute course of myocarditis is usually mild under hospital treatment; to date, no results are available on the possible long-term consequences, ”explains the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Germany, cited in the same article.
For vaccination against COVID-19 in children, the World Health Organization (WHO) has only authorized the use of the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech for over 12 years. However, in Europe they are also applying the Moderna injection, despite the fact that it has not yet been recommended by the international body for this age group.
Furthermore, the WHO has not approved the use of the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines in children, as are still under analysis. According to Jarbas Barbosa, deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the information from clinical trials in adolescents and children must be reviewed “very carefully” to ensure that they can receive these injections.
In conclusion, Cocuyo Check determined that the claims of Geert Vanden Bossche and Sucharit Bhakdi are false. If you receive chains or see suspicious information on social networks, you can forward them to [email protected] or to the WhatsApp number (0412) 015-0022, and thus you will be helping to combat misinformation.