by UnHerd
Thursday, 26
August 2021
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11:20

‘Bombshell’ study finds natural immunity superior to vaccination

If the findings are confirmed, the implications for Covid policy will be profound
by UnHerd
Credit: Getty

A major study conducted by Israeli researchers into natural immunity has found that immunity acquired via infection from Covid-19 is superior to immunity from the Pfizer vaccine.

Researchers at Maccabi Healthcare and Tel Aviv University compared the outcomes of over 76,000 Israelis in three groups: the doubly vaccinated (with the Pfizer vaccine), the previously infected but unvaccinated, and the previously infected with only a single vaccine dose.

They found that fully vaccinated but uninfected people were significantly more likely to have a “breakthrough” Covid infection than people who had previously been infected and recovered from the disease.

“This study demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalisation caused by the Delta variant,” the authors conclude.

The study is only published as a preprint at this stage and has not been peer reviewed. Critics including British immunologist Andrew Croxford have pointed out potential limitations, but it has been described by infectious diseases expert Professor Francois Balloux as a “bombshell” development.

If the findings are confirmed, the implications for global Covid policy will be profound.

It would not undermine the importance of vaccination for more vulnerable groups in society. However it would weaken the case for vaccinating children, despite the programme being confirmed in the UK today, as they (and the people around them) would get superior future protection from contracting the disease. And it would pose a fundamental challenge to the singular emphasis on vaccine passports for travel and large events, if unvaccinated people who have already had Covid actually pose less of a risk.

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Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
1 year ago

Not exactly surprising. Why that wasn’t obvious to the medical establishment is beyond me. Obviously, having COVID-19 will generate both B and T cell immunity against many more targets than vaccines comprising a single component (the spike protein) of the virus.
Hopefully this study will introduce a bit of common sense back into public health policies, especially those concerning vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, vaccination of children and young people. Somehow, however, I doubt it because so many of our public health officials both in the UK and US have gone so clearly off the deep end.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Exactly…. Logic has left the room in Covid times.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

This is what you would naively expect, yes – although it is hard to predict by how much. The reason it was not ‘obvious to the medical establishment’, is that until now the available data pointed in the opposite direction, and people went with the data. Maybe we are now getting better data, or maybe this result will evaporate once the details get looked at. Either way, no reason to get all het up about it.

Dalla Jenney
Dalla Jenney
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Not quite true. It was obvious from the beginning that if the vaccine comprises only one of four structural proteins that make up the virus, then it could never confer immunity against the other 3 which, interestingly, are much more highly conserved so immunity to the Nucleocapsid, Envelope or Lipid proteins would be much more likely to remain effective against new variants. But if you have the natural infection then you are likely to have immunity against all 4 structural proteins. Presumably scientists targeted the Spike protein in the hope of achieving sterilising immunity. That dream is truly gone on the data. Two other issues with targeting the S proteins rather than N,L or E are that the spike is a toxin which the vaccine instructs you to produce with all the negative effects that can have. Might not be the case if the target was a more neutral protein. Secondly, the Spike has a different conformation pre and post fusion. If you tackle the pre fusion shape then you might get sterilising immunity but it will be of little help post infection. If you target the post fusion configuration then there’s no chance of sterilising immunity and you might as well have picked a different protein target (which isn’t so changed with new variants). I dunno. I am no expert. I’ve just read immunology text books and thought about it.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Dalla Jenney

One thing you are not considering is that the spike protein is all over the virus surface so that the immune system will definitely see it. Other proteins are hidden inside the virus particle and/or only come out inside infected cells. The spike protein is therefore a much more accessible target, and also more likely to trigger a response. It is not given that other proteins will trigger a response at all.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
Norman Powers
Norman Powers
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

The data could not have pointed in the other direction, because the most that could be said about vaccines is that they provide immunity up to the length of time there had been vaccinated people, which is obviously shorter than the amount of time there have been naturally infected people. The most you could say is e.g. a vaccine seems to protect people for at least the N months since they took it, but vaccine failure (against infection) has been widely reported for months now. I’ve been reading about it for at least two or three months it feels like. Maybe a bit less.
No. What we actually saw was ‘scientists’ simply pulling out of their rear the assumption that natural infection only confers six months of protection (why six? half of 12 innit), whereas vaccines must protect you forever. Why so? Well because science is great, INNIT? I genuinely cannot find any reasoning behind this belief deeper than that.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Norman Powers

Protection lengths can only be done now. What could be done earlier (and surely was) was to compare how many got sick among people who were previously infected / vaccinated. And those data did point in the other direction.

Alyona Song
Alyona Song
1 year ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Certainly I share your doubts that the study will make public health policies common sense simply because the public health officials are there only for themselves, their skin and spoils.

William Clothier
William Clothier
1 year ago

I hope this means that governments will start to recognise and treat those that have recovered from the disease with the same conditions than those that are vaccinated. Currently it is not the case. I still have positive antibody results 12 months after infection and thus have some level of immunity. And yet I do not have the same freedoms to travel or excemptions from quarantine. I think this is profoundly unjust and calls into serious question the logic and goals of what governments are really trying to achieve in tackling the ill effects of this particular disease.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

So obviously it is nothing to do with stopping covid, but about getting everyone vaccinated. There are a vast amount of Youtubes which manage to bypass the censorship by ducking around it a bit ‘Cerveza sickness’

George Gammon, and has his own youtube channel – has loads of them, he is a fun watch – his thing is economics, and everyone can use some fundamentals on that – the person hosting him is a ‘Gold Bug’ so a bit of a cook, but worth a watch instead of yet more Netflix kind of Cr*p.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFEzklNqBkk

Here is George and why this is about Freedom, not health, the way it is being done (I, and him, and everyone, is not against the Vax – get it, but against the gov response as it is total loss of rights and freedom – and very spooky how it is being done)

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

indeed: we need to think about freedom in medicine as well: freedom not to always have to rely on the next pill prescribed by the doctor and doctored by a company.
Remember that pharma companies are there because we are looking for a pill to pop to solve our problems. As long as we think that way, they will remain efficient in keeping us dependent on them…. we have to consider that it is ‘our fault’ that they can exist and be effective in making their business successful…

George Glashan
George Glashan
1 year ago

good article, but WTF is going on with science these days?

surely the idea that experience of a real thing as opposed to a facsimile of that thing producing better results cannot be new to the field of science??

or am I the idiot, my whole life I’ve been eating food but i could have just eaten a picture of food and derived all the same nutritional benefit?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  George Glashan

THIS IS PROOF THE WHOLE COVID RESPONSE IS NOT ABOUT HEALTH, BUT ABOUT CONTROL OF THE PEOPLE.

This has been known from the start, yet ‘Covid Passports’ have always ignored natural immunity. Employers requiring vaccines, Gov, Military, Schools, Transport, Travel requiring vaccines is OBVIOUSLY nothing to do with immunity and reduced transmission as it ignores natural immunity, a much better form of immunity, and numbers in multi-millions.

Why do they require vaccines for those who had covid and have better immunity????? It has to mean the Gov, the Medical Industrial Complex wants everyone vaccinated, and not for health reasons – or the naturally immune would be exempted. WTF Are they up to?

New World Order?

Karl Schuldes
Karl Schuldes
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I think you’re overstating the control thing. It’s no doubt true that many were enjoying the power, but I think most of the Governors and Mayors were just engaging in the old CYA (Brits may not know this is “cover your a- -“). They knew the media would look at one number: deaths, followed by another thing: whom to blame. By taking the most extreme action they protected themselves from the media: “They can’t say we didn’t do enough!” Corrupt media + corrupt government = fiasco. I think you’re right however that at the higher levels of power, it was a practice run for total control.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Karl Schuldes

No, like saying the early 30s Germany were just individuals acting authoritarian – no it was led. The MSM, Social Media, Tech search engines algorythms, the experts the Government selected, the Medical/pharma industrial complex hijacking the nations, the rights trampled – it was not just happenstance.

Norman Powers
Norman Powers
1 year ago

It won’t have any profound implications, because they’ll just ignore it, like they’ve ignored all the other evidence that contradicts their chosen path since the start.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
1 year ago

It might be a “bombshell” to scientists, but those of us out here with more than three brain cells have been telling them this for the last 18 months. Human beings have an immune system for a reason and this is the reason.

Jordan Flower
Jordan Flower
1 year ago

Nothing new here.
A similar study from over a month ago showed basically the same thing: https://www.cell.com/cell-reports-medicine/fulltext/S2666-3791(21)00203-2
If that didn’t get any traction, then I wouldn’t expect this “bombshell” to change any policy in any meaningful way.
No one is interested in “following the science”. They are following the power. Simple as that.

Jordi Selassie
Jordi Selassie
1 year ago

My concern is that the response to Covid, like so many things, has become quasi-religious: a manichaen struggle in which the saved and the damned are visibly distiguished by public mask wearing; the word ‘deniers’ used as if describing heretics; Schoolchildren not wearing masks called “murderers”.
In such a fanaticised world I pessimistically expect that this new information will not be used to effect policy, but will be accepted or dismissed depending on whether one supports Trump or Biden, in our current batlle of good versus evil.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jordi Selassie
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jordi Selassie

Revelation13:16-18 New International Version (NIV). 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark,”

And if you like wandering down the conspiracy rabbit-hole:

“MIT has been developing the quantum tattoo at Bill Gates’ direction and funding. MIT researchers have “found a covert way to embed the record of a vaccination directly in a patient’s skin rather than documenting it electronically or on paper — and their low-risk tracking system could greatly simplify the process of maintaining accurate vaccine records, especially on a larger scale”

Check out Bill and his Quantum dot tattoo – there is a ton on it with the quickest search, and he really did develop it for vaccine programs….

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

It’s simply a way of keeping check on who has been vaccinated – innit?
https://www.sciencealert.com/an-invisible-quantum-dot-tattoo-is-being-suggested-to-id-vaccinated-kids

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
1 year ago

I have a “bombshell” question: why is there a global assumption that everyone SHOULD AND WILL get this virus? How about those 97% of the world population, 89% of American population or 90.5% percent of British population that never got it and NEVER WILL? Cancer and heart disease are many many times more spread than this virus. Not everyone (FAR not everyone) got it or will ever get it – for many reasons, one of them being our natural immunity to coronaviruses. How come a 100% vaccination is needed globally when on;y 3% of the world population ever got it – and even that according to unreliable and unsuitable for the purpose PCR tests? If in 1.5 year only 3% of the world population got that virus, what is the probability that even 20% of the world population will ever get this virus any time soon? How many years do we need so at least 50% of the population gets the virus? 10, 20, 30 years? And why are there lockdowns and total masking, if the risk to ever get it (in symptomatic or asymptomatic form) is so low? What happened to risk assessments and probability?

Last edited 1 year ago by Lena Bloch
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Lena Bloch

Lots of answers to this one:

  • PCR tests are highly reliable. Only weak point is that they keep showing positive for a bit *after* you have been infected,
  • Coronavirus is highly contagious, cancer and heart disease are not.
  • Before vaccination, what proportion of the population NEVER EVER GOT measles?
  • Natural immunity to coronaviruses may exist but has yet to be demonstrated.
  • Coronavirus hs killed, what, 8 milion people so far? How many more do you ned before you decide this is worth doing something about?
Vibeke Lawrie
Vibeke Lawrie
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

8 million people is indeed a lot of people. World population is 7.8 billion. I am hopeless at maths so unable to work out % dying from Coronavirus. Rasmus please do the sum.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Vibeke Lawrie

If you mean that 8 million deaths is not worth bothering about, considering how many people there are in the world, please say it explicitly.

Vibeke Lawrie
Vibeke Lawrie
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Nowhere did I suggest that any number of deaths is not worth bothering about. Death alas is inevitable for us, all at some point, and so far unavoidable. So was interested in %.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Vibeke Lawrie

My apologies. I assumed that no one in our dayt and age would be unable to work out the artithmetic (Google can do it for you), so you had to mean something else. Anyway, 8 million is about 0.103% of 7.8 billion.

What difference does it make?

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
Hennie Booysen
Hennie Booysen
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Last time I checked deaths with Covid (important to note “with and not “from”) was around 4.5M which is pretty far from 8M. But as you said, what difference does it make?

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Hennie Booysen

I think I got my number form The Economist. Anyway, their estimate, as of May 2021 was about 10 million +/- 3 million. 4.5 million is the is the current headline number of *confirmed* COVD deaths. The difference is a matter of worldwide COVID deaths that are not reported as such – which counts for s a lot more than the nitpicking about ‘with but not from’.

Anyway, how many deaths will it take before you decide that this is worth doing something about?

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
Vibeke Lawrie
Vibeke Lawrie
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Rasmus I am ancient and not technologically brilliant, nor am I at maths/arithmetic. Blame that on probably not the best education in the world. Your name like mind sound danish?

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
1 year ago
Reply to  Vibeke Lawrie

Comparing statistics across the world is pretty meaningless as the risk of catching Covid varies widely, let alone the risk of becoming ill from it. As a farmer, I spend most of my days alone outside. The risk of me catching Covid is very different to someone who lives & works in a city & travels on public transport.

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

PCR tests are highly reliable – only that they can be used to manipulate the number of positive cases by adjusting the Cycle threshold (Ct) and cannot determine whether the particles they are primed to discover and amplify are potent or dead – which if you look for them at the back of the nose – which is a first defence against infection – is the most likely outcome.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
1 year ago

The statistics quoted do not give sufficient information to determine the merit of vaccinating people that are less vulnerable to death or illness. The data I have seen suggests that the vaccine is less effective in the most vulnerable so those people either need to be shielded or infections need to be kept low (or, as some seem to suggest, left to die). What is needed is evidence of the type protection (contracting, symptoms, infectiouness, illness, death) given by various levels of antibodies and the levels that prevail after infection and vaccination. Data does suggest that some people are naturally more resistant so it would be good to know why.

Ken Moss
Ken Moss
1 year ago

Immune system. It does what it says on the packet.
“Virus Mania” is book available on Kindle for a few pounds. It blows the lid off virus’s and vaccines.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Potentially very good news, as it means that booster vaccinations should be largely unnecessary for large numbers of the population.
Whilst the data from the UK and elsewhere is showing initial inoculation reduces the risk of severe symptoms and death, as witnessed by the current large case numbers and relatively few hospitalisations, it appears that once the original vaccines have been administered letting the virus circulate the general population is preferable to extra jabs, with the possible exception of the those in the greatest risk categories who may require extra top ups as they currently do with the flu jabs

Jacob Mason
Jacob Mason
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I quite agree. It seems very good news! A future involving endless cycles of annual or biennial re-administering tweaked vaccines to most of the population is not appealing to me.
Here is hoping that immunity lasts longer than is currently thought as well.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jacob Mason
Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

mmmm, it may well be that those who took the vaccine are tied in to forever keeping vaccinating for the new variants: I hope this shall not be true….

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Why would that be the case? There are many who were vaccinated who have since contracted the virus, however when they do they tend to have much milder symptoms

Friedrich Tellberg
Friedrich Tellberg
1 year ago

By the way: I tried to download the pdf of the full original preprint at Medrxiv, but didn’t succeed. Probably just a temporary technical problem. But I couldn’t check the content any further.

Sheila Lisster
Sheila Lisster
1 year ago

I am dismayed, to say the least, that I posted this article on facebook, adding it surely works against the case for vaccinating 12 to 15 year olds, and here it was flagged as ‘misinformation’.

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
1 year ago

Rather than mass inoculation with experimental nRNA particles we should be checking T cell immunity levels at a population level
Then we could protect the vulnerable with off the shelf repurposed medicines that have proven very effective against this particular “virus”.
Telling people with symptoms to stay home with a dose of paracetamol until they become ill enough to go to hospital is a criminally irresponsible piece of advice which loses up to a 10 day treatment window – which would have stopped there being an epidemic never mind the goat of misrule type.

Andrea X
Andrea X
1 year ago

“the previously infected with a single dose.”
It says it all…

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I do not understand your comment. He is clearly referring to infected with Covid previous to receiving a single dose of the vaccine. The vaccine does not contain the key information in the virus that enables it to replicate.

Andrea X
Andrea X
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

I know, but the sentence is very poorly phrased.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrea X

But the real thing is why vaccinated with a single dose after recovered from infection. After your broken arm heals do they make you wear a splint and brace on it ‘just in case’?

Friedrich Tellberg
Friedrich Tellberg
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I agree that they should have made a clear distinction between all three categories (naive & doubly vaccinated; previously infected & unvaccinated; previously infected & vaccinated with a single dose). But even if there were no unvaccinated people in the sample at all, it is still remarkable that the protection by a previous infection + one dose outperforms the naive cases that are doubly vaccinated.
At least this may revise the mysterious claim held by many an expert earlier this year that immunity after infection was inferior (and shorter lived) than immunity after vaccination.

Andrea X
Andrea X
1 year ago

Naive?

Friedrich Tellberg
Friedrich Tellberg
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I am sorry. By naive, I meant “uninfected”. It is the word the preprint article uses in its abstract for “uninfected” (I was a bit confused on what I was reading where).

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrea X

‘Naive’ is medical jargon for ‘haven’t been exposed to it’ or ‘haven’t been infected with it’, depending. There is a bit of a problem with diseases (such as covid) where there is significant asymptomatic infection. There ‘naive’ may only mean ‘never got sick enough to take a test at a point in time when the test could measure the presence of the infection, or the presence of antibodies which demonstrate a prior infection’. It would be useful to know how many people get sick and never notice it, and if there is any relationship between how sick you got and how long and effective your immunity is.

Last edited 1 year ago by Laura Creighton
Andrea X
Andrea X
1 year ago

Thanks. You never stop learning.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
1 year ago

Why is everybody surprised? Is what we do in labs better than nature…… ? time to grow up world….

andrew harrison
andrew harrison
1 year ago

So after having Covid and having both jabs am I super immune or does one cancel out the other ? Talk about confusing.

Kristof K
Kristof K
1 year ago

Presumably it’s still safer to be vaccinated than to catch the disease.

Neven Curlin
Neven Curlin
1 year ago

Save the vaccines!