by Greg Piper
Anthony Fauci knows why COVID-19 vaccines have been so unreliable at halting infection and transmission beyond a few months. He waited until he stepped down as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to publicly explain it.
Elsevier’s medical journal Cell Host and Microbe published a “perspective” led by Fauci’s office last month that shows NIAID had good reason to believe COVID vaccines would fail even before they were authorized, based on research spanning Fauci’s 38-year tenure leading NIAID.
Dr. Fauci Calls for Next-Generation Vaccines for Respiratory Viruses
— Chief Nerd (@TheChiefNerd) February 7, 2023
U.S.-authorized COVID vaccines, overwhelmingly built on the novel mRNA platform, were designed to provide systemic rather than mucosal immunity, administered in arms rather than noses.
Critics of U.S. policy, including law professor Todd Zywicki, who secured a vaccine mandate exemption after suing George Mason University, have long emphasized that mucosal immunity — naturally prompted by infection — is the key to broad protection against COVID.
“I still run into people — even law professors who publish articles on Covid vaccines — who still know nothing about mucosal immunity,” Zywicki wrote in sharing a November study in The Lancet that found natural infection far more protective against reinfection than Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
The researchers speculated that “different roles of mucosal immunity” might explain the widening gap in protection after the second vaccine dose, given that vaccination “induces systemic immunity that might not be retained in the upper respiratory tracts.”
"Although natural infection was more protective than vaccination, the differences in protection were smaller soon after the second dose, and increased with time after the second dose. These findings might be explained by different roles of mucosal immunity." pic.twitter.com/2ZJKr7gAkH
— Todd Zywicki (@ToddZywicki) November 17, 2022
About a third of respondents had never heard of mucosal immunity in Zywicki’s Twitter poll in January.
The law professor shared his research-packed presentation on natural immunity versus vaccination, which covers mucosal immunity. Zywicki also filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of an Air Force service member challenging the military’s COVID vaccine mandates. Navy service members’ legal challenge to the COVID vaccine mandate cites similar mucosal-immunity research.
The NIAID paper affirms the importance of mucosal immunity while laying out the historic challenges to developing such vaccines and suggestions for next-generation vaccines.
If written by anyone other than federal public health officials, the paper could credibly trigger “misinformation” interventions by Big Tech, though Twitter actually did throttle a CDC-authored paper on plunging vaccine efficacy.
SARS-CoV-2 is among viruses that “replicate in the human respiratory mucosa without infecting systemically,” along with influenza A, RSV and common colds, and “have not to date been effectively controlled by licensed or experimental vaccines.”
The paper is especially hard on flu vaccines, which have a “decidedly suboptimal” track record and the best of which “would be inadequate for licensure for most other vaccine-preventable diseases,” they wrote. COVID vaccines are developing the same “deficiencies” as variants evolve around them.
“It is increasingly accepted that route of vaccine administration (e.g., intramuscular, intranasal, conjunctival, or aerosol routes) is a key determinant of mucosal respiratory response,” the authors wrote. “In general, and when feasible, mucosal immunization seems the optimal approach for respiratory viruses.”
Fauci’s belated admission on mucosal immunity spurred indignation on Twitter. “After 3 years he just announces this obvious point?” GMU’s Zywicki wrote.
“Fauci facing the music on Intramuscular [sic] injections don’t provide mucosal immunity,” wrote genomics researcher Kevin McKernan, a repeat target of Twitter sanctions.
“Wherein Fauci explains that a vaccine for Covid could never work to stop infection, spread, or end the pandemic” or even pass “normal trials,” wrote Jeffrey Tucker, whose Brownstone Institute challenges the scientific basis for mainstream COVID narratives.
Wherein Fauci explains that a vaccine for Covid could never work to stop infection, spread, or end the pandemic. Not only that but no attempt could ever have passed normal trials. https://t.co/1uPgrNNtqJ
— Jeffrey A Tucker (@jeffreyatucker) February 6, 2023
Fauci was less bearish on the mRNA vaccine platform when asked point blank by WebMD in an interview last week. He said it was “still uncertain” whether the problem is the platform itself or that “the response against coronaviruses [is] not a durable response,” floating the possibility of a nasal vaccine “in addition to a systemic vaccine.”
He called for “an inhaled blocker” that stops infection early in a pandemic, and predicted that within a decade “we will have a toolset for respiratory pandemics that will be excellent.” For now, his foundation is “sitting on millions of doses” of Pfizer’s oral antiviral Paxlovid that can’t be deployed because it only works in early intervention.
The NIAID team’s paper, “Rethinking next-generation vaccines for coronaviruses, influenzaviruses, and other respiratory viruses,” is the only paper in the Jan. 11 issue of Cell Host and Microbe published with no sign of peer review, including received, revised and accepted dates. That raises the possibility that authors Fauci, his senior scientific adviser David Morens, and Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section Chief Jeffery Taubenberger could time the submission so its publication wouldn’t cause problems for the then-NIAID leader.
COVID-related research that challenges government narratives, on the other hand, has faced lengthy publishing delays and sometimes the scarlet letter of a post-publication “editor’s note” or a full-on retraction, including preprint studies awaiting peer review.
Neither NIAID nor Cell Host and Microbe responded to Just the News queries about the timing of publishing and the review process.
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Greg Piper has covered law and policy for 15 years, with a focus on tech companies, civil liberties and higher education.