Recently, French virologist and Nobel laureate Luc Montagnier made a statement on the vaccine and variants of Corona which was very much discussed. Luke claimed that the antibodies made from the vaccine would give rise to new variants of the corona and would take an epidemic and dangerous form. However, all doctors and scientists have rejected Luke’s claim. India’s famous vaccine scientist Gagandeep Kang has also called Luke’s claim baseless.
Gagandeep said that the only way to reduce COVID-19 variants is to increase vaccination. He said, ‘It is scientifically factless to say that vaccination is wrong on a large scale.’ Kang said that Luke had apparently not said that all the people who had the vaccine would die in two years, as some are claiming, he said that the antibodies made through the vaccine make new variants of the virus. ‘
Doctor Kang wrote in a tweet, “Luke said that antibodies dependent on the vaccine would lead to infection from the variant due to antibody dependent enhancement (ADE), mass vaccination is a big mistake, a medical mistake. ‘ Kang tweeted that his claim is not true.
Doctor Kang said, ‘When we get infected or when we get the vaccine applied, antibodies are made in response to the whole virus or part of the virus in our body. In viral infection, the body’s immune response, including antibodies, stops viral replication and we recover from the infection. ‘
Training the Immune System – Describing vaccination as ‘preparation and prevention’, Dr. Kang said that our immune response does not start fighting the virus immediately, rather it gives training to the immune system to identify the virus. Very few people are immunocompromised (weak immunity). It is possible that virus replication will remain in these people for a long time. In such rare cases, variants can develop because they are immune to immune response.
Dr. Kang said that the variants are many, but the immunity-avoiding variants are few. He said, ‘As the virus spreads on a large scale through population. Some variants are more capable of avoiding immunity made from the vaccine. These make the effect of the vaccine somewhat less effective. Perhaps we are currently seeing the same with B1.351 and B1.617.2. However, according to data from Qatar and UK, two doses of the vaccine provide protection.
Dr. Kang said, ‘The only way to reduce the variants is not to stop vaccination but to increase it, only then can the virus be prevented from spreading.’ He said that it has been observed in studies that the vaccine reduces viral replication in people and prevents the spread of infection. It is effectively reducing viral load all over the world.
He said, ‘In clear and simple terms, if viruses do not replicate, then they can neither be mutated nor can become new variants.’ He said that all the vaccines are being evaluated to make a greater amount of neutralizing antibodies and it is being found that the vaccine is producing the right amount of neutralizing antibodies.
What is ADE?
ADE, ie antibody dependent enhancement, occurs when antibodies formed during the activation of the immunodeficiency identify the virus and hold it, but fail to prevent infection. In this situation, antibodies make the entry of the virus into the cells easier and become difficult for immune response.
Actually, our immune system fights viruses through cells and proteins. Immune response in the initial phase of infection is not entirely focused on the virus. This is called Innate immunity. Adaptive immunity works within a few days of infection and it targets the virus precisely. Antibodies are also involved in this fight. Their main function is to prevent the virus from entering the cells and spreading the infection. Antibodies that prevent the virus from entering the cells are called neutralizing antibodies. Many vaccines also work through these antibodies.
However, the antibody response is not uniform every time. In very rare cases it happens that antibodies do not prevent the virus from entering the cells. On the contrary, they further increase the ability of the virus to enter the cells. This is called antibody dependent enhancement. However, in the case of Corona’s vaccine, scientists have not found any such indication yet.
In another tweet by Dr. Kang, he wrote, ‘Will the neutralizing antibody variants of the virus form the virus? This can be understood from the situation of dengue in which there is no old or new form of the virus. It has four different serotypes that infect it sequentially. ‘
‘Dengue infection for the first time gives less antibodies to the type 1 virus or the vaccine used for one type of dengue infection does not produce good neutralizing antibodies and makes the person infected become more ill.’ However, this is not the case with the SARS-CoV2 vaccine based on the old virus / spike. Its neutralizing ability to reduce the new variants may be reduced, but it is wrong to say that it will be completely ineffective. The vaccine is working.
In an interview to ‘The Hindu’, immunologist Professor Vinita Bal had said that neutralizing antibodies are good antibodies but this does not mean that the rest of the antibodies are bad. It has not been proved yet. He said, ‘Their usefulness may be limited. Some antibodies go towards ADE (Antibody Dependent Enhancement), which can be called dangerous or bad. But among a large number of antibodies, it is impossible to identify such ADE-causing antibodies. ‘