Strange times | The Spectator Australia

As a clinical immunologist with a research interest in mucosal immunology and airway infection, the Covid-19 pandemic became a point of convergence for my interests in medicine, research and history.

A pattern of confusion had evolved in Australian pandemics in the 20th century, followed by a science-based rebound led by great Australians such as Ashburton Thompson with plague in 1900 and, Macfarlane Burnet and Peter Doherty with influenza in 1919, 1957,1968 and Frank Fenner and eradication of smallpox in 1980. Lessons were learnt and the community prepared for the next pandemic.

The response to the Covid pandemic by a powerful pharmaceutical industry became a point of difference. Earlier pandemics were a tussle between medical and political leaderships, which between 1900 and 1970 diminished as science-based programmes were adopted and supported. Outcomes included strong public health systems and world leading research programmes in immunology and infection control.

An Australian response to pandemics over 70 years was a critical influence in public health and applied research reflecting informed leadership.

The Covid-19 pandemic has not followed that course.

Suddenly everyone was an ‘epidemiologist’, dominating the airwaves and working with political and regulatory organisations to protect the global narrative, reinforced and uncritically accepted by the mainline press, to ‘combat spread of harmful vaccine disinformation’.

Three years ago, there was every reason to fear Covid-19. High mortality and transmission rates were reported in China, and the world experience with pandemics was sobering. No effective drug or vaccine existed, with management focussed on public health measures. Genetic vaccines were available from January 2021, with Australia becoming one of the most vaccinated countries. Total Covid-19 deaths per million paralleled global mortality, though later in the pandemic from the less virulent Omicron variant. This surge followed relaxation of lockdowns, and the vaccine booster programme

Returning to 2020, it was natural to think that vaccines may play a role in managing Covid-19. In various forms, vaccines were used in earlier pandemics without playing a decisive role. There were important lessons that should have informed a less sanguine approach to the narrative of mRNA vaccines being the global panacea for Covid-19. This information was available before 2021!

The apologists backtracking on mistakes in the vaccine roll-out, with ‘we just did not know’, have no argument.

First, 80 years of vaccine development for inhaled viral infections, failed to develop one sterilising vaccine capable of inducing herd immunity. Second, no vaccine induces stronger immunity than that following the disease, yet it took a recent Lancet meta-analysis to confirm that post Covid-19 trumps vaccine immunity. Third, respiratory viruses like Sars-CoV-2 infect a mucosal space subject to the rules of mucosal immunology. The major difference from the systemic immune response to invasive pathogens is suppression of all immune responses by T reg cells (to control the inflammatory response to the sea of microbes bathing mucosal surfaces). With Covid-19, immunity following injected vaccines is limited; repeated ‘boosters’ favour progressive immune suppression with more frequent and more severe infections. ‘Allergy-shots’ do the same – they turn off damaging immune responses to inhaled antigens. There is little cross-over between compartments: injected vaccines will not prevent infection, or transmission of disease (a claim used to support community vaccination). Fourth, RNA viruses undergo mutations facilitating ‘immune escape’, risking ‘selection’ of mutant virus by non-sterilising vaccines.

These ‘rules’ predict outcomes of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out. Vaccination induced systemic immunity probably prevented admission to hospital and death by neutralising virus that ‘escaped’ from the mucosal compartment, but only early in the pandemic when vaccine antigen matched prevailing virus and before priming of suppression from repeated vaccinations. There was no impact on infection or transmission of the virus. Repeated ‘boosters’ gave 30 to 40 per cent protection for a couple of months, followed by cumulating ‘negative protection’ with more severe and frequent infections. New Zealand figures indicate higher Covid-19 mortality in every age bracket, in those with ‘boosters’, reflecting a global pattern described by some as a ‘pandemic of the vaccinated’.

The mRNA vaccines differ from classical antigen vaccines. They spread and persist for months, producing Spike protein (the viral antigen stimulating immune protection) on cells throughout the body. The consequences are an uncontrolled amount of antigen that can downregulate antibody, and a new target for T cells to attack. Reports of serious adverse events following Covid-19 vaccination including heart and brain damage and deaths outstrips combined reports for all other vaccines. Prospective study of adolescents using laboratory and MRI technology showed 2 to 3 per cent had myocarditis, contrasting with less sensitive hospital figures of one in 10,000 vaccinations. Asymptomatic myocarditis leaves a scar, claimed to underpin a recent spate of adrenaline-initiated deaths on sporting fields. German post-mortem studies confirm vaccine pathology as a significant cause of sudden unexplained deaths. Statisticians across the world are seeing an increase in deaths of the order of 10 to 20 per cent greater than noted in previous years, time-matched with vaccine rollouts. These data demand proper assessment despite dismissal by authorities. Reversal of mRNA encoded information into host DNA has been documented, with unknown impact on the recipient or their progeny.

The point is this. How could a novel vaccine involving mRNA with scarce testing, with no demonstrated advantage over traditional vaccines, against all principles of mucosal immunology, and likely complicated by major  adverse events, not be red-flagged by the medical-regulatory network charged with our protection? Peter Doshi, an editor of the prestigious BMJ, co-authored a review of the trial data used to underpin vaccine mandates. The authors concluded, ‘the risk of serious adverse events surpassed the risk reduction for Covid-19 hospitalisation’, demanding a ‘formal harm-benefit analysis’. This never occurred. How can it be?

We live in strange times, when the globalisation of a narrative formulated and promoted by powerful interests linked to the lure of massive profit and control, threatens 500 years of the enlightenment and science. In Australia, acceptance of the Covid-narrative was made easy by the unrecognised power of these interests and a disintegration of core medical structures that once would have demanded science-based analysis, regulatory integrity and effective review. The introduction of unique, clever technology blindsided mainstream professionals who failed to understand the implications of genetic vaccines, or the immunology of the airway. These ‘experts’ and bureaucrats made poor decisions which became rubber-stamped by administrators and politicians. ‘Cancellation’ threats to those scientists and clinicians wishing to speak out against the narrative, enabled disinformation to become convention, with frightening unknown consequences.

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM was Foundation Professor of Pathology in the Medical School, University of Newcastle. He is a clinical immunologist.

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