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more jersey switching: "original antigenic sin" now discussed in mainstream media
and so another "fringe conspiracy theory" returns to being canon
perhaps the most stunning social issue issue of the last 3 years was not the widespread, uncritical submission of humanity to authority. anyone who has read their milgram and their asch saw that coming a mile away.
what amazed me most was the near instant pivot of entire fields of science away from that which has been known for 100 years and the adoption of literal fantasy in its place.
they took the diametric opposite of pretty much every epidemiological and biological precept and ran with it. suddenly, lockdowns worked, masks stopped spread, you could rush a vaccine to market and save lives by administering it during a pandemic, mRNA was well tested and safe, closing schools and banning travel and forcing bizarre 6 foot space limits were all canon and always had been.
and no one stood up. the “experts” who damn well knew better went silent or flounced gleefully to grasp the reins of power by cheerleading for the lysenkoization of medicine and the overturn of evidence in favor of fabulism.
the authors of THIS deeply evidence based research and study survey from 2006 flat out became lockdown cheerleaders.
i’m not going to lie, this sort of thing shocked me deeply. i expected better, expected sober and reasoned assessment and real debate from those who were truly informed. i expected a check or a balance somewhere where someone would stop to ask just who in hell we were letting run off with the keys to the kingdom and remember why no one lets university health modelers drive the global economy. and this was dangerous faith on my part. in retrospect, i’m a bit baffled that i fell for that or expected calm in a crisis when the wages of the fearmonger and the toady are so much greater.
live and learn.
the point of “science” is to remove emotion and adjudicate facts with dispassion, but the flaw in the system is not the method but the membership: science is done by humans and it turns out that “experts” are more, not less prone to being subsumed by asch and milgram than even “the lay.”
i doubt this owes to some defect in their constitutions. rather, i suspect it’s an artifact of their situations: they are members of groups, bodies, and agencies whose bread is buttered by the state and other such authoritarian institutions. they are dependent for accreditation, publication, and funding and subject to intense pressure for orthodoxy. step out of line and you’re anathema: unfunded, unpublished, and cast out to wander in solitary ignominy. don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
and this has the effect of utterly stifling debate. it renders topics taboo and research verboten. it flat out flips large pools of well established science on their heads and puts their canon in the hands of ideologues and grifters. that which was known becomes a conspiracy theory. that which was known to be wrong becomes the truth that may not be questioned.
and this is not the road to positive outcomes.
suddenly the same people who call gender a social construct but race intrinsic claim there is no such thing as “natural immunity” and those who hope for pfuture pfizer pfunding claim that “original antigenic sin” is a made up theory and that there is no way a leaky vaccine could rapidly drive such trends while hiding the evidence that this was EXACTLY what was happening.
but my how things they start to change:
of all the topics that kicked the vaccine zealot beehive, this one really took the cake. the idea that vaccines were causing immune fixation that then drove viral evolution in directions to take advantage of it and rapidly rendered the vaccinated more, not less likely to contract and spread covid really set people off. it was proof you had to be a kook and some kind of “anti-vaxxer” with lunatic ideas about how immunity works.
it would get you booted by the bluebird.
what a difference a year can make…
of course, they are presenting this as somehow “contested” and “open for debate” (which clearly all science should be) but claims like this:
have already been disproven. once you get the first double round of vaxx, you lose much of this adaptive ability. the “mouse boosters™” about to be on offer are unlikely to elicit much novel immune response in those already vaxxed. the “titers” chosen look to be very narrow and this shows up in the absurdly wide range of responses that seem to span about 100X of measured outcome. (p 25-6) the originals were not even a 10X span. something is deeply hinky there.
variant specific boosters are unlikely to help the vaxxed humans evade broader fixation. you can see what happened in a diverse study in an actual primate model.
this is another “flip to fabulism” based on a paucity evidence, none of it relevant or clinical.
so, while at least the issue is now publicly discussable, we’re still wrangling about nonsense that is also likely to fall apart.
but imagine how different things might be had we been able to have this debate from the outset.
because we could have.
the simple fact is that this was always straightforward science. it’s neither far fetched nor speculative. it’s actually REALLY simple and has been known since 1960.
Original antigenic sin, also known as antigenic imprinting or the Hoskins effect, refers to the propensity of the body's immune system to preferentially utilize immunological memory based on a previous infection when a second slightly different version of that foreign pathogen (e.g. a virus or bacterium) is encountered. This leaves the immune system "trapped" by the first response it has made to each antigen, and unable to mount potentially more effective responses during subsequent infections. Antibodies or T-cells induced during infections with the first variant of the pathogen are subject to a form of original antigenic sin, termed repertoire freeze.
it was basic, well understood mechanisms studied in influenza for generations.
it’s a flat out obvious outcome.
and yet when certain internet felines were asking this back in the fall of 2021, boy did the heat kick up.
people did not wanna hear this question, much less answer it.
and look, i’m not some hoskins effect wonk. this is not even my area of expertise (though it is adjacent to some). it was, like many things, just really pretty easy to figure out if you took the time to look with an open mind that happened to be attached to the open mouth of a mouthy internet cat.
it sounds funny, but that latter part is more important than people realize. i hardly had this all sussed from the jump. it took discussions and arguments and debate and challenge. it took reading other people’s ideas and having them read and tear into mine. that’s where science is done and how amateurs become expert. it’s how we unbury ourselves from mountains of woo-woo and figure out what’s real. nobody does it alone.
but this takes discourse.
and so all suppression of debate is suppression of science.
and because that was the course we took, the world got so many things so badly wrong.
there are an awful lot of people who should have been screaming about this the instant it became clear that the vaccines were leaky because this is what leaky vaccines do.
honestly, far more people should have been screaming about the very idea of using a vaccine mid-pandemic to try to stop spread because it’s outright contra-indicated.
but no one wanted to hear this.
and they wanted to see THIS evidence that it was occurring and worsening and that boosters were making it even more pronounced even less.
of THIS EFFECT
and the extrapolation from it is dire.
yet for the better part of a year, even mentioning that this was a debate worth having was all but impossible in public.
referencing a near century of studies was deemed “denialist zealotry” and most people simply shut you out at that point and stopped listening.
and that made heading this off while we still could impossible.
obviously, the time to explore such issues is before you jab 2 billion people, not after. “ready, fire, aim” is not a useful mantra for possibly permanent health interventions especially not when they run counter to a century of settled science.
many of us have likely learned a lot in the last few years. (i know i have)
but more than anything, more than any scientific precept or pandemic preparedness, we learned about experts.
almost none are the brave captains that save the plane when the engines flame out. most freeze up and do exactly the wrong thing either from panic or mis-incentive. there is not some group of wise sages (sorry, pun irresistible) that is ready to lead you to safety.
there is groupthink and panic and capture.
and so in times of crisis, trust yourself. trust your faculties and your sense. assess what is being said, by whom, and to what purpose for it may be something widely divergent from “fixing the crisis.” eschew those who seek to censor, that is never the side of science. and check your own assumptions too. we all get some things wrong. there is no shame in this. the shame lies in failing to assess and adapt, to evaluate and evolve.
minds fixate just like immune systems and systems of public health are positively sclerotic.
the mob and the overton window it permits can become deranged. decline the initiation to go with it.
it turns out that the ability to keep one’s head when all others around you are losing theirs is basically a superpower.