many have looked at rises in covid cases as vaccination efforts take off and have wondered if this is more than mere correlation. in many cases, a lot of it seems driven by a rise in testing that accelerates at the same time as vaccination. this has been especially true in asia where many countries were testing as such low levels that their sample rate rose by 10X around vaccinations and was still 80-90% lower than many western nations. this has driven apparent case spikes that are more data artifact than epidemic.
but this does not seem to explain all or even most of the phenomenon globally. we get studies like THESE that actually track covid risk ratio post vaccination and many show that risk of testing positive for covid rises for about 9 days post 1st dose of mRNA vaccine and does not really drop until day 14.
this has led many to posit that there is a window of added vulnerability to covid that comes from the first vaccination. while this is possible, i’d like to put forward another explanation that i think may better suit the data:
this is not actually covid. it’s just something that tests positive for covid.
i recently spoke about mRNA vaccines and the manner in which they provide instructions to code for a protein (S1) that is sufficiently similar to the S protein from covid 19 to elicit an immune response that developed immunity to wild covid. the data there has some striking similarities to the curves above.
the S1 protein is found in plasma in high concentrations on a curve that looks an awful lot like the curve of increased vulnerability. we also see actual covid S proteins released starting right around peak vulnerability risk ratio of 9 days. (posited from cell necrosis releasing non-active virus)
what we do NOT see however, is a rise in IgG-nucleocapsid and we would see that if this were a real covid infection by live virus.
so this raises an interesting question: is the spike in “positive tests for covid” really just PCR tests mistaking the S1 protein or trace, non-clinical virus released as part of the immune response/training cycle?
this seems plausible, at least in many cases. TaqPath, for example, targets the S gene. so do many others. it could easily be that they are mistaking either S1 for S or that they are catching trace covid that is widely present in people now (endemic) but not clinical or even “live” because the activated immune system is killing the cells in which it resided.
this seems a parsimonious and plausible explanation for the odd “case bumps” and rise in risk ratio observed post vaccination.
this analysis is admittedly very limited at this point. the ogata study was very small and it’s far from definitive that it can be directly compared to the risk studies, but it looks like a useful thread on which to pull.
would love to see some more data here and get some thoughts on how one could flesh this out and either bolster or refute this idea.