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Horowitz: Why does the CDC keep ignoring evidence of long-lasting immunity from natural infection?

Op-ed

The more the truth comes out, the more it will be clear that natural immunity is the only thing that works alongside a vaccine

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How much longer will our government treat the massive numbers of the population who were already infected with the virus as if they never had it? This obdurate disregard of science has ramifications not only for giving people who are no longer in danger of spreading the virus their freedom back, but in prioritizing those who most need the vaccine.

Throughout this virus, the government-media-scientific complex has been adamantly assuming the worst of this virus, despite growing evidence that it behaves like most other pandemic flu-like viruses with its own quirks. Whether it's the hypothesis of mass asymptomatic spread, masks and lockdowns working to stop the spread, children being in danger, or the denying of cheap, effective prophylactics and early intervention treatment, the medical establishment has placed a premium on panic when establishing vital premises leading to policy decisions. The more people feel helpless and controlled, the better.

Likewise, the medical establishment has bizarrely and dogmatically stuck to the position that somehow there is no natural immunity to SARS-CoV-2 despite years of observations of robust T cell immunity from SARS-1 and cross reactivity with COVID-19 and nearly a year's worth of observations that very few people even get asymptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 again after having already gotten it, despite its widespread circulation at present.

Two recent British studies of health care workers who were constantly exposed to the virus showed what appeared to be a higher rate of natural immunity from prior infection than what is likely conveyed from the vaccine. Now, a new preprint study from epidemiologists and scientists at Cornell University's Qatari affiliate in Doha shows that out of 43,000 COVID-positive patients followed for seven months, natural infection confers "strong protection" against reinfection, "with an efficacy >90% for at least 7mos."

"These findings are striking, as the epidemic in Qatar has been intense, with half of the population estimated to have acquired this infection at some point since its introduction into Qatar early in 2020," concluded the study's authors. "It is highly probable that a proportion of the population has been repeatedly exposed to SARS-CoV-2, but such re-exposures did not lead to more than a limited number of documentable reinfections."

Also, even those few who were reinfected only suffered mild or asymptomatic cases, as is to be expected from most forms of natural immunity. "Reinfections were less severe than primary infections," observed the authors. "Only one reinfection was severe, two were moderate, and none were critical or fatal. Most reinfections (66.7%) were diagnosed incidentally through random or routine testing, or through contact tracing."

Why is there long-lasting immunity when studies have observed waning antibodies after a few months? A new study published in Science by the La Jolla Institute for Immunology studied blood samples of 188 convalescent COVID patients up to eight months after infection. While researchers did find a moderate decline in antibodies eight months later, as predicted, they found robust B cell and T cell immunity in the blood. In the case of B cells, they found they were "more abundant at 6 months than at 1 month post symptom onset," which lends credence to the theory of long-term immunity picking up the slack after antibodies wane.

Most of those in the sample were only mildly infected with the virus, with just 7% of the patients hospitalized at some point. Thus, the notion that severely infected individuals will wind up contracting a serious case again is absurd. Treating every American like a carrier when at least one-third have already gotten the virus is as anti-science as it is anti-Constitution.

Ignoring the growing natural immunity also has ramifications for more effectively prioritizing vaccination. Even one who believes in eventually vaccinating those who have already gotten the virus must concede that they should not take spots of those more at risk. This is a point Marty Makary, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, made in a Washington Post op-ed last week. He notes how the CDC's guidance of treating anyone who has gone 90 days since infection as if they have no immunity is "outdated and fails to take natural immunity seriously."

"As a result of this flawed guidance," warns Professor Makary, "Americans with natural immunity — including many who are low-risk — are inappropriately getting the vaccine instead of high-risk seniors." He cites a slew of studies showing how even mild infections trigger long-term immunity and how almost all the rare exceptions of re-infection never result in serious clinical consequences.

"Many in the medical field have been playing down natural immunity. In the noble effort to overcome vaccine hesitancy, they argue that everyone should get the vaccine to reach herd immunity and reopen society," observes Makary. "But we need to stick to the science."

He adds that while the medical community, including himself, assume that the vaccine will convey longer-lasting immunity, "there is no clinical data to support that hypothesis, and expert predictions are not always correct."

No kidding. When have the "experts" ever been wrong about this virus?

Makary even concedes that "a few of my Johns Hopkins colleagues have suggested that natural immunity due to prior infection could be better than vaccinated immunity," given that 5% of infections that occurred during the vaccine trials were in people who received the vaccine. Natural immunity, on the other hand, seems to convey higher than a 95% guard against re-infection, at least thus far.

"Given that close to a third of all Americans and perhaps more have had COVID-19 infections, it's possible that herd immunity is closer than we think," wrote Makary.

Ironically, now that Trump is out of office and Democrats will have to own the malaise and anger caused by illogical and harmful policies, there is more openness to publishing the truth of the science. The more the truth comes out, the more it will be clear that natural immunity is the only thing that works alongside a vaccine and that we are going to achieve herd immunity anyway. Now it's time to act on the science and, more importantly, the Constitution.
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