I propose to guide you through a very last exercise on a fact checker (I’ve done so many and I start repeating myself in debunking the non-sense they utter), just to demonstrate that the criteria shared in my article ‘Separating the wheat from the chaff’ work perfectly well for those who find it difficult to navigate across all the contradictory messages that currently circulate.
So, why not take the example of this breakdancer as yet another example of a guy who’s eager to ruin his career by serving as an illiterate fact checker? Here is his latest contribution where he’s trying to convince people that I am a conspiracy theorist and spreading misinformation in a desperate attempt to make some money!
The checklist for assessing relevant competences of this smart ass is astonishingly short:
Is he knowledgeable about virology? No! But maybe about immunology? Not at ALL! What about vaccinology? Even worse!
So, he must at least know something about evolutionary biology? Well, I think he is actually more of a creativist as he seemingly never heard about natural immune selection.
As he does not have any of the relevant competences required to understand what a pandemic is about, one would already conclude that what he proudly calls ‘debunking misinformation’ could not present anything else but a comedy where he’s basically making himself look ridiculous. As will become obvious from what follows, the checklist and criteria used are, indeed, highly reliable.
Firstly, he immediately starts out like a typical fact checker by putting words into my mouth which I never used such as ‘persistence’ of the virus in vaccinees. This smart ass doesn’t even understand what viral ‘persistence’ means (of course, not surprising if you don’t have a clue about virology). Secondarily, he still seems to be convinced that vaccinees transmit less virus than unvaccinated people. As I recently reiterated in my article ‘Repetitio est mater studiorum’, it doesn’t make any sense at all to gauge the quantity of virus shed in vaccinated as compared to unvaccinated people. The amount of virus shed is contingent on many different factors and when a highly infectious variant becomes dominant, vaccinees will become increasingly prone to viral transmission as they no longer serve as a ‘filtration unit’ but rather constitute a breeding ground for such immune escape variants, thereby enabling them to reproduce more effectively. So the more a highly infectious variant becomes dominant, the less a vaccinated person will reduce the overall viral load in the population. This does not apply to asymptomatically infected unvaccinated people as they eliminate all Corona viruses and, therefore, do not discriminate against more or less infectious Sars-CoV-2 variants. What matters, though, is not the amount of virus a given person shed at any given point in time but the susceptibility of that person to contracting the disease. This susceptibility largely depends on the level of infectious pressure an individual is exposed to and the type and level of immunity that person is armed with. For lack of understanding of some basics of immunology, Wilson doesn’t understand what natural immune selection means and hence, naively adheres to the mantra of WHO which dictates that the more one vaccinates, the less the virus replicates and, therefore, the fewer immune escape variants will spread. It may, indeed, be difficult for a breakdancer to understand why population-level immune selection pressure on viral infectiousness rapidly leads to enhanced propagation of more infectious immune escape variants, let alone that he would understand that current dynamics of viral spread are only to be considered a ‘snapshot’ of the pandemic. Wilson is convinced that the unvaccinated are a reservoir for the virus and, therefore, need the shot to protect themselves (and other vaccinees) from the disease and to prevent the virus from evolving. Whereas some compare the complexity of the current pandemic to that of the brain network, Wilson’s version is a bit more simplistic in that it rather compares to the simplicity of a mononeuron brain.
When I was saying that CDC does no longer systematically test vaccinees, I was clearly alluding to the lack of routine analysis on shedding of more infectious variants in vaccinees as compared to unvaccinated people. It has been repeatedly reported that the relative proportion of more infectious variants shed by vaccinees is much higher than in the unvaccinated. This would have been a reliable criterion for proving that mass vaccination drives enhanced propagation of more infectious immune escape variants. However, the proportion of more infectious variants in vaccinees as compared to the unvaccinated has not been reported for lack of systematic sequencing in randomized samples. The disproportionately higher rate of shedding of more infectious variants by vaccinees only lasts for as long as these variants are not fully dominant (e.g., when vaccine coverage rates are still relatively low). Once a more infectious variant accounts for the vast majority of infections (e.g., in countries with high vaccine coverage rates), the unvaccinated will, of course, predominantly shed the dominant variant too.
It’s quite unbelievable that this funny wag hasn’t even heard about innate antibodies (Abs)! Pea-brained fact checkers are seemingly completely unaware of the existence of innate antibodies. Their medieval belief tells them that Abs are exclusively part of the adaptive immune system! Maybe Wilson should have educated himself on my website before uttering his illiterate comments. This joker prefers to talk any kind of non-sense rather than educating himself on the science; it is, therefore, anything but surprising that he has no clue about the neutralizing capacity of innate Abs that cannot be measured in the blood because they primarily act at the surface of mucosal barriers.
But then he brings his immunological talent more fully to bear: Immune escape is not possible because the spike protein would need to mutate multiple different sites in order to escape the host immune system! Firstly, this immunologically illiterate fact checker does not understand that even a single mutation may suffice to affect viral infectiousness. Does that mean that the host immune system does no longer recognize the virus? Of course not! It only means that that the mutation enables the virus to resist the S-directed immune selection pressure that is exerted on viral infectiousness. When that selection pressure increases, additional mutations may be required in order for that new viral variant to l gain a competitive advantage and be capable of infecting the immunized host. In contrast with what our fact checker seems to believe, there is no need for the virus to fully escape the host immune system (!) in order to become more infectious. There is, therefore, no need for the virus to select a multitude of mutations in order to become more infectious. And even a single mutation in the N-terminal domain could affect the binding affinity of several different RBD-binding Abs as has recently been reported.
Of course, as the guy somewhere also heard about T cells, he thinks those help to prevent the virus from escaping host immunity. He doesn’t understand the difference between PROTECTIVE T cells and T cells that simply recognize virus-infected cells without being able to kill those cells. In the video he’s trying to ridicule, I was talking about the former but he doesn’t seem to understand that T cells do not have a protective role if they’re not capable of killing Sars-CoV-2-infected cells (which was the point I was making). Since spike protein is required and sufficient for viral infectiousness, even a single mutation in S can contribute to enhanced viral infectiousness. As this smart ass is also an illiterate when it comes to virology, he doesn’t understand that one or a few mutations in S protein may suffice to increase viral infectiousness notwithstanding broad immune recognition by the host immune system. Along the same lines of reasoning, Wilson does not capture either that one should only talk about sterilizing vaccines when they are capable of killing virus-infected cells. A vaccine which can only fully neutralize the virus under well-defined conditions (e.g., in case high Ab titers are established prior to viral exposure) is not considered a vaccine that induces sterilizing immunity.
As a last example of his amateurish enthusiasm, it’s worth citing that this anti-talent pretends vaccine-induced immunity does not interfere with ‘other forms of immunity’ (not sure anybody understands what he means by that) whereas I was talking about a new type of vaccine that does not interfere with the immunity raised in people immunized with Covid-19 vaccines. This is a typical trait of illiterate fact checkers: When they don’t understand, or don’t want to understand the science, they twist one’s words and construe statements that make them look even more foolish.
One can only wish Wilson success with his breakdancing as it may be difficult to make a living from pseudo-science.