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Integration Into the Human Genome?

I’ve had several requests for comment on this recent PNAS paper, which talks about integration of SARS-CoV-2 sequences into the DNA of human cells. I’m glad to do it, but right off I have to note that a lot of the attention that it’s getting seems (sadly) to be coming from anti-vaccine activists, who are trying to whip up fear that getting the vaccine somehow means that you will be Permanently Corona-ed. This is nonsense, as you’ll see below (skip to the end for this part!)

Here’s a good writeup on the paper itself, and I recommend it for background. The first thing to keep in mind is that the coronavirus is an RNA virus, so there’s a big barrier to getting that integrated into the DNA genome of a cell. You need a reverse transcriptase enzyme, one that runs the usual tape backwards and makes DNA out of an RNA sequence instead. We humans don’t do that ourselves, but there are plenty of viruses that do. And over the untold millennia, we have been infected by many of these, and a good amount of the stuff that they jammed into our genome is still there. This information freaks some people out when they first learn it, but it’s true: somewhere around 5 to 20% of our genomic DNA appears to be detritus from ancient retroviruses. Somehow the “Intelligent Design” folks seem to skip over this – go figure. Now, it’s not all in good shape, because many of these things happened a long time ago. But some of it may be involved in human disease, in some cases possibly through continued expression of pieces of viral proteins.

You can see evidence of this in retrotransposons, which likely have a retroviral origin and can at any rate act like built-in retroviruses. We have a lot of those in our DNA, because they just keep on copying themselves. A particularly well-studied case is the LINE1 sequences. There are a lot of these in the genome, and most of them have deteriorated to the point that they are inactive. But every human still has a few dozen of them that can be expressed into active proteins, among them a reverse transcriptase that then turns around and makes LINE1 DNA and inserts it back into the genome. In mammals, these sequences seem to have undergone evolution inside our cells, showing the history of a long-term “arms race”.

So our cells don’t have any need for a reverse transcriptase themselves, but we have one running around thanks to LINE1. And the PNAS paper under discussion presents evidence that under some conditions, this enzyme can pick up coronavirus RNA during an infection, make DNA off that sequence, and insert it back into the genome of a cell. In the paper, though, those conditions include modifying the cell lines so that they have even more LINE1 than usual, and this is one of the reasons that the extension of these results to real-world infections has been challenged. An earlier version of the paper also took incoming fire because the human/virus chimeric sequences they detected can also be produced artifactually, but this latest version seems to have addressed many of those concerns.

And it’s worth noting that viral infection might actually de-repress LINE1 activity, so this mechanism can’t be ruled out yet (nor does it apply only to the current coronavirus – it could take place with other RNA viruses as well). If it does happen, it could lead (perhaps) to autoimmune consequences through production of these mixed human/viral protein fragments, and it could also confound diagnostic tests if they’re pointed towards viral sequences that have “turned endogenous”. All this remains to be seen, and I think it’s worth investigating in general. But as of yet, we have no hard evidence that this process is taking place in coronavirus-infected human patients at all.

It’s also important to note that even under the cell-culture conditions used here, the authors are just seeing some variable-length insertions from one end (the 3′ one) of the viral genome. This process does not produce infectious virus. And it’s also important to note that authors themselves say that these results in no way imply that the mRNA vaccines cause integration of Spike protein into a cell’s DNA, either. The mRNA in the vaccines does not look like the 3′ end of the viral genome – they have completely different “untranslated regions” (UTRs), and for what it’s worth, the Spike protein itself is nowhere near the 3′ end of the actual viral genome. A vaccination is enough to set off your immune system for future action, but it’s really not like being infected with the virus, either in the scale of it all or in the many details.

I sympathize with the researchers who are frustrated with the way that this work has been picked up by the anti-vaccine folks. That stuff drives me crazy, too. At the same time, I think it’s a hypothesis that’s worth investigating for viral infections in general – unlikely, but worth a look – and I think it’s a shame in general that there are people who will seize on anything they can for the anti-vaccination crusade. If not for this paper, they’d be going on about something else. . .

130 comments on “Integration Into the Human Genome?”

  1. idiotraptor says:

    I find anti-vaccine/vaccination individuals to be be emblematic of a larger problem in the U.S. today. Many people, particularly outside the STEM realm, lack the the apparent ability or willingness to make reasoned, evidence-based analytical assessments of damn near anything. Lots of individuals confuse or equate seeking support for their biases as “researching” a topic to reach a “decision”. The rise of the Counter-Enlightenment is manifest.

    1. WetDog says:

      It is a lot easier that way. Instead of plowing through a couple of potentially difficult articles (if you don’t have the rather esoteric relevant background), you can just skim a couple of things, briefly look something up on Wikipedia and maybe skim through a YouTube video.

      Just understanding Derek’s post – which is just the tip of the intellectual iceberg – would be hard for the vast majority of people. People who don’t like to be told that they don’t know something.

    2. Dr. Manhattan says:

      Unfortunately, the internet has not only allowed some people to do what they call “research”, it also helps to play into confirmation biases. You can usually find a group online that will agree with your “research”, no matter how fringe it is.

      I do wonder how many of the anti-vax people will (very unfortunately) get Covid 19, develop serious illness, and become Darwin Award winners.

    3. Anon says:

      I think you give us STEM folks too much credit. We are humans just like everyone else, and are subject to our own biases and irrational thinking.

      1. Charles H says:

        While true, the biases that STEM interested people have tend to be different than the biases that those who avoid STEM subjects have.

        (Tend to be. I have a very mathematically oriented friend who is a strong believer in Big Foot, Yetis, and various other things for which there is not evidence.)

      2. Dr. Manhattan says:

        Sure, we all have biases and some have odd beliefs. But a belief in big foot or Nessie won’t kill you. Not taking a vaccine for a virus that has already killed millions is something else.

      3. rrkd says:

        Flying the snarko-capitalist banner is in itself evidence of irrational thinking.

        1. Micha Elyi says:

          Nothing beats the Red badge of stupid.

          Adam Smith called what he advocated “the system of natural liberty”. Early on his anti-liberty critics preferred the substitute terms “capitalist” and “capitalism”.

          1. rrkd says:

            I think you must be talking to yourself there, chum. No red flags to be seen anywhere around.

  2. Toni says:

    Who knows, maybe the integration will also be of benefit.
    Here is a paper with E. Charpentier: Hypothesis: RNA and DNA Viral Sequence Integration
    into the Mammalian Host Genome Supports Long-Term B Cell and T Cell Adaptive Immunity
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29028182/

  3. electrochemist says:

    I get the sentiment that Anti-Vaxers are emblematic of much of what is going wrong in the US today. Point taken.

    But there is an interesting article in Forbes from a couple of months ago that is worth reading: “Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Is Worse In E.U. Than U.S.,” (Mar 8, 2021). One point made in the article is as follows: “Only 36% of the surveyed Europeans strongly agree with the statement that vaccines are safe.” This is compared to their finding that “70% of the U.S. public intends to get a Covid-19 vaccine or has already been vaccinated.”

    It’s fine to criticize the US and point out our problems. But let’s not buy in to the (US media) narrative that the citizens of the EU are a bunch of enlightened angels. They are anything but. And don’t get me started on anti-GMO hysteria….

    1. electrochemist says:

      Intended to be a comment on a comment; not directed at Derek’s post…

    2. Derek Lowe says:

      And homeopathy, etc. . .

      1. JasonP says:

        Like suppression of peroxynitrite for disease conditions and lucid blogs? 🙂 Oops, one efficacy, one not so much.

        But hey, the placebo effect can be good for what, up to 20%? At least that is “something?”

      2. Gus says:

        This should bring a smile to your face – homeopathic A+E

        https://youtu.be/HMGIbOGu8q0

        I still can’t understand why they go on about how what a monster Bill Gates is for funding vaccines – and yet let him get away scot-free with Windows 10 – and Windows Vista – his true crimes against humanity!
        Anyway thanks for the informative blog Derek – I think most sensible minded people, even if they dont understand all the science – can tell the nonsense and the science apart.

        1. ScientistSailor says:

          Windows Vista pales in comparison to the crime against humanity that is Outlook Calendar. Seriously, I can’t assign a co-organizer to an individual meeting, only my whole calendar, WTF??
          gCal would make life worth living again…

          1. Gus says:

            Personally, I think Bill Gates has seeded the whole Bill Gates vaccine conspiracy thing to deflect away from his software crimes. Like why is it so hard to stop windows 10 from updating itself? Why ????? Why are there so many pointless and unnecessary background processes running on Windows 10 so it just basically a massive piece of bloatware? ???? We’ve not fooled Gates and we’re coming for you.
            Seriously though for anti-vaxxers – I worry about them – despite the fact I think they are consuming what I believe is the wrong information – I wouldn’t wish covid on them or anyone. It so easy to get sucked into that stuff and it would be very sad to lose someone just because of that.

          2. Cassandra says:

            The majority of Covid cases are asymptomatic Gus, I’d take it that way. An unknown proportion of the global population seem to be immunologically naive to this virus yet many who are in close contact (living and sleeping with the infected) do not test positive despite massive, prolonged exposures. I feel sorry for the people who believe in media scaremongering and place their blind faith in vaccines, especially the young people who died from VITT the many thousands who have died from breakthrough infections – it’s very, very early into the vaccine campaign and the CDC’s last count in the USA is 132 (…. extrapolate for the world), they’ve paused their count now and appear to be the only agency bothered to look and report this vital statistic globally…. the titanic and an iceberg come to mind). Am I lying Gus?

          3. Gus says:

            Cassamdra, you believe that by automatically rejecting the mainstream narrative and adopting the opposite position this somehow makes you some kind of independant thinker, a rebel and a renegade, one of an elite who can see the truth whilst the “sheeple” are led to the slaughter. But it doesn’t – you are just reacting and thinking the opposite. You are just as controlled by the mainstream media by adopting the exact opposite view as if you believed every word you read. . This is not thinking for yourself.

          4. Cassandra says:

            HEY GUS….
            Have you seen this…. looks like some independent thought is more correct than others. You thick f*ck.
            https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/who-reviewing-seychelles-covid-19-data-after-fully-vaccinated-people-test-2021-05-11/
            Explain that away you idiot….. radio silence follows… crackle, crackle, fizz. Looks like Gus is gone, he got the AZ (aka Covishield, a stinker of a vaccine that stinks just as bad whatever you call it. In case of any doubt the EUA “vaccines” are all equally useless). The pain is acoming for those too stupid or arrogant to listen.

          5. R says:

            @Cassandra
            It has been known for a while now that the Chinese vaccine (or even AstraZeneca) used in Seychelles doesn’t come close in efficacy to Pfizer/Moderna.

          6. R says:

            Also, please read the second paragraph of that article you linked: “Both the ministry and the WHO stressed that the majority of those who tested positive had not been vaccinated or had only received one dose, that no one who had died had been fully vaccinated and that nearly all of those needing treatment for severe or critical cases were unvaccinated.”

      3. theasdgamer says:

        Derek,

        I found it surprising when I realized that vaccines are homeopathic in character as opposed to allopathic. Antivirals are allopathic of course. Kind of ironic and a bit humorous that you are solidly on the homeopathic side while I am agnostic about homeopathy but favor allopathic treatment. I guess the allopaths are now the cranks. 🤣🤣🤣

        electrochemist,

        Isn’t it a bit strange that Fauci estimated that 60% of employees at NIAID had not taken a vaxx? Are the employees at NIAID emblematic of what is wrong with the US? As opposed to being uncritical sheep?

        1. sgcox says:

          Now I am really confused here.
          Homeopathic implies dilution in a far, far excess of Avogadro number so no active substance had left in the preparation.
          Ok, good, why not. Then how there is so much noise from antivaxx about evil foreign DNA/RNA in vaccines which causes all sort of troubles ??
          It is either there or not. Please make you mind.

        2. Derek Lowe says:

          What on earth are you talking about? Homeopathic medicine asserts that drugs get more potent the more dilute their solutions become, just so long as they are shaken properly, and that “like cures like” under these conditions. It’s complete nonsense.

    3. Anon says:

      Unfortunately the same myopic American-centric worldview produces an equal and opposite reaction to the American Exceptionalism narrative with an America is the worst narrative. To some people we are the only racist country, or the only country with idiots. How many people freaked out over 1/6 yet have no idea a bunch of current and retired people in the French military just threatened a coup recently if Macron doesn’t shape up?

      1. WST says:

        Not 132 but 112 over last 4-5 months, it’s amazing that reading a footnote is already insurmountable obstacle. How many unvaccinated Americans died during this time ? Over 138,000 (3 months 26/4-27/1), 3 orders of magnitude more…

        No comment

      2. Anon says:

        You can blame US media for that. It’s 24/7 reality shows and “us vs. them” politics within the country. An average person will NEVER see anything related to Europe unless it’s an Islamic terror attack or something related to Israel.

      3. rrdk says:

        Perhaps the difference between racism in France (of which there is indeed a lot) and the USA, is that racism instituted as chattel slavery was the United States foundational sin, and the whole history of the USA has been the struggle over three centuries to break the chains, in the face of actors who have found it politically useful or convenient to reinforce the privilege of colour as caste.

    4. Rock says:

      Forget polling, what matters is actually how many people will get the vaccine. Yesterday I was looking at the vaccination status across the US. In my state, Connecticut and neighboring state, Massachusetts, about 60% of the total population has had at least one shot (that includes people not yet authorized to receive it). On the other hand, many deep red states are plateauing at or below 40%. That is deeply concerning as the entire country begins to relax restrictions. Most states are now telling the federal government to reduce their weekly allocation of vaccine, in some cases by 90%. This type of behavior doesn’t give you much confidence in the future of our species.

    5. theasdgamer says:

      I used to think that the GMO issue was nonsense until I started looking into it. What could be wrong with wheat and beans producing pesticides? It’s not like those pesticides would make it into our gut and damage our gut biome or anything….

      It’s not like there’s an incestuous relationship between big Ag and the FDA with people switching jobs between them or anything.

    6. Charles H says:

      Much of the anti-GMO activity is quite reasonable, though it’s certainly possible to find parts that aren’t. My main concern with GMO plants is that they tend to prevent farmers from planting their own seed. A secondary concern is with the way that many GMO plants spread “insecticide producing genes” (e.g. BT) throughout the gene-pool (which isn’t exactly restricted to one controlled gene line, or even one species). This has resulted in weeds that have severely depleted native insect life, and that’s the basis of a number of food-chains. (You want to know why lots of birds are disappearing? They’re starved because their food supply went away…though there are multiple reasons for that.)

      1. Anonymous says:

        Re: the farmers planting their own seeds… I’ve read that farmers these days wouldn’t harvest their own seeds from their crops to replant year over year anyway and would purchase new seed each growing season regardless of GMO status. True past generations would recover seed when material:labor cost ratio was higher, but potentially something that has gone by the wayside in modern times? The resources spent on recovering seeds instead of buying new each year is kind of like washing test tubes after running a column instead of tossing them and buying fresh ones. I’m not terribly knowledgeable on this argument and would appreciate a correction if I’m off the mark, but from what little I’m aware of I think this is closer to a red herring than a number of other questionable business practices from ag companies.

        1. Charles H says:

          Not all farmers are identical. Many farmers aren’t traditional farmers at all, but rather management experts with a leaning towards agriculture. For them your argument is correct. But there are also LOTS of subsistence farmers, and for them not being able to replant is something that raises the rate of suicides.

          Also, if you are planting hybrid seed, then you don’t want to replant from your harvested seeds. The F2 generation will be a lot different from the F1. No uniformly imposed solution will properly handle all cases. But most uniformly imposed solutions with benefit certain parties in a predictable way, with predictable costs imposed on other parties.

          (All that said, I’d never choose to be a farmer in today’s world. But I’ve got relatives who make that choice.)

      2. Micha Elyi says:

        “My main concern with GMO plants is that they tend to prevent farmers from planting their own seed.”

        That is true of any hybrid seed. You know that. Contrary to popular Western belief, farmers aren’t stupid. They make a rational trade off between paying a little bit for high-yield hybrid seeds that yield much more versus using open-pollinated seed from the farmer’s prior harvest that yields poorly.

    7. kultakutri says:

      You know, the GMO thing is political. It sorta made sense those 20+ years ago when the general ban was enacted – maybe it was indeed not certain what could the GMO stuff do – but now, it’s just sheer stupidity. (I’m a wannabe biologist so I have sciencey views, sure.) But then, it’s sort of self-supporting claim. Gotta be dangerous or something when it’s banned, right, and nobody is complaining too much about the ban so the powers that be just don’t bother to change it.
      Lumping all Europeans together doesn’t work. And I’m damn pro-GMO. I want all the glow-in-the-dark flowers and stuff 😀

      Also, I’d just add that strongly agreeing that vaccines are safe is not the same as getting or willing to get vaccinated. The value of safe is not fixed, it may be commonly defined as causes no harm, ever, or just not exactly dangerous, or anything in between and around. I could argue that the vaccines are not safe because there are side effects which may be dangerous under certain conditions (two days of fever might be a problem for a frail person regardless whether the cause is vaccine or common cold). Or I could argue that it’s not proven that the vaccines are safe because it’s simply not possible to prove this. Or I could do the accounting and say Okay, the vaccines are not as absolutely safe as I would like them to be but they’re safe enough and definitely safer than covid. In other words, this comparison is a bit useless when there are no other specifications.

      1. Kris says:

        The problem with GMO is not gene modifications but intellectual property and how it is handled. It is like DRM on John Deere tractors that forcefully limits farmers independence.

    8. Kris says:

      I think that there are two factors in play to cause differences in US and EU vaccine hesitancy.

      It may be because different vaccines are used in EU and US. US started with Pfizer and Moderna but EU also included Astra Zeneca that appears to cause rare cases of bad form of thrombosis (blood clothing and bleeding at the same time).

      It is also possible that the Russian disinformation campaign has been more successful in EU.

  4. Wonderer says:

    Has anyone ever generated a viable organism with all this excess DNA removed? Imagine a future where this is routinely done to human gametes before fertilisation. Would the offspring have less diseases? Require less energy/food? Have differentiated cells working more efficiently? There must be a sci-fi novel on this!

    1. Brian says:

      There was some bacteria synthesized a few years back using a ‘minimal genome’. But I’m guessing you mean animals with the non-coding ‘junk’ DNA removed. That stuff is actually built into our functioning now. Regulatory sequences that affect how a region of DNA is bound, or recruits transcriptases or whatever, would perform very differently if the genes they affect weren’t spaced out with non-coding DNA.

      That said, if you were just wondering about deactivating the active transposons… yeah. I’m not sure there would be a downside. Does anyone know of any functions those are involved in? It shouldn’t cause a dramatic immediate change, but could lower our cancer rates.

      1. Harvey 6'3.5" says:

        At least in pigs, removing all of the porcine endogenous retroviruses had minimal effect, apparently, as “The PERV-inactivated pig production is robust that we have so far produced 37 PERV-inactivated piglets from 17 sows” (see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5813284/). But wholesale removal of all transposable sequences in humans would likely remove something that was regulatory, at least, somewhere.

    2. Tran Script says:

      I think it most likely wouldn’t do much. Synthesizing DNA isn’t that big of a deal compared to all the millions of proteins in a living cell. Might help avoiding some diseases caused by polymerase slipping though.

    3. Charles H says:

      Identifying *which* DNA is extraneous is a real task. I understand that they’ve generated a viable micro-organism with *much* of the extraneous genome removed, but they also removed a lot of stuff that most organisms find quite useful.
      https://www.nature.com/news/2006/061009/full/061009-10.html

      Also some of that “extraneous” coding is necessary spacers to allow the molecules to twist into the correct shape. How much? …. Well, that article gives some clues, but each multipartite gene needs special handling.

    4. Kevin Purcell says:

      There must be a SF novel in this?

      There already is a fun trilogy on endogenous retroviruses and what they might do: Darwin’s Radio by Greg Bear.

      Recommended (but it is SF).

      Bonus points: Greg is a Seattle writer and a chunk of the story is set in an apartment 2 blocks away from where I’m typing this (opposite the site of the old 98102 post office).

  5. DRN says:

    Are you referring to endogenous retroviruses? Wiki sources give these numbers: “they comprise up to 5–8% of the human genome (lower estimates of ~1%).”

    1. eyesoars says:

      Endogenous retroviruses and historic detritus from endogenous retroviruses. Most of them at this point have been silenced through additional mutations (as Dr. Lowe points out), but a few still have active bits.

  6. twinkle toes says:

    Thanks Derek – interesting topic. And speaking of viruses becoming part of our genome: there is some sort of analogy with bacteria. Mitochondria are believed to originate from bacteria which found a way to live inside cells in a symbiotic way…. our little and very efficient power plants we, and some many other species, depend on! Nature is full of wonders and surprises.

    1. Derek Lowe says:

      Oh, I feel sure about the mitochondria. There’s an even weirder theory that the nucleus of eukaryotes is a leftover symbiont as well. Not so sure about that one, but it’s quite a thought!

      1. Charles H says:

        Saying that about the nucleus is really straining at things. But, yes, there’s considerable evidence that the basis of the nucleus was an independent prokaryote…and that it merges with multiple other prokaryotes to create the basis for eukaryotes…and over sufficient time much of the independent genetic coding moved into the nucleus. Even many mitochondria genes have moved into the nucleus. But prior to that event there *weren’t* any eukaryotes, so saying the nucleus moved in is a bit strange. Several (well, at least two, and probably more) prokaryotes merged, and one of those became manager of the inner membrane…which turned into the nucleus.

        OTOH, how the chromosomes and the centromere evolved are (to me) a lot more mysterious.

        P.S.: For this I’m relying heavily on Dawkins’ “The Ancestor’s Tale”.

  7. J Curwen says:

    Thank you for the summary of Jaenisch et al. and your position on that.

    However, you are not completely right:
    LINE-1 integration is mediated by the polyA-tail via target-primed reverse transcription (TPRT), thats the reason why you see mainly 3′-sequences integrated.

    e.g.Cell: https://doi.org/10.1016%2F0092-8674%2893%2990078-5

    The vaccine-modRNA has a quite nice and long polyA-tail, so I would not exclude the possibility of integration per se.
    Jaenisch himself obviously had to change his earlier position to get it published:

    MD: Does your recent study indicate that the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines can damage DNA in humans?
    Dr. Jaenisch: Not really evidence of damage. The mRNA can integrate into the DNA and possibly be expressed but there is no direct evidence of that.
    MD: If the mRNA vaccines can integrate into human DNA what could this mean for the future?
    Dr. Jaenisch: It will be breakthrough technology. It will change the way diseases are treated.

    https://www.medicaldaily.com/can-mra-vaccine-change-dna-459011

    Also, the (low) probability of genomic integration of the residual DNA in combination with the vaccine LNPs should get some discussion.

  8. mymagoogle says:

    I recently saw a Friend of a Friend on Facebook post a comment that she was OK with the fresh monovalent vaccine that doesn’t sit on the shelf too long, but she is leary of the multivalent vaccines with preservatives that sit around for 6 months or a year.

    For once, I followed the rule of “don’t argue with strangers on the internet”, the poster being a Friend of a Friend and I scrolled on by. … I wonder if she is OK to eat sausage that has been in her freezer for … I’ll stop now.

  9. CS says:

    On the topic of things that could get picked up the wrong way, I’d be very interested to hear what you (Derek or others) think of the article linked in my name.

    It reads persuasively to me, but I’m wary given the possible implications.

    1. dearieme says:

      I think that the idea that it came from a lab leak has always been plausible. So is the idea that it didn’t.
      I am not equipped to judge any circumstantial evidence on my own. I don’t suppose that any other sort of evidence is likely to be forthcoming for some time, if ever.

      On the more general point of “would you trust a bunch of scientists, students, and technicians to perform gain-of-function research on such viruses?” my answer is “no”. The probability of a lab leak that does serious damage is far too high.

      How wise of the USA to ban such work from its own shores. What the devil was the USA playing at when it allowed Fauci to fund such research in China? Beats me.

    2. anon says:

      Unfortunately, scientists are not that good at engineering these things – at least not at a level high enough to create a pandemic. If some biochemists rationally engineered this based on SARS-CoV-1, hats off to them.

      1. Anon says:

        The most popular version lab leak hypothesis is that they took the RaTG13 coronavirus that was found in a Chinese mineshaft, and through serial passaging and/or direct genetic mutation made a more infectious version of the virus.

    3. Jonathan B says:

      I saw that too, and if nothing else I feel I do need to take the lab-escape proposal more seriously than I had.

      It is difficult to assess the relative likelihood of hypothesised sequences of events which are in themselves unlikely except that we know the end result did occur. (The same is true of ideas for the origin of life on earth). Unless the virus genome could be shown to be a number of copied segments in a row, the most likely lab-escape theory would be that SARS-CoV-2 arose through repeated passage in human cells each time selecting for the best adapted variant. But that is rather the same as an event which has actually been reported, of the virus evolving sequentially in an immunocompromised individual who cannot fight off the illness; you could hypothesise an origin involving such a person acquiring a poorly infectious version from a bat and ultimately passing on an evolved variant better adapted to human cells.

      The switch to a furin cleavage site is intriguing though, while not actual evidence for a lab-escape theory it may make other explanations more difficult.

    4. Patrick says:

      Derek commented on this a bit on Twitter:
      https://mobile.twitter.com/Dereklowe/status/1389709024573198337

      (Note: that link will take you to replies if you scroll down, and be wary if you haven’t read the article: various commenters there clearly haven’t. (sigh)).

    5. Derek Lowe says:

      I’ll eventually have to write about this. I think Wade overestimates the “smoking gun” potential of the furin cleavage site, but on the other hand the lab-escape theory is definitely still on the table. And the actions of the Chinese government are doing nothing to take it off.

      1. a says:

        It’s particularly a shame since if you bring up wade, while he may know science, he’s also promoted ‘scientific racism’, such as why “African-Americans are allegedly more violent than whites, and why the Chinese may be good at business.”
        . And in a topic about the origins of COVID, that’s too much “fruit from the poisoned tree”…..

        https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/08/geneticists-decry-book-race-and-evolution

        “Wade’s book prompted 139 of the world’s leading population geneticists and evolutionary theorists to sign a letter in the New York Times accusing Wade of misappropriating research from their field, and several academics offered more detailed critiques. The University of Chicago geneticist Jerry Coyne described it as “simply bad science”. Yet some on the right have, perhaps unsurprisingly, latched on to Wade’s ideas, rebranding him as a paragon of intellectual honesty who had been silenced not by experts, but by political correctness.”

      2. Charles H says:

        The actions of the Chinese government are easily explained by an entrenched bureaucracy with a strong ethic of CYA, and a history of heavily punishing those who go against the current official line (whatever it is at the moment).

        So while they don’t lessen the possibility of “lab-escape”, they also don’t make it more likely. It was multiple layers of bureaucrats each trying to pretend that “nothing bad is happening in my shop”.

        1. 이웅견 says:

          From the article linked through my name:
          >> Residents demanded answers Monday after a safari park in eastern China failed to inform authorities and residents for weeks that three of its leopards had gotten out of their enclosure.

          CYA is alive and well, and bad news still hates traveling upwards. Not only in China.

    6. Not-an-epidemiologist says:

      Nicholas Wade isn’t a scientist, and there are enough inaccuracies in the scientific aspects of what he presents that I doubt the rest.

      Based on the stuff I feel capable to comment on — his furin cleavage site arguments are dubious. The human furin cleavage minimal consensus is RXXR, not XRRX (and RX(K/R)R is optimal) — there’s no apparent rationale for specifically engineering an insertion with two Args to give RRXR. And his claim that other beta-coronaviruses don’t possess a furin cleavage site is rubbish — MERS and OC43 both have one in the same position (OC43 uses RRSR; MERS is RSVR).

      The codon usage argument is interesting, but:

      (a) if this was engineered, why wouldn’t you use the optimal furin cleavage consensus above?

      (b) CGG isn’t the optimal human codon usage for Arg anyway (so it’d be an odd molecular biologist who chose it out of the more palatable AGA or AGG options) , and

      (c) using a string of bases as GC-rich as CGGCGGGC as an insert is just bad design practice (if I was engineering this I’d avoid it if I could — and there’s no reason not to avoid it here). I don’t buy it.

      None of this of course disproves a lab-based origin. But like most of the myriad conspiracy theories that are circulating at present, it seems a long-shot.

      1. NPs says:

        These critiques all seem to be from the position of assuming the virus underwent rational and targeted engineering. I.e. it is not a lab strain because it has “odd” modifications that the average lab scientist would not have chosen. I know very little about viral culture/design/engineering but one of the points made in the lab origin hypothesis is that the strain possibly arose from “serial passage” and not rational design. Is serial passage a selection technique that could provide the phenotype we see today while leaving behind “odd” genetic signatures like the ones you point out? The only possible parallel I am familiar with from my line of work is random mutagenesis for fermentation strain improvement.

        It seems to me that speculating that a rational design program would’ve resulted in more recognizable engineering fingerprints doesn’t rule out the possibilities that either the “engineer” was a bit noncanonical in their methods or a random, selection based technique was used instead.

        1. Not-an-epidemiologist says:

          I was just commenting on the article that the parent poster linked to, which seems to advocate (not particularly well) that the vector was deliberately engineered. I’m wasn’t making any broader comments than that, only that I don’t think that particular thesis holds much water.

          Anything’s possible, of course, but nothing so far has ruled out a natural origin for this — and in the absence of strong evidence to the contrary, the simplest explanation is probably the best.

      2. Eugene says:

        Engineering is not as clean and concise as people assume. Over the years I have simulated circuitry that did not behave in the real world and had to be “fixed”. What works and what is optimal are not always the same thing.

  10. David says:

    Tangentially related, I’m fairly sure we have an endogenous RT in the form of hTERT, which has been seen as an oncology target (though it’s not expressed somatically). Can exogenous mRNAs with appropriate leader sequences be processed by hTERT? Although I’m not sure how the DNA incorporation would happen but that might also be a way.

    1. sgcox says:

      Interesting idea but that would require template RNA to somehow outcompete endogenous telomerase RNA component which forms such an intricate and high affinity structure.
      https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03415-4
      Do not think anyone successfully managed to overexpress hTERT alone and see if it is functional.

      1. berty says:

        Telomerase is targeted to the telomere repeat sequence, so mechanistically I think it’s unlikely to be involved in integration. Having said that the code in the mRNA could potentially have same sequences? Playing about with cells has all sorts of unintended consequences because we don’t really understand how they work. Expressed hTERT has been shown to be functional in lots of immortalized cell lines. Also in vivo studies demonstrate the ability of viral vector introduced hTERT to elongate telomeres.

        1. sgcox says:

          What I mean is to have TERT alone, without its RNA component. Then it can elongate any RNA template/primer which fits into active site. Not sure it was ever demonstrated.

  11. theasdgamer says:

    Vaccine-hoes smeared early treatment with antivirals in order to get an EUA for experimental vaccines. This is not good for medicine or science.

    Now the vaccine-hoes are smearing VAERS to protect the vaccine brand. Just believe what Big Brother tells you. Repeat after me: vaccines are safe…vaccines are safe…vaccines are safe.

    Mask-hoes pushed panic and a narrative that masks work to prevent respiratory viral infection in the public context. Anyone who has been trained in physics can look at the numbers and see that that narrative is probably false.

    Good to know that Big Brother is being believed. This makes us all so safe.

    1. anon says:

      lol did you lose money on HCQ or something

    2. JDK says:

      Well, when the anti-vaxxers post fraudulent reports to VAERS that toddlers are dying from covid vaccines before any toddlers have even been vaccinated…
      Calling that action out is not trashing VAERS. and calling out dumpster-diving in VAERS is not trashing VAERS, it is pointing out the intellectual dishonesty of the anti-vaxx-pro-grift crowd.
      Being pro-disease, I am not surprised you are upset with how well vaccination is going.

      1. theasdgamer says:

        You must be a democrat. I can tell when you’re lying. Your lips are moving.

        Where is the evidence that VAERS reports are bogus? Go visit an antivaxxer chatroom. People are talking about loved ones dying. (We don’t know the cause, but there’s a vaxx correlation.) And people are posting videos of people keeling over in the post-vaxx waiting area. It’s not like they need to convince anyone in the choir.

        That being said, there needs to be a formal investigation–not a bunch of gaslighting about how we should believe that vaxxes are safe because they said so. I am agnostic on the question of vaxx efficacy and safety. I am not agnostic on the question of panic mongering and rushing the vaxxes.

        The vaxx hoes have turned vaccinations into a political football. A family member was pressured about vaxxes last night in a professional setting in a very unprofessional way by the group. Vaxx hoes have become bullies and that needs to stop right now.

        Derek needs to stop enabling vaxx hoe anti-science.

        There is zero question that the vax trials have a _huge_ amount of systematic error in them. The question is whether anyone will look. Oh, wait, Peter Doshi looked and vaxx-hoe SJWs jumped on his butt just for daring to ask a question.

        Science suffers when SJWs get involved. Sometimes it happens in the spring.

        1. Wallace Grommet says:

          Must you piss in every punch bowl?

    3. Derek Lowe says:

      See, this is just the sort of comment you should take elsewhere. It adds nothing. It convinces no one. Please migrate – it’s spring.

      1. theasdgamer says:

        Gentle bullying is still…bullying.

        Lurkers are still wondering whether you can answer my questions.

        1. drsnowboard says:

          actually, we’re not… you are overestimating your impact considerably

          1. theasdgamer says:

            I said “lurkers,” not “members of the peanut gallery.”

          2. peanut gallery says:

            We’re as confused as asdgamer is.

          3. theasdgamer says:

            Apparently, 60% of NIH employees are refusing the vaxxes. Maybe you just aren’t very aware.

            In Fauci’s own words…

            https://citizenfreepress.com/breaking/fauci-half-of-our-employees-have-not-been-vaccinated/

      2. Ildanach says:

        Just Ban this guy already Derek, he’s only spamming your blog to get traffic to his own.

    4. J H says:

      VAERS is unfiltered crap.

  12. sgcox says:

    Well, if not for retroviruses and genome integration, human and other mammalian would not even exist in the first place !
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6177113/
    Nature and Natural selection use any trick in hand.

  13. luysii says:

    We wouldn’t exist without coopted retroviral genes. The syncytiotrophoblast at the maternal fetal interface of the placenta develops through cell fusion of the cytotrophoblast cells similarly to viral promoted cell fusion (think HIV1). The proteins responsible are the syncytins, which are membrane glycoproteins coded by ancient endogenous retroviral envelope genes.

    1. theasdgamer says:

      You know, Derek talks about retrovirus RNA having been copied into our DNA, but I looked and didn’t see any papers on how retroviral RNA would make it into ova or sperm.

      Do you have any links?

      1. Nope says:

        OK dude. Your entire genome is shared in all of your cells. In ova and sperm, it is an exact copy that is just single stranded in order to combine both ova and sperm to procreate. This is fifth grade science. Your gamete cells contain all of your genetic information, but just one copy vs having both in normal cells. Therefore, any retroviral species’ genomes that have been kept over the millennia of ancestors is contained already in your gamete cells.

        P.S.
        I really think you should take Derek’s advice and find somewhere else to post. I heard facebook has taking a liking to many of your theories

        1. None Given says:

          I’m typically a lurker to this blog, but I’ve seen enough of this individuals comments to suggest that a fifth grade biology education might be over their suggested reading level. They’ve increasingly devolved to more banal verbiage consistent with certain social subgroups, and suspect they’re just regurgitating whatever blog post comes their way.

          1. theasdgamer says:

            Cool rhetoric, bro. You should try actual science sometime.

        2. theasdgamer says:

          Apparently my comment is over your head. Maybe someone else can supply a link.

        3. sgcox says:

          Nope,
          I am 100% with you but some pedantic comments, sorry.
          All gametes contain perfectly double stranded, not single stranded DNA but are haploid, with only 1/2 of sister chromosomes (after extensive recombination). I do not think retroviruses can efficiently integrate into mature germ cells – plausible, but I doubt. They certainly do very efficiently into precursors before the meiosis. That is how we get the bulk of our DNA indeed.

      2. Former germline scientist says:

        Retroviruses must have infected and integrated into germ cells in order to be fixed into the genome of the next generation. If they only infected non-germline tissues, we would not see their remnants in our genome. HIV and Zika can at least cross the blood-testis barrier to infect Sertoli cells and spermatogonia, so it is not inconceivable that other retroviruses can as well.

        Here is a potentially helpful link: https://journals.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/physrev.00021.2019

        1. theasdgamer says:

          I’m not geeky enough to have access to that journal, but thanks for linking anyway.

          Are there any retroviruses that infect ovarian follicles? I read that HIV can bond to the cell membrane of male germ cells, but cannot infect germ cells.

          Has anyone looked at asymptomatic infections of male germ cells and ovarian follicles?

  14. Doug H MD says:

    Derek: thanks for allowing all viewpoints to be expressed in the comments section> I know it it trying but it is useful IMO

  15. debinski says:

    Sadly I don’t think we’ll get beyond 60% vaccinated in most states. NC has reached ~50% with at least 1 dose and the weekly vax #s have taken a severe dive over the past several weeks. I’ve seen much anecdotal evidence that the fear of the vaccine changing your DNA is stopping many people who are not truly “anti-vaxxers” but have become afraid because of all the garbage about this on the internet. I’m not too surprised when people without scientific/medical backgrounds don’t want it, but have recently talked to 2 healthcare providers who refused it for that reason. Then you have the J&J fiasco with the temporary halt and now the hype about the # of deaths after covid vax on VAERs – creating a perfect storm for changing normal people into “anti-vaxxers”.

    1. Cassandra says:

      I wouldn’t readily assume that vaccine efficacy will hold up against ‘variants of concern’ or that the much touted efficacy will last. I wouldn’t even be so sure that disease enhancement isn’t happening right now based on CDC data. I’m sure that new, well founded potential long term safety questions have arisen on this very forum, questions that can’t be answered or are being ignored. Up to you to dismiss them as quackery but I don’t want to use a product that’s not been properly developed or tested. The CDC giving 3 minutes for expert’s comments to air real concerns is a major eye-opener for me. Not like there was a loony anti-vaxer posing what sounded like well-reasoned concerns. Why risk giving our children this vaccine when they are not at risk from the disease?

      1. Barry says:

        ” a large study of health care workers now suggest one dose of CoronaVac, a vaccine developed by a Chinese company, is still about 50% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 in a Brazilian city where more than three-fourths of new cases are caused by the highly transmissible variant known as P.1.
        That real-world protection is about the same level clinical trials saw with two doses of CoronaVac against the standard, or “wild type,” pandemic coronavirus in the country, suggesting the variant’s mutations have not increased SARS-CoV-2’s ability to evade vaccine-evoked immune responses.”

        https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/04/chinese-covid-19-vaccine-maintains-protection-variant-plagued-brazil

      2. Thomas says:

        Why risk being infected with a virus that does all kinds of nasty things, rather than get a vaccine with only a small fraction of that virus in it, not doing all that nasty stuff?
        I know, it goes in with a needle, and I hate needles too, but viruses are not such friendly things.

        1. Charles H says:

          Sigh. You are overconfident. The evidence isn’t sufficient to be a confident as you express that the vaccine is harmless. It *probably* is, but we won’t know for certain for a decade or more.

          It’s quite reasonable to claim an extremely high probability that the alternative of not getting vaccinated is worse, but any claim to certainty at this point is going beyond the evidence. (You could probably calculate a number of sigmas, and my guess would be three or four that the vaccine [pick a specific one] is without long term deleterious effects, but you can’t reasonably claim certainty.)

          1. DH says:

            Welcome to reality. Life has multiple risks. We’re not omniscient. So we need to trade off risks according to the weight of evidence available to us. But to say we need to wait 10 years to know whether a vaccine is safe (not “harmless” because nothing is harmless) is simply ridiculous. It’s epsilon shy of demanding omniscience-level certainty before trying anything new.

          2. J H says:

            Let me think.

            100,000,000 or so doses of mRNA vaccine in the US so far and idk maybe one or two preventable deaths from anaphylaxis. People down with a mild flu-like syndrome for a couple days, or no reaction at all. I’m not aware of any of the usual rare vaccine shoulder injuries, but of course if you have a rotator cuff injury and use your shoulder different for a few days, there might be an adverse effect.

            A similar number of COVID-19 infections and 600,000 dead. Actually, 750,000-800,000 excess deaths.

            Let me think.

            Done thinking.

        2. theasdgamer says:

          An inactivated virus is a much better immune activator than just a spike protein. You get a much more diverse immune response to things like the nucleocapsid protein as well as the spike protein.

    2. james says:

      theres a very easy solution to the problem of people who wont get vaccinated because they worry about the novelty of this new vaccine technology and the unknown risks in the future and that is to make an older traditional vaccine technology available for the more cautious people in society such as covaxin or valneva that uses inactivated whole virus – without doing this people who refuse vaccines without long term safety data wont be vaccinated due to safety concerns and it might not even reach 60%

  16. John says:

    Worth noting that aging appears to de-represses LINE1 too: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-79126-z

    1. AnKo says:

      Worth noting that this paper has some suspicious figures https://pubpeer.com/publications/9E5A2A0A5361024560617E4BDB5BED

  17. John Wayne says:

    Some people are opting to get vaccinated because they think it is best option, and others are making the opposite call. We are find out what group has better outcomes, then we will know for sure.

    1. Charles H says:

      Unfortunately, those who don’t get vaccinated are much more likely to spread COVID to others. So it’s not an even choice unless you segregate the populations. And also being vaccinated isn’t a guarantee that you won’t catch COVID and get sick with long term effects. It changes the probabilities a LOT, but that’s not the same thing.

      Your argument only works for one person considered in isolation, but one person in isolation isn’t going to catch COVID in either case, because they’re isolated.

      1. John Wayne says:

        I’m not making an argument for one course of action or another; I’m stating what is going to happen.

        1. anon says:

          Too many variables involved in your “experiment”, so we won’t really find anything.

          1. John Wayne says:

            In a year we will look at what percentage of people who die or are hospitalized due to coronavirus infections were vaccinated vs not vaccinated. The bigger the shift of that percentage vs the proportion of the population that is vaccinated vs not vaccinated will tell you how well the vaccine is working. I’ve got my bet on the table.

          2. Some idiot says:

            JW: I agree with your thesis, although it might be tough getting the signal out of the noise.

            However, from here in Denmark, there is one trend which is very clear… Here vaccinations have been prioritised with the oldest and/or most at risk first, then younger etc. We have an uptake of vaccination that is well above 90 % for the groups that have been offered vaccination so far.

            The most recent trends are interesting… Although the number of new infections is slightly increasing at the moment, the clear trend is that there is a decline in hospitalisations… As predicted…!

      2. theasdgamer says:

        Most of us have already had covid. The vaccine came just as we achieved herd immunity–at least in my county. Our deaths began declining at the end of December, which means that cases began declining a month earlier.

        1. Chris Phillips says:

          Just how crazy do you have to be to keep spouting this drivel regardless of the evidence of your own eyes?

          Go to India and tell them they don’t need vaccines.

    2. theasdgamer says:

      Since it looks like covid is now endemic in the US, I’m not sure we’ll see much of a signal. But that won’t stop people from claiming that they “won.”

  18. J says:

    “Unexpected detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the prepandemic period in Italy”

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33176598/

    Dr. John Campbell discussed this paper it in one of his regular videos (2nd May). It might be of interest as it appears to have timing implications in respect of pandemic.

  19. NumCracker says:

    A physicist question here: I understand Spike mRNA can’t be integrated from vaccines into human DNA. But how exactly adenoviral-vector (DNA) vaccines block this hypothetical possibility?

    1. FlatWheels says:

      Most people seem to have only transient effects from any of these vaccines.
      But as with other things, there are exceptions. There may not be many, but they are quite real. How do I know… Well, I have pre-existing health conditions and knew I was taking a risk by taking the vaccine. I also knew I would be taking a risk by not getting the vaccine. It wasn’t clear which risk was greater, so I got it.

      Six weeks after the second dose, I’m still not back to normal. Legs to want to fold up from under me (no, not the fun times stuff, can’t do that at all now. my own legs don’t want to hold me up), I have to lie down every 2 hours. I expect it will improve, but this is quite a setback.
      You’re not likely to have this effect, neither are 99% of the population. But some will, and for them it may be severe.

      1. John Wayne says:

        FlatWheels, I have a hypothesis based on anecdotal observations that may help you feel better about your unfortunate situation. An individual’s immune response to the vaccine is very similar to that of a coronavirus infection. I know several people who got bad cases of the coronavirus, and had much worse than normal responses to the vaccination.

        What if the people who end up with life-threatening coronavirus infections are the same folks with severe side effects from the vaccine? There may be something about your immune system that freaks out when it sees the spike protein. If this is true, the unfortunate symptoms you are experiencing could be the best outcome (vs getting the virus itself.) I can’t think of an ethical way to do this experiment, but immunologists may be able to get at the answer with careful testing of the people involved for the status of their immune systems.

        1. FlatWheels says:

          Thanks for your thoughtful response.
          If true, that is some consolation. I’m not diabetic nor severely overweight, but I do have severely limited…welll I guess that’s enough information to post on the Internet.

          I have no idea how my system would respond to the actual covid/Wuhan Virus illness. . I do know that if I skip the flu shot and catch whatever is going around, I have a normal course of the illness but followed with exhaustion and general weakness for a longer time than before my current condition. Does that mean the Wuhan virus will get to hang around long enough to get into lower respiratory tract or multiple organs?
          This virus seems to be not only new, but rather athletic, i’ve never heard of an influenza or common cold bug attacking nerves or heart tissue. My system in general can’t handle any but the mildest demands upon it; if I stand in place for a while, I’m exposed to moderate summer heat for an hour, or merely try to stretch eight hours without laying flat several times, I’m in for trouble over the next several weeks.

          So there was really no safe choice. I’ve had signs of recovery from the vaccination over the last couple days, a sharp break from over a month of no improvement. Considering the Wuhan virus’ multiple attack vectors, I believe I stumbled into the right choice.

  20. theasdgamer says:

    “the controversy became more civil”

    …once the _fears_ of some SJWs were assuaged that the researchers weren’t playing into the hands of those evil, anti-science antivaxxers. lol

    Controversy is essential to scientific progress. Hypotheses need testing and testing requires skepticism.

    Rhetoric is only useful once the dialogue breaks down (or maybe to bully the other side into keeping quiet). If one side is ignoring the other’s questions, bad faith tends to be assumed.

    🤷‍♂️

  21. Random Person says:

    I have no idea whether it has anything to do with rare integration events of RNA viruses into genomic DNA, but it isn’t true that humans don’t do reverse transcription. The mitochondrial POLg polymerase has reverse transcriptase activity. This is thought to be the basis for mitochondrial toxicity of anti-retroviral drugs: see Matthew J Young. Off-Target Effects of Drugs that Disrupt Human Mitochondrial DNA Maintenance. Front Mol Biosci. 2017 Nov 22;4:74. doi: 10.3389/fmolb.2017.00074. PMID: 29214156 PMCID: PMC5702650 DOI: 10.3389/fmolb.2017.00074

  22. K Bell says:

    Thanks to J Curwen for sharing that all too pertinent information. It seems to make Derek’s piece look like fluff, a public relations stunt, not science. Derek doth protest too much, methinks.

    Coauthor Rick Young contradicts Jaenisch shoddily here:
    https://www.genengnews.com/insights/eminent-mit-scientists-defend-controversial-sars-cov-2-genome-integration-results/
    “There is absolutely no reason to believe that any of the vaccine mRNA is doing the same thing. The viral spike protein mRNA is a tiny piece. Vaccines are not inducing LINE element RTs,”

    Why isn’t vaccine-encoded spike tested for in wastewater? Or, at least in urine where spike is found, and a child continued to shed spike into urine after apparently clearing the virus.
    https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210201/Urinary-shedding-of-spike-protein-in-COVID-19-patients.aspx

    Spike alone is a known danger.

    Another factor commonly overlooked is the fact that bacteria produce reverse transcriptase via retrons, suggesting possible viral-bacterial interaction. Indeed, LPS is known to strongly impact the process:
    “When we stimulated spleen cells with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), L1 mRNA levels apparently increased about 4-fold in the presence of AID and about 17-fold in its absence”
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0049358

    1. regdoug says:

      First, the college my brother attends does test the wastewater (on a per-dormitory level) in order to detect outbreaks quickly, so yes, we (as a society) do test wastewater for signatures of infection.

      Second, you seem to be implying that Spike protein in wastewater would make wastewater more hazardous than it already is. If you aren’t implying that, disregard the rest of this, but I doubt that is true. The most hazardous things in wastewater are things like E. Coli, which are hazardous mainly because they are actively multiplying, rather than being degraded by the wastewater processing

  23. Sid Bench says:

    Hello I’m admittedly not very medically or scientifically inclined. I was reluctant to take any vaccine but decided to get Pfizer first dose so far. My main source of reluctance is unknown long-term effects especially on our innate immune system. I read multiple times that there was a possibility that vaccinated people would have a worse response against other viruses and infections. Nobody could say for sure as only time will tell with long-term studies as they come in. I came across this article and it scared the crap out of me. Can anyone please comment with a more scientific knowledge than I have

    https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.news-medical.net/amp/news/20210510/Research-suggests-Pfizer-BioNTech-COVID-19-vaccine-reprograms-innate-immune-responses.aspx

    1. Cassandra says:

      Wow, this is another good reason not to rush vaccine development. Now we have a postulated mechanism for VAERD. I never though it was a good idea to prime the immune system against a pathogen that causes harm not by itself but rather through a dysregulated host immune cell response. But what would I know I regularly get pilloried around here for questioning this group think.

  24. MD PHD says:

    Look SARS COVID-1, or sarbeco virus 1. Due to imidiate lock down Hong Kong/Toronto and a few thousand casualties. Now that is daily numbers or more. Everyone (WHO, CDC, Dr. Fauci, “Dr” Thedros etc was a sleep and the best they could come up with was a dusty and outdated “blueprint” mainly with quite antique ideas based mainly on a long list of unsuccesful antiviral ideas from Prof Fred/Fredrick Hayden that lead to the biggest and most unsuccesful trail in human history, the Solidarity trail. Many drugs with so nasty side effects I doubt the authors would use themself. Then a lot of time lost on similar still birth, remdesivir, wow what total failure.

    Oxford/Prof Horby and others used the time better and found dexmethason etc could help many. But also a bit of anti-science here as it was still a bit influenced by Prof FH and I hope his blueprints will be in the history books and not part of any official plans anymore.

    Statins, esp fat soluable gained some tractrion up to 50% reduced deaths. Still I belive we will see esp. pitavastatin, atorvastatin, simvastatin etc do a decent job if used in high dose before and after admission. But not a halfway, half-dose study. All or nothing.

    1. Vaccines are the only real victory in figth and if you want another escape the virus is doing push ups and waiting for you.
    2. But it’s your body, your choice and you roll the dice.
    3. Natural infection gives you about 5% risk death and the vaccines give about 1/60000-100000 risk of HIT or DVT/Stroke etc. The mathematics is quite simple, even though risk profile etc should be adapted so in case of known risk, choose “risk” you want to take.
    4. They do not stop transatlantic fligths etc because of some minor flu/cold virus the risk here is real and everyone will either be vaccinenated or infected at one point.
    5. Once you may have the natural infection you really are gambling, hospital? cement lungs? Long COVID? Stroke? Heart disease? It is a slippery slope, while treatment is improved it still a high risk situation and you get all the vaccine risks at my guess at least 1000X. Not the kind of positive effect Wall Street 10X, the bad one where every organ is at risk of this neurotoxic virus.
    6. Kids and pregnant women neglected like always.
    7. The first world can not even help itself at the moment and “beggars can not be choosers” and all this political/academic snobbery of vaccines creates very fertile ground for anti-science/anti-vaxers. And gives the “COVAX” program a odd taste of vaccines donor countries really do not prefer themself. While the UK pushed ahead at a heroic gold standard rate, with excellent results. Not risk free but also with no other alternative.
    8. So if you know better than most doctors and scientists in the world, God bless you and the best of luck. Anyways why use condom or bother with safe sex also, go on have a full on expose yourself to any virus/bug. Have some fun while your reckless.
    9. So here we are 1 year on, vaccines work much better than expected some even against mutations. Immunity seems to be streng and durable so no rush to re-vaccinate evey year at least so far.
    10. Your body, brain etc your choice. Remember the havoc in Wuhan, Italy, Spain, is your body prepared for it to go it alone without 21st century science. Ok, but then also why bother contacting a doctor or hospital later anyway if you know best. Could be something you shake of or not. Time will tell but many things will be irreversibel.

    1. theasdgamer says:

      Funny how doctors are treating patients _early_ with antivirals and seeing excellent results–hospitalizations 80% lower than non-treatment.

      SOLIDARITY was based on late hospital treatment with antivirals. I don’t have an MD or a Ph.D. and I can see how rigged the trial was.

  25. MD PHD says:

    Yes, do you think Prof FH would ask for give me ritonavir/lopinavir, with remdesivir stat? No he would probably have opted for Trump like cocktail Regeneron etc. If can not eat your own cocking (even give it to your loved ones). It is probably not the gold standard. I assume he will have not taken the vaccine so he can try his own medicine (not). Lets hope that pharma sales guy disappear from the hallsways of WHO and any other “advisory board” permanently. He has been line spider between US, Wellcome Trust ( like trust fund MD baby) and the main author of Blue Print against this (COVID or sarbeco viruses, MERS and any other outbreak). More or less same protocol was forced onto West Africa during Ebola when his Canadian friend helicoptered around and provider red carpet treatment for this genius.

  26. k says:

    “You need a reverse transcriptase enzyme, one that runs the usual tape backwards and makes DNA out of an RNA sequence instead. We humans don’t do that ourselves”
    Inaccurate: https://phys.org/news/2021-06-discovery-human-cells-rna-sequences.html

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