Geert Vanden Bossche, DMV, Ph.D., is a vaccine expert and independent virologist from Belgium. He is one of the most passionate vaccine advocates in the world, having taught and worked extensively in virology his entire life in both the vaccine development industry and the non-profit sector, including with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and GAVI, where he focused specifically on vaccine programs and product development partnerships for immune interventions in global health. Bossche currently has a fundamental warning regarding lockdown methodology and, more importantly, the mass COVID-19 vaccine rollout. He is deeply concerned about the interaction between our natural immune system and COVID-19, as well as the manner in which a pandemic develops and how its natural course can be profoundly disturbed by human intervention. His stated goal is to prevent the emergence of new highly infectious COVID-19 variants and ultimately eradicate the variants that currently exist.
Insight Into Bossche's Concerns
Vaccine science is confoundingly challenging, but the underlying reason behind it is relatively straightforward. Simply put, a vaccine exposes an individual's body to weakened or inactivated pathogens or small parts of them, enabling the immune system to produce immune cells, some of which produce antibody proteins capable of recognizing the pathogen and fighting it off if it attacks again.
As passionate as Bossche is about vaccines, he believes their current use in the COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant chance of worsening the virus instead of mitigating it. As he recently explained at the Vaccine Summit Ohio 2021 earlier this month, in the vast majority of healthy individuals, the original COVID-19 strain was causing mild or no symptoms. It stands to reason that before recommending any of the COVID-19 vaccines to the entire population, it should be clear that the vaccine will lower the rate of morbidity and mortality below what one could plausibly expect when letting the pandemic run its natural course. Bossche states it more simply:
"If one analyses the dynamics of a pandemic caused by a natural, self-limiting viral infection (e.g., Influenza pandemic during World War One), it becomes obvious that the toll taken on human lives is no higher than what is strictly required for the virus to perpetuate. Without human intervention, a pandemic ultimately results in herd immunity."
This scenario sets the stage for the virus to become widespread with scattered seasonal flare-ups (as with the influenza virus). No pandemic, including the Spanish and Swine flu, has ever lasted longer than two years. Once herd immunity is established, the return of the virus is controlled by our natural immune systems "thanks to their memory of previous encounters with the virus."
Accordingly, it makes sense that for a vaccine to perform better than the natural pandemic, it would need to boost herd immunity. But instead, we are seeing precisely the opposite right now with COVID-19. According to Bossche, "the vaccines are not able to prevent viral spread by vaccine recipients exposed to the emerging highly infectious strains of the virus. This is preventing herd immunity from happening." Healthy individuals, including children— who have typically been the least likely to get the virus—are now increasingly exposed to circulating new virus strains without having the proper antibodies to fight them off.
According to Bossche, COVID-19 vaccines are likely to increase the infection of the virus because they are prophylactic vaccines, which are designed to prevent the spread or occurrence of a disease or infection by building immunity in individuals BEFORE exposure to a virus or pathogen. He elaborates:
"They (prophylactic vaccines) are not suitable at all for administration to people during a pandemic because the likelihood that a vaccine recipient already comes under attack while not yet being endowed with a full-fledged immune response increases as the infectious pressure augments. This particularly applies in case of highly infectious circulating variants."
COVID-19 Vaccine and Immune Response
Bossche explains that as soon as an individual receives their first COVID-19 vaccine, their body will begin to build an immune response, taking weeks to develop fully. If they are exposed to the virus during this time, their immune response may be too weak to effectively fight it off. And even though the first dose may offer protection from developing symptoms, the virus will most likely still have the ability to replicate and transmit.
Unstudied use of therapies that haven't been fully proven to treat or prevent COVID-19 or its transmission has the potential to lead to unwanted immune pressure on the virus, which is a recipe for the virus to escape a response from the immune system (immune escape) and create a more potent variant. While this is unsettling, Bossche notes what we are now observing more and more frequently is even more worrisome:
"Even those who got fully vaccinated before exposure to Covid-19 are no longer controlling virus replication and transmission. This is because they're now increasingly infected by more infectious variants, the spike protein of which is different from the one comprised in the vaccine. Hence, the virus increasingly evades the vaccinal antibody response."
By escaping immune response, further spreading of the highly infectious virus strains is supported. Meanwhile, mass vaccination is now regularly turning vaccine recipients into asymptomatic spreaders who are transmitting the highly contagious variant to unprotected or not-infected individuals. Bossche points out:
"This is exactly the opposite of what vaccines were supposed to do. Indeed, there is now a general consensus that the vaccines will fail to generate herd immunity. In addition, they will also fail to eliminate the steadily increasing number of highly infectious strains because the vaccinal antibodies no longer match with the variant spike protein of the circulating strains whereas they're still hampering binding of natural antibodies to the virus."
Immune Escape and the Spread of Aggressive Variants
According to Bossche, the combination of immune escape and the aggressive (often asymptomatic) spreading of the highly infectious new variants opens the door for speeding up resistance to the vaccine and permanently suppressing our natural immune system's response against coronaviruses in general. Bossche warns:
"It is impossible to scientifically understand how this could have a happy end. Humanity, therefore, is at a crossroads. Continuing mass vaccination with these 'leaky' vaccines in the course of a full-blown pandemic inevitably implies that we will witness the emergence of more and more infectious variants putting people at a higher risk of severe disease."
Bossche notes that while vaccination may offer short-term protection to an individual, mass vaccination of our society during the height of a pandemic will worsen the global situation by encouraging the virus to select specific mutations, allowing it to overcome 'suboptimal' immunologic hurdles, turning vaccinated individuals into asymptomatic carriers. Bossche maintains that discussions comparing efficacy and reduction of transmission of the current COVID-19 vaccines should stop as they are irrelevant in the current situation. Essentially, we will have created a phenomenon called vaccine-induced evolution, where the reduction in the effectiveness of a vaccine against a pathogen is attributable to the vaccine itself. He further illustrates:
"This pandemic can only be stopped by vaccines enabling sterilizing immunity. The more we vaccinate using current vaccines, the more we'll turn this beast into a monster. It requires only very few additional mutations ( maybe one single?) for one or another of these highly infectious variants to become resistant to the very best Abs (antibodies) on earth, i.e., those induced by the vaccines. What will remain from the vaccination is the long-lived suppression of (our) natural immune system. For God's sake, does no one realize the kind of disaster we're up to?"
Bossche's Plea to the World Health Organization
Consequently, Bossche says the global population will likely have to deal with a more dangerous version of the virus and a more serious health-care situation than earlier in the pandemic, adding, "We should stop using conventional prophylactic vaccines in the ongoing COVID-19 mass vaccination campaigns." Instead, he believes the solution lies in NK cells (natural killer cells), noting compelling scientific evidence that suggests these cells play a crucial role in facilitating the complete elimination of COVID-19 at an early stage of infection in asymptomatically infected individuals.
Only time will tell if Bossche's eye-opening hypothesis is correct. In an impassioned plea to the WHO on Mar. 11, he declares that:
"If we human beings are committed to perpetuating our species, we have no choice left but to eradicate these highly infectious viral variants. This will, indeed, require large vaccination campaigns. However, NK cell-based vaccines will primarily enable our natural immunity to be better prepared (memory!) and to induce herd immunity (which is exactly the opposite of what current COVID-19 vaccines do as those increasingly turn vaccine recipients into asymptomatic carriers who are shedding virus). So, there is not one second left for gears to be switched and to replace the current killer vaccines with life-saving vaccines. I am appealing to the WHO and all stakeholders involved, no matter their conviction, to immediately declare such action as THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY OF INTERNATIONAL CONCERN."