Project Bug Files
The Role of Natural Immunity: If you had to use a single word to describe the pandemic in terms of social discourse, that word would have to be ‘contentious’. Everything from masks to vaccines to lockdowns has become a source for fierce debate, creating a constant battleground of differing opinions and projections. Natural immunity is no exception to this, giving rise to debates on whether Nature alone is enough to battle the pandemic, or whether vaccines are in fact the way to go. As more and more data emerges, a clearer picture is being formed on the role natural immunity plays when it comes to protecting a person from both infection and severe disease.
Natural Immunity vs Vaccination: Once Covid became classified as a pandemic, the call for vaccines became more widespread, especially as the focus shifted from the severity of symptoms to the chances of infection. The overall narrative was that being vaccinated was a person’s best chance of beating Covid. Unfortunately, the data to support this narrative was largely suppressed, only becoming available recently due to an increased demand for transparency. As it turns out, the efficacy of the vaccine, specifically in the original phases of the pandemic, was just about equal to natural immunity.
Simply put, a person who has already been infected by Coronavirus has as much resistance to being reinfected as someone who has received the vaccine but has not been infected. This insight has led to significant backlash, as it makes the vaccine seem far less necessary if a person’s innate immunity is up to the task of battling Covid. However, medical professionals were quick to point out that natural immunity only came after a person was sick, meaning an individual would have to risk the symptoms of disease in order to achieve natural immunity, a risk that is significantly reduced by the vaccine. Therefore, despite equal levels of efficacy, the value of the vaccine remains intact, at least in theory.
Natural Immunity plus Vaccination: As you might expect, the risk of reinfection was lowest amongst those who had both natural immunity and a full round of vaccinations. Emerging data shows that of all groups studied, those who had been infected, either before or after receiving the vaccine, were the most protected against reinfection. While this analysis promoted vaccine use to a degree, it also revealed a widely-held misconception about the purpose of the vaccine. Contrary to popular opinion, the vaccine wasn’t designed to protect against infection, rather it was designed to reduce the risk of moderate to severe symptoms. This is why people who had been vaccinated could still get infected, which explains why the pandemic continues to persist, even in highly-vaccinated populations.
In this light, the real question is what role does natural immunity play with regard to symptom severity? When analysing the data, it becomes clear that the stronger a person’s immune system is, the more likely they are to beat the virus. Even if they experience moderate symptoms, taking general steps to maintain health and wellbeing has been shown to be enough to enable an otherwise healthy person to come through largely unscathed. Still, most medical experts hold fast to the idea that the vaccine is critical in reducing symptom severity upon first infection, and then improving a person’s chances of resisting further infection along with natural immunity thereafter.
The Lessons of Omicron: Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the pandemic is the evolutionary nature of the virus. Just when you think you have a handle on things, another strain appears on the scene, changing the game in a very real way. This is especially true in the case of the Omicron variant. While previous variants seemed to increase in terms of disease, Omicron increased in terms of infectiousness, with symptoms being less severe than previous variants. Even more perplexing is the fact that the number of vaccinated cases has increased exponentially, suggesting that the vaccine has little to no ability to reduce the chances of infection.
While this may seem like very bad news at first glance, the truth is that it may be a turning point for the better. According to some experts, the simple reason why infection has increased, while symptoms have decreased, is that natural immunity is once again rising to the occasion. The evolutionary nature of the virus makes it more resilient to vaccines with each mutation. This means that most vaccines are virtually impotent against the Omicron strain, which has caused this sudden spike in infection rates. However, the decrease in symptom severity suggests that natural immunity plays a far greater role in this fight than has been admitted to thus far, fighting not only infection, but the disease aspect of Covid as well.
All in all, it could be a simple case where humanity has survived a medical science experiment that turned out to cause more harm than good. Trying to vaccinate entire populations could be the reason why Covid has mutated as rapidly and as severely as it has. Omicron could be the ultimate reset button, taking us back to the original conditions of the pandemic where natural immunity was effectively fighting the disease, albeit at the cost of high numbers of infection. This could be our best chance at achieving what the vaccine failed to create, namely herd immunity.