Tuesday, March 09, 2021

More musing about vaccines

We vets vaccinate dogs against infectious canine hepatitis. Many, many years ago we used a live vaccine derived from the adeno-1 virus, unless the animal was a sight hound, Salukis or Borzois being particular concerns. For these we had a less effective/convenient inactivated vaccine (not sure which adenovirus strain this came from) because sight hounds (no pun) were particularly prone to blindness with the live attenuated A-1 vaccine. As the manufacturers of the A-1 vaccine stated, from memory, it "may cause corneal oedema which is usually transient".

If you translate that in to real terms it comes out as "can cause blindness which can be permanent".

Woe betide you if your boss found you had inadvertently picked up the wrong vaccine vial for a sight hound. Obviously, not all sight hounds went blind after the A-1 live vaccine.

The whole problem disappeared with the advent of the A-2 live vaccine (which we love), free from the corneal side effect, so I doubt kiddie vets are even aware that blindness was a predictable problem following a routine vaccination if you (and your patient) were unlucky. The modern A-2 vaccine is so effective I doubt we ever see infectious canine hepatitis nowadays but I recall seeing transient corneal oedema in at least one clinical viral hepatitis case in my early days.

I am one of those selfish people who is intending to defer my SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. The Queen does not approve. 

Why should I be so selfish? Many reasons, but the main one is an uncomfortable feeling about how m-RNA vaccines work. As I understand it, you inject a section of m-RNA enclosed in a vesicle which is muscle absorbed. The m-RNA is used by normal ribosomes to generate viral spike protein which is presented to the immune system on the surface of the muscle cells affected. The immune system sees the protein and responds as to the virus. You become immune. The residual m-RNA is fairly rapidly degraded and disappears until you get your next dose. I stand to be corrected if I am misunderstanding this.

I have no idea whether muscles infected with the field virus express spike protein on their surface. I suppose they might. Or they might not.

Does anyone think that expressing a viral spike protein on muscle cells will only generate an immune response to only that spike protein? Or, in the immune melee which results from muscle expressing an highly immunogenic foreign protein, would an immune response to other components of muscle surface occur?

How might you recognise such a response?

Myalgia perhaps?

Would it be better or worse the second time you played this game?

What would happen if you had already recovered from the field virus and so were very primed to effectively attack anything looking remotely like a SARS-CoV-2 virus surface protein?

So many questions.

Myalgia is common after vaccination, worse after the second dose and worse still if given to someone who has previously recovered from the field virus infection.

Heart muscle is not skeletal muscle. It probably "looks" different to the immune system. But it's not completely different. I, personally and just for myself, am not comfortable with making antibodies which might precipitate an attack on my myocardium. Which might not occur. Or, if it did, might be temporary. Or not. I remember the live A-1 adenovirus vaccine. This is just one of the problems of being as old as I am but still remembering my clinical experiences from the early 1980s.

So. Does myocarditis occur in the aftermath of SARS-CoV-2 m-RNA vaccination? Of course not. Do you have any concept of how much money is involved in these vaccines?

This is just from twitter so can be ignored if you wish:

I have no ideal who the tweeter is and I don't read Hebrew, so I have no way of following this up.

But I note that the Queen's recently vaccinated hubby has been passed around from hospital to hospital and has gravitated to being managed by cardiologists for his mystery illness. He's very elderly so this is probably just random chance and nothing to do with any vaccine.

The first Swine Flu pandemic vaccination program was halted in 1976 due to worries about Guillain-Barré syndrome from the vaccine. The same happened in the second Swine Flu pandemic of 2009-10 when narcolepsy halted that vaccination program.

The m-RNA vaccine will obviously be problem free.

I'm so selfish.


BTW, each person should assess their own risk from the virus vs their concern re the vaccine. Personally I consider my risk from the virus is very low so am un-enthused at any risk from the vaccine. Certainly for the next couple of years. It remains to be seen how much coercive pressure is going to be applied nation-wide and especially to myself to get vaccinated. I've ignored six invitations so far.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

A chat with David Gornoski

Okay. Head briefly above water for a few minutes!

I had a chat with David Gornoski last week (or rather it was the week before, things are a little hectic here). You can find it at


and on Youtube here

David had emailed me after a number of people he'd already interviewed had mentioned the Protons/ROS hypothesis and Hyperlipid, so mostly I was trying to to get across the where the key concepts came from. I guess I rabbited on a lot about about the four main papers which shaped the idea. Then we wandered away on to more general things.

I think the microphone works!