Early Evidence of Delta Variant Antibody-Dependent Enhancement

Vaccine and coronavirus specialists have warned us about antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of viral infections, particularly for coronaviruses. Now a recent prepress article in the Journal of Infection suggests it’s here.

ADE can occur when an imperfect vaccine generates antibodies that actually help the pathogen to penetrate cell walls and to reproduce. In these cases it leads to a worse infection and greater viral load.

A 2005 paper for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA sets out the issue:

Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE), a phenomenon in which viral replication is increased rather than decreased by immune sera, has been observed in vitro for a large number of viruses of public health importance, including flaviviruses, coronaviruses, and retroviruses. The most striking in vivo example of ADE in humans is dengue hemorrhagic fever, a disease in which ADE is thought to increase the severity of clinical manifestations of dengue virus infection by increasing virus replication.

Dynamic effects of antibody-dependent enhancement on the fitness of viruses
Derek A T Cummings, Ira B Schwartz, Lora Billings, Leah B Shaw, Donald S Burke


On August 9 2021, three researchers at the University of Aix-Marseille released an article in the Journal of Infection that states the problem bluntly (pdf below):

– Infection-enhancing antibodies have been detected in symptomatic Covid-19
– Antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) is a potential concern for vaccines
– Enhancing antibodies recognize both the Wuhan strain and Delta variants
– ADE of Delta variants is a potential risk for current vaccines
– Vaccine formulations lacking ADE epitope are suggested

Let’s be circumspect here. It’s only a preprint, they used a molecular modelling approach, and it needs lots of confirmation. But given leading vaccine specialists have been calling out the possibility of coronavirus ADE from the time vaccines were suggested, this is a real concern. And there is plentiful evidence that the Covid vaccines are less than perfect.

It may also explain the troubling-but-unconvincing relationships between detectable Covid-19 cases, emergence of the Delta variant, and the use of vaccines.

I’ll say it again: real scientists are inquisitive, sceptical, and humble before nature. This is not where we are now.

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