COVID Inspires the ‘Great Beta Test’
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a new approach to manufacturing vaccines.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a new approach to manufacturing vaccines. At the onset of the pandemic, the attention of government and industry was focused on the rapid development of a vaccine that prevented transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen. For some, the chosen vector was messenger RNA (mRNA).
To say that mRNA is a vaccine in the traditional sense is a misnomer. Why? Because traditional vaccines introduce an attenuated virus (or a portion thereof) that stimulates the body’s immune response. In contradistinction, mRNA “vaccines” cause the body to produce the antigen — in this case, the virus’s spike protein. Unfortunately, in some cases this has resulted in an inflammatory response in distant parts of the body unrelated to disease prevention. One controversial article describes myocarditis apparently associated with the spike protein detected in four young men who had previously been vaccinated against COVID-19.1
It was initially postulated the use of these vaccines prevented transmission of the disease. While widely touted, this later proved to be incorrect. This was apparently one of the reasons why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed the definition of vaccination to “the act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce protection from a specific disease.” In the new definition, protection replaced the word immunity, reflecting the fact the vaccine did not prevent individuals from getting the disease, but did reduce morbidity and mortality. This and other changes in direction on the part of the government have undermined its credibility.
As the virus mutated, its virulence dropped. As mutations appeared, drug companies struggled to develop appropriate boosters. At the same time, short-term side effects — including neurologic, cardiovascular and pulmonary problems — were being discovered. Unfortunately, little of this data has been made available.
Of greater concern is the lack of long-term data on adverse effects. This is because the use of mRNA vaccines is in its infancy. Before the pandemic, early clinical trials using this vector were being held for several diseases, including Zika and influenza, but the science was not fully developed. Due to the perceived emergency, mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 were approved without extensive animal and human trials. In light of the pandemic, this can be justified. But the extent of short- and long-term adverse events remains unknown. However, it should be noted that, at present, the CDC recommends the Pfizer and Moderna products, and both use the mRNA vector.2
Unfortunately, as a result of the rush to produce vaccines, millions of us are now beta testing these drugs.
The CDC now recommends the public receive one vaccination per year. One would hope that with the millions of participants, randomized controlled trials are initiated to allow scientists and government officials, not to mention individuals, access to sufficient data to make informed decisions on the future use of mRNA vaccines.
Thomas G. Wilson Jr., DDS
Editor in Chief
- Schwab C, Domke LM, Hartmann L, Stenzinger A, Longerich T, Schirmacher P. Autopsy-based histopathological characterization of myocarditis after anti-SARS-CoV-2-vaccination. Clin Res Cardiol. November 27, 2022. Online ahead of print.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Myocarditis and Pericarditis After mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/myocarditis.html. Accessed January 26, 2023.
From Decisions in Dentistry. March 2023;9(3)7.