could mean they no longer have to run
complex mass vaccination programs.
Critics say the vaccines pose many health risks
and would also spell
the end of informed consent...
Accomplishing this goal is a "monumental challenge," however.
Although some of the uninjected tell pollsters they plan to eventually get the vaccine, a solid minority remains committed to never doing so.
The same pattern appears to hold true globally:
While social and behavioral science researchers apply "soft science" techniques in an attempt to maneuver vaccine confidence into more acquiescent territory, bench scientists have a different option potentially waiting in the wings:
Not Mainstream (Yet)
Vaccine scientists concede transmissible vaccines,
The makers of self-disseminating vaccines use recombinant vector technology to build genetic material from a target pathogen onto the "chassis" of a viral vector deemed "benign," "innocuous" or "avirulent."
This is similar to the viral vector approach used to produce the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca COVID vaccines.
For Johns Hopkins, the appeal of vaccines that are intentionally engineered to be self-disseminating seems obvious.
The university's Center for Health Security made its case explicit in a 2018 report,
The report stated,
Further spelling out the utilitarian implications of self-disseminating vaccines, the report's authors stated,
From a programmatic standpoint, this strategy would have the advantage of being,
Perhaps even more significantly, however, it would override one of the "thorny ethical questions" that mass vaccination programs routinely wrestle with:
As the university's Center for Health Security briefly acknowledged in its report, self-disseminating vaccines would essentially make it impossible for,
Blame the Animals
Writing in 2020 in Nature Ecology & Evolution, researchers observed that viral zoonoses (diseases theorized to jump from animals to humans) have become an entrenched part of the "global mindset" and a central element of the pandemic-obsessed global health zeitgeist.
Despite SARS-CoV-2's unproven zoonotic origins (cast into doubt by figures such as Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the past year's coronavirus hype has helped reinforce the popular perception that wildlife populations represent a menacing cauldron of latent viral threats - requiring only the right set of circumstances to spring into humanity-endangering action.
Parlaying the COVID moment into a convenient scientific opportunity, researchers suggest that the purported "failure to contain the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic" furnishes a rationale for accelerating the rollout of self-disseminating vaccines...
As some journalists have phrased the question du jour,
Transmissible-vaccine research also has ascended the list of funding priorities for government agencies like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and, reportedly, donors such as the Gates Foundation.
At least officially, the primary focus of self-spreading vaccine research has thus far been on wildlife populations.
Although the practice of direct wildlife vaccination (for example, against rabies) has been around since the 1960s, it is the longstanding efforts to develop sterilizing vaccines in wildlife (euphemistically called "immunocontraception"), as well as recent advances in genetic engineering, that,
Researchers explain how the targeting of wildlife reservoirs is intended to work:
When put to the test by Spanish researchers in a limited field trial in rabbits, about 50% of the unvaccinated rabbits developed antibodies after being housed with vaccinated rabbits who had received a transmissible vaccine either via injection or orally.
When the researchers assessed second-generation transmission (that is, development of antibodies in another batch of rabbits moved in with the first batch of unvaccinated rabbits), the transmission rate was much lower (two of 24 rabbits).
What Could possibly Go Wrong?
As the Johns Hopkins report made clear in 2018, there is no technical reason why the self-spreading approach could not be applied to humans.
The authors admitted to "several big challenges," however, including the fact that autonomous vaccines (as mentioned above) would render informed consent a moot point and would make it impossible to screen individuals for contraindications such as allergies.
According to Johns Hopkins and others, another major challenge is the,
...creating an opportunity for the vaccines to propagate disease rather than prevent it.
In fact, the world is already familiar with this phenomenon in the form of oral polio vaccines. Though not "intentionally designed that way," oral polio vaccines are considered "a little bit transmissible" and are acknowledged to cause polio.
Hopkins' researchers pointedly characterized the reversion challenge as,
Another Catch-22 articulated in the university's report is that while reversion risks could perhaps be lessened by engineering the vaccines to be more "weakly transmissible," this could defeat the purpose of getting vaccines to "go" on their own.
On the other hand, the two scientists who are most strongly promoting transmissible vaccines argue that,
These same authors have also developed models suggesting that starting the transmissible ball rolling with direct vaccination of newborns could be particularly impactful.
In September 2020, two researchers writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists agreed that self-spreading vaccines may have significant downsides and could "entail serious risks," particularly given that scientists lose control of their creation once released.
They outlined several additional questions:
On the latter point, the Bulletin authors drew readers' attention to immunocontraception efforts in animals as well as an infamous example of "weaponized biology" against humans in apartheid-era South Africa, called Project Coast, which sought - reportedly unsuccessfully - to develop an,
Other scientists have made an even more direct case against transmissible vaccines, arguing the risks of autonomously spreading vaccines do, in fact,
Risks, in their view, include,
Vaccine science - Many unknowns
When measles, rather than COVID, was dominating the headlines a couple years ago, the unvaccinated were heavily scapegoated for apparent outbreaks.
This non-evidence-based finger-pointing (used to usher in draconian new vaccine mandates), ignored the well-documented,
The experimental Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines use new messenger RNA (mRNA) technology rather than the traditional live-virus technology featured in vaccines like the MMR, and thus, we are told, they cannot produce the same type of "shedding."
However, many unvaccinated individuals are reporting unusual symptoms or illness after spending time in proximity to COVID-vaccinated individuals.
Pointing to Pfizer's protocol acknowledging the possibility of exposure via inhalation or skin contact with vaccinated individuals, concerned health professionals have raised the question of whether some novel form of shedding is occurring.
Some of the people raising these questions have pointed to the September 2020 article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, subtitled,
By May 2021, the Bulletin's editors, apparently uncomfortable with the attention the September article had attracted, were trying to distance themselves by stating the Bulletin's content was being misused to further conspiracy theories about,
Whether the COVID injections are "self-spreading" in any sense of the word is a question that cannot currently be answered.
However, there is at least one plausible molecular mechanism that could explain the observed vaccinated-to-unvaccinated "shedding" effects.
GreenMedInfo's Sayer Ji explains that,
What is even more certain is that scientists themselves do not have all the answers.
Some may wish to believe in the possibility of simply genetically engineering a vaccine,
But others note,
Techno-thriller author Michael Crichton predicted in 2002 that with the advent of nanotechnology and other technological innovations, the pace of evolutionary change was likely to be "extremely rapid."