I recently made a post in one of my science Facebook groups trying to explain some of the basics about antibodies to people and was asked if it could be shared. The group, however, is private so sharing its content is not permitted but I realized I could just reproduce the post below, so this is that (also I can include hyperlinks here which is nice). It’s more informal than the content of this blog usually is. I have modified it slightly to give some additional details that I thought were important and were not included in the first version.


There is presently a viral video circulating featuring the testimony of Dr. Christina Parks regarding COVID-19 vaccines and mandating them. In this video, she makes a number of blatantly false claims or prevaricates and they are worth going through in detail. Parks recycles a few of her points so this is mostly chronological but if she returned to a particular subject I discuss it in the same section rather than mentioning it a second time.

Gene therapy

Parks begins her testimony by alleging that the mRNA vaccines are an example of gene therapy. As it happens, I have a recent post addressing…


Key concepts for gene therapy. Gene therapy aims to (a) replace the function of a defective gene with a functional one, (b) suppress a pathologic genetic variant, or © repair a defective gene directly through genome editing. Anguela, X. M. & High, K. A. Entering the modern era of gene therapy. Annu. Rev. Med. 70, 273–288 (2019). Figure 2

Recently I’ve seen a surge in concerns that the COVID-19 vaccines are gene therapy. I am not sure what the source is, and furthermore whether or not COVID-19 vaccines are gene therapy is irrelevant for questions about their safety or effectiveness. But, regardless, COVID-19 vaccines are NOT gene therapy.

COVID-19 vaccines cannot affect your DNA, as I detailed before here in the context of mRNA vaccines; for information about the adenovirus vectors, I refer you to CHOP’s summary here (they too cannot affect the human genome because they lack the machinery to do so even though they are DNA viruses…


Global prevalence of the Kappa variant via outbreak.info

I have written at length about the prospect of antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) in COVID-19 before here, but recently some individuals have seized on a Letter to the Editor by Yahi et al. published in the Journal of Infection which notes the presence of infection-enhancing antibodies, wherein those individuals imply (or overtly state) that ADE in COVID-19 is now confirmed and the vaccines have doomed us all. In truth, this letter and its findings don’t actually change anything from my post in December, so I’ll go through why that is and refer you to that post for a detailed explanation of…


A surprisingly large number of people have sent me a video that is inundated with disinformation about COVID-19 and its reach seems considerable so I have deemed it significant enough to address. In the video, one Dr. Dan Stock from Indiana at a school board meeting opines at length about all the things we’re supposedly doing wrong with COVID-19 (by the way, the FSMB has now stated that spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccination may put medical licenses at risk, though state medical boards have final say it seems; rest assured I will be examining the rules in Indiana quite closely)…


The gist: Many seem to hold to the incorrect idea that immunity acquired through infection is superior to immunity acquired by vaccination but multiple examples show this isn’t true: recovery from tetanus generally does not confer any protection while vaccination induces protection in virtually everyone, vaccination is far more protective against HPV than infection, and some infectious diseases can recur or develop into chronic diseases like varicella (chickenpox) and hepatitis B. COVID-19 is among the most dangerous respiratory infections that any of us will ever face in our lives. It has killed at least 4 million people in the course…


The gist: While we do need well-designed prospective studies that look explicitly at whether or not vaccines prevent long COVID, and those studies are underway, we know that you need to get infected with SARS-CoV-2 to develop long COVID. We have quite a bit of data to show that vaccines do in fact prevent that, both by preventing direct infection of the vaccinated individual and by blocking subsequent transmission of the virus. For that reason, it’s likely that COVID-19 vaccines do in fact prevent long COVID.

COVID-19 has surprised us in many ways, but among the most frustrating is PASC


The gist: Some have taken note of the disappearance of influenza with this pandemic, and argued that this is because of viral interference from SARS-CoV-2: in essence, people are becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 and therefore rendered incapable of catching influenza. Some are taking it so far as to suggest that this explains the decline of flu rather than non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) like masking, distancing, ventilation, humidity, handwashing, etc. The problem is: there’s really no evidence to support that. Experimentally, influenza seems to enhance infection of cells by SARS-CoV-2, and worsens outcomes in mice. Additionally, the rapid decline of influenza occurred…


I honestly can’t believe I even wrote that title, because truthfully the optimism that is required to put together that sequence of words in that order is something I could not have conceived of even a few months ago. The pandemic is not over- it’s not close to over actually- in many parts of the world and for certain groups, and SARS-CoV-2’s transition to endemicity is all but certain, but we are seeing it transform into a manageable public health problem in some nations rather than the catastrophe it has been to date that has wrought historic devastation not seen…


A recent paper has found spike protein antigens in the blood of people who received the mRNA-1273 vaccine from Moderna, and this is naturally being spun to mean the vaccines are dangerous. But actually there are several points about this paper that are very reassuring. Firstly, the reason some are concerned has to do with the discoveries that the spike protein alone may play a role in some of the disease manifestations of COVID (such as those explored here, and here). I have a detailed post on spike that I am working on to explain basically everything anyone ever wanted…

Edward Nirenberg

I write about vaccines here. You can find me on Twitter @enirenberg and at deplatformdisease.com (where I publish the same content without a paywall)

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