This post is the first in a series taken from the article by Keith Wassung entitled “Challenging the theory of Artificial Immunity”. This series focuses on Challenging the theory of Artificial Immunity, Theory and Practice of Vaccines, and Conclusion: Cause of Long Term Immunity. This week’s post looks at Challenging the theory of Artificial Immunity.

Little baby get an injection

The practice of vaccination against disease began in 1796 by Edward Jenner, who used the pus of blisters from cowpox to vaccinate people against smallpox.

Despite the fact that vaccination is perhaps viewed as the strongest preventive measure against disease in modern health care, its practice and protocol has been challenged in recent years by a growing number of doctors and scientists, as well as a large number of parents. Recent immunology research and the availability of health information have caused the challenge of the foundational tenets of vaccination.

 

“The control or even eradication of childhood disease has been heralded as one of medicine’s finest accomplishments, yet there is a growing suspicion that infection intervention may have an adverse effect on the patients. As childhood infections have decreased, chronic afflictions have increased.” 1
– The Economist

Syringe filled with money

 

“Lately, there has been a swell of complaints from groups and individuals about vaccine side effects and the lack of long-term scientific studies and safety data on vaccines. And, at a time when there are more than 200 vaccines in the pipeline, the concern is mounting that high-profile vaccine advocates and the lobbies they represent, exert an inordinate influence on the setting of government vaccine policy.” 2
– ABC News

 

It may seem incredulous to challenge the practice of vaccination. After all, it has claimed responsibility for the eradication of many diseases in the past 100 years including polio, smallpox, whooping cough and diphtheria. But these claims are largely based on epidemic studies, rather than on clinical evidence of effectiveness. Europe, for example, experienced the same rise and decline of polio cases yet never had the polio vaccine. In addition, many diseases that were once thought to be eradicated simply take on different forms and are given different names. For example, spinal meningitis and polio have almost identical symptoms.

Lab worker using fume hood

We have learned an incredible amount of information in recent years about the complex workings of the immune system, mostly due to advances in cancer, genetics and AIDS research.

This has shed new light on the inner workings of the immune system and the most effective ways to strengthen the host resistance.

 

One thing we have learned is that simply altering the natural physiology of the body may temporarily give the appearance of resolution of disease, but may actually create more problems in the end. Virtually all studies of the effectiveness of vaccines are based on statistical data and the presence or absence of disease. There have never been any medical studies that have been performed that clearly demonstrate that vaccines increase the immune system competence of the human body, nor has there been any medical study on the long-term effects of vaccines.

It must be understood that vaccine studies are economically influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, which has a tremendous influence on the outcome of these studies. Vaccine sales represent a huge profit for these companies and a certain amount of economic bias will always be involved.

Syringes and vials

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, (ACIP) a group of individuals hand-picked by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), recommends which vaccines are administered to American children. Working mainly in secret, ACIP members frequently have financial links to vaccine manufacturers. Dependent on CDC funding, state vaccination programs follow CDC directives by influencing state legislatures to mandate new vaccines. Federal vaccine funds can be denied to states which do not “vigorously enforce” mandatory vaccination laws. Conversely, the CDC offers financial bounties to state health departments for each “fully vaccinated” child.”3
– The Medical Sentinel

Books

The past decade has seen a number of books and articles written which challenge the practice of vaccinations, mostly on the grounds of the potential side effects and long term latent effects of the vaccine.

These topics are certainly a factor in the vaccination debate, but the real issue is whether or not vaccines actually produce lasting immunity that is at least equal or superior to immunity that is obtained via natural exposure.

This article provides the last scientific evidence in addressing that particular question.

Fundamentals of the Immune System

Immune system illustration

The Immune System is the name of a collection of molecules, cells, and organs whose complex interactions form an efficient system that is usually able to protect an individual from both outside invaders and its own altered internal cells, which lead to cancer.

The immune system is comprised of the lymphoid tissues and organs of the body. Lymphoid tissues are widely distributed. They are concentrated in bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, liver, thymus, and Peyer’s patch scattered in the linings of the GI tract.

The lymphoid system is encompassed by the system of mononuclear phagocytes (equivalent to the reticuloendothelial system or RES) Lymphocytes are the predominant cells, but macrophages and plasma cells are present also.

Lymphocytes are cells, which circulate, alternating between the circulatory bloodstream and the lymphatic channels of the body.

The immune system is divided into two components, non-specific, also referred to as innate or non-adaptive immunity and specific which is also known as acquired or adaptive immunity. The breakdown into non-specific and specific is for classification purposes only as there is constant and complex interaction, coordination and communication between all parts of the immune system. The majority of the immune resistance occurs in the non-specific components.

Immune system components

“The non-specific defense system responds immediately to protect the body from all foreign substances, whatever they are. The non-specific system reduces the workload of the specific defense system, by preventing entry and spread of micro-organisms throughout the entire body.”4
– Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology

“In the 1980’s Paola’s team at the Pasteur Institute in Paris showed that 98% of the immune response triggered at the early stages of infection is non-specific.”5
– Nature Medicine

Lines of Defense

1st lines of defense are the physical barriers which include the skin, mucosal membrane, tears, ciliary elevator, and urine. Chemical barriers include sebum sweat, stomach acid and lysozymes.

2nd lines of defense are the macrophage system, complement, fever, interferon and inflammation. The macrophage system attacks and consumes pathogens by engulfing them, a process known as phagocytosis.

Complement cooperates with macrophages by attaching to foreign cells and initiating the ingestion of the cells by phagocytosis. Interferons are a class of proteins; activated by a fever that prevents viral replication in surrounding cells and also inhibits the growth of cancer cells.

Medicine vials

 

“The antiviral action of interferon provides a major host defense against viral infections.” 6
– Essentials of Medicine

 

 

Fever is a powerful part of the immune system, as it interferes with pathogen growth, inactivates many pathogen toxins, and facilitates a more intense immune system response. Many physicians now recommend allowing fevers to run their course.

“Fever is a systematic response to infection. It is generally agreed that moderate elevation of body temperature improves the body’s disease fighting capacity.” 7
– Human Physiology

When tissue injury occurs, whether caused by bacteria or viruses, etc, substances such as bradykinins, complement, and histamines are released. This process is called inflammation and it strongly activates the macrophage system to remove damaged cell tissue. Inflammation is a vital part of the healing and repair process of the immune system and when it is delayed or inhibited, healing and repair are incomplete.

Splinter breaking skin illustration

Inflammation in ankle

 

“Inflammation is one of the most important mechanisms of host defense since it marshals the attack on the injurious agent and leads to repair of the affected tissue.” 8
– The Cell Biology of Inflammation

 

The third lines of defense are the specific systems, also known as acquired or adaptive immunity. The specific system consists of B cells (humoral), and T cells (cell-mediated). These cells have mechanisms for selecting a precisely defined target and for developing memory to the antigen so that subsequent exposures will result in a more efficient and effective response.

Lymph node graphic

Definition of Immunity

Immunity:

  1. Protection against infectious disease by either specific or non-specific mechanisms.
  2. Pertaining to the immune system or immune response. 9
    – Dorland’s Medical Dictionary

 

 

 

Every standard definition of immunity involves the overall competence of both the non-specific and specific components of the immune system to recognize, isolate and eliminate foreign pathogens. This competence also involves the ability of the immune system to be able to distinguish between self and non-self. Immunity is the body’s ability to establish and maintain molecular identity. There is a huge difference between true immunity and the absence of symptoms of disease.

 

References:
1) Plagued by Cures, The Economist, Nov 22, 1997 v344 p.95(3)
2) Regush, N. “The Vaccine Machine” ABC News
3) Schafly R. “Official Vaccine policy Flawed” The Medical Sentinel, 1999, 4(3) 106-108
4) Marieb, E. Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology, WB Saunders, 2000, Philadelphia
5) Degrave W. “A B-cell mitogen from a pathogenic trypanosome is a novel eukaryotic proline racemase” Nature Medicine, Aug 2000 p.890
6) Andreoli, A. Essentials of Medicine, WB Saunders, 2001 Philadelphia
7) Moffett, D. Human Physiology, Mosby Medical Publishing, 19932nd edition,
8) Weissman, G. The Cell Biology of Inflammation, Biomedical Press 1980, Amsterdam
9) Ingelfinger, F. Dorland’s Medical Dictionary Saunders Press, 1999