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COVID-19: Rapid mutation leads to vaccination failure –Experts

It takes days after full vaccination to develop high level of protection, says Prof. Tomori

Medical experts have said that COVID-19 virus mutates very fast and that the vaccines have not been fully studied. This rapid mutation, coupled with “breakthrough infection” for the fully vaccinated, in most cases, according to them, have been known to lead to vaccination failure. Isioma Madike reports

Medical experts, according to reports, have continued to actively monitor the COVID-19 vaccines’ safety and effectiveness against new and emerging variants. Research shows that the World Health Organisation (WHO)-authorised vaccines offer protection against severe disease, hospitalisation, and death against currently circulating variants. However, some people, who are fully vaccinated, may still get COVID-19.

The experts refer to an infection of a fully vaccinated person as a “vaccine breakthrough infection.” A vaccine breakthrough infection, according to these experts, happens when a fully vaccinated person gets infected with COVID-19. While evaluating the situation, the president of the Guild of Medical Directors (GMD), Professor Olufemi Babalola, said it is necessary to establish that those dying had been vaccinated, though insisted that the possibility of breakthrough infection is always there for the fully vaccinated. The professor however, said that vaccination is not the only answer to the COVID-19 conundrum.

He said: “First, we must establish that those dying had been vaccinated. Note that mortality is highest in the unvaccinated. Second, the possibility of breakthrough infection is always there for the fully vaccinated. But they tend to have milder diseases, often not needing hospitalisation. And thirdly, vaccination alone is not the only answer. It must be coupled with chemoprophylaxis, especially using Ivermectin.

“The experience in the Indian states of New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Goa is there for all to see. They relied mostly on Ivermectin based chemoprophylaxis, and then vaccination. And their success is there for all to see. There was a reduction in incidence of 97 per cent in New Delhi as opposed to 10 times increase in mortality in Tamil Nadu where they refused to use Ivermectin. But governments are under pressure from the big pharmaceutical companies not to use Ivermectin, for largely pecuniary reasons. “Ivermectin is a drug, which has been long used to treat onchocerciasis in Nigeria, and elsewhere. It was found to have antiviral properties against COVID-19.

When you have a case in the family, others in the immediate family and neighbourhood are given the medicine as prevention. This is what worked in India, and what we must adopt in Nigeria.” Another Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Virology at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture in Umudike, Abia State, Maduike Ezeibe, confirmed that rapid mutation (transformation) by pathogens has been known to lead to vaccination failure and that COVID-19 virus mutates very fast. But the truth, he said, is that the vaccines have not been fully studied. According to Ezeibe, countries that produce the vaccines are making their sales and forcing everybody to buy from them.

“There is a video trending where our minister of health is shown saying that manufacturers of the vaccines asked him to sign that they should not be held responsible for whatever happens to Nigerians after the vaccination and he did.

The least of what they mean could happen is that a person vaccinated would still come down. Countries that produce the vaccines are making their sales and forcing everybody to buy while we whom God has given a medicine that can cure are showing no interest in advancing our achievement.

“Everybody heard repeated advertisements on NTA that Nigeria had developed a cure for COVID-19 and that the vice president was going to unveil it but suddenly, we now hear that many institutions are screening herbs for possible cure. If we had come up with a medicine due for ‘unveilling’, why go back to ‘screening herbs’? “I have maintained that the Nigerian Medicinal Synthetic Aluminum Magnesium Silicate (MSAMS) cures COVID-19 within 72 hours. I explained the mechanism and nobody has been able to scientifically disprove the explanation. Instead, judges of the science exhibition of the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation agreed with me by awarding the first position to that explanation in 2020, and again in 2021.

What is the reason for the science exhibition when agents of the same government are still searching for a cure for COVID-19 since the same government said that our claim of having found the cure was not just true but is the best scientific discovery in Nigeria. “Now, if anybody thinks the claim we are making is wrong, let him/her come up. I plead with people in authority to look beyond individuals and think of Nigeria and mankind. If the minister of health has not heard that I said MSAMS cures COVID-19 in a few hours, please the Nigerian media call his attention to it.

If he needs further explanation I can come to NTA to explain and be asked questions. If Nigeria announces to the world that we have got a quick cure for COVID-19 and I prove the claim before WHO, COVID-19 will no longer be in the news as whoever feels he/she has the infection will treat himself/herself and move on. “That single invention would change the status of Nigeria, economically and diplomatically. Vaccines for the disease need to be studied in detail. That has not been done and there may not even be a need for it if there would be recognition for the quick and cheap cure already discovered. The problem appears to be that though all animals are equal, some are more equal.

I call for equality among scientific efforts to save the world from this pandemic. “Whatever the ‘more equal’ scientists claim must be accepted and even enforced, while no matter how much explanation the ‘less equal’ Professors give for their discoveries, even their own people would not believe them.

Otherwise, what is the difficulty in our authorities believing the explanation that since COVID-19 virus (60 nm) has positive charges and every infected cell is negatively charged while Aluminum magnesium silicate(AMS), a WHO approved medicine is made of Nanoparticles (0.96 nm) the medicine will mop both the virus and cells it infects thus leading to quick cure? “Let Nigerians search literature to confirm that: First, AMS, Aluminum Silicate (AS) and Magnesium Silicate (MS) are existing medicines. Second, AMS is made of Nanoparticles that have both positive and negative ends while COVID-19 virus and other RNA viruses have positive charges.

Third, that the equation by which we used AS and MS, which are abundant in Nigeria to get the Medicinal Synthetic AMS (which we don’t have) is scientific.” Professor Oyewale Tomori is the immediate past President of the Nigerian Academy of Science and a leading virologist, who helped spearhead Nigeria’s effort to kick out polio from the country.

He also gave his own perspective on the news regarding why someone can still die from COVID disease after receiving COVID vaccine. He called this an issue that requires some detailed explanation. According to him, the news going round of people dying of COVID, with the added statement…”and he or she was fully vaccinated” may create the impression that vaccines do not work. But, vaccines work for the intended purpose of manufacture, he said, adding, “We have to understand certain things about vaccines.

Vaccines are not the ‘be all or only solution’ to diseases. They are part of the solution…., additional ammunition in the defence armoury against diseases, just as you have different types of guns,bullets and other weapons of war. He said: “Vaccines are prepared from the causative pathogen of a disease…either whole or parts of the organism, modified or weakened, so that instead of causing disease when injected into the body, the modified pathogen stimulates the body to mount a defense, in the form of antibodies. When next the body is exposed to the original unmodified pathogen, the already sensitised body rapidly produces antibodies to counter the pathogen, destroying it and preventing it from multiplying to cause disease.

“It is important to note the following. First, not all vaccinations result in immunisation or development of immunity or protection; that is, vaccination is not SYNONYMOUS with immunisation. For many reasons, including, the person, the state of his or her health, the vaccine itself, the dose administered, how well preserved, …all contribute in one way or another to a vaccination resulting in the development and level of immunity and this is why vaccines do not attain 100 per cent efficacy. “It is not the day of vaccination that you develop immunity. It takes anything between 10 and 14 days or more, after full vaccination to develop a high level of protection.

Therefore, if you get exposed to the pathogen before you are fully protected, you can come down with the disease, get hospitalised and die Second, immunity developed wanes over time, requiring boosters to improve/ raise the level of immunity. The rate of waning varies from months to years, and with the vaccine type. From the above… two things are of note. The immunity developed is internal….

it does not stop EXPOSURE. That is my business. If I go around without wearing my mask in crowded places, among other non-mask wearing, free breathing people, some of whom may be COVID virus infected, certainly, my immunity will not protect me from breathing in COVID virus laden air in such an environment. “Having inhaled the COVID virus, it can multiply at the point of entry to cause an infection. Here comes the difference between a fully immunised and one not protected.

The infection (which may be asymptomatic or mild symptoms) is taken care of by the antibodies in an already immunised and protected person, so that it does not progress to severe disease hospitalisation and possible death. “In the partially protected or unprotected/ unimmunised person, the infection can escalate, in the absence of immunity,to a severe disease, hospitalisation and possible death. Therefore, when next you read of a person reportedly dying of COVID disease after COVID vaccination, and before you conclude that COVID vaccine does not work, please check the following: was the person fully vaccinated? How long after vaccination was he exposed? “If two vaccinations are required, was the exposure in between the two vaccinations? What information do you have about the vaccine…the batch, where and how it was kept.

Answers to these questions will not only help us in determining the efficacy of vaccines, but help in combating vaccine hesitancy and ensuring that potent vaccines are delivered to all.” The professor said that evidence from countries that have successfully vaccinated a majority of their population confirmed that the vaccines are safe. He also advised that people should differentiate between vaccinated and immunised, which he insisted are not synonymous. He equally differentiated between partial/ full vaccination and partial/full immunity. A person that is fully immunised, according to him, should ordinarily not die from the same disease immunised against.

“So, go for the vaccine whenever you have the opportunity. You are free to ask questions about facilities where the vaccines are kept. Find out, prior to your vaccination, information about the site and their procedures. Get vaccinated; and get your authentic vaccination card. Do not give bribes to obtain the vaccination. Such a card is fake.

“The fake card does not protect, it is vaccination that protects. COVID disease and COVID vaccine exist. The vaccine protects you against getting sick and dying from the disease. The mask and other non-pharmaceutical interventions prevent you from exposure and possible infection. Prevention is better than cure. Protect your life with all the ammunition in the defense against COVID disease,” Tomori advised.

The Nigerian Infectious Diseases Society (NIDS), President, Prof. Dimie Ogoina, while reacting to the death of Ladi Williams, SAN, who reportedly died despite being fully vaccinated, had said: “We need to be sure that COVID-19 is the direct cause of death. In the concept of the direct cause of death, you can have two or more concomitant diseases at the same time.

“For instance, you could have COVID-19, diabetes, hypertension, and some other diseases. That you have COVID-19 does not mean that it is COVID-19 that actually killed one, it could be diabetes or hypertension or something else that killed one. It is just a coincidence that one had COVID-19.” Ogoina, who is also a Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Niger Delta University and Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Bayelsa State, was also quoted to have said that for vaccine that has 97 per cent efficacy, what that means is that for every 100 persons, there are three persons that may not be protected.

The university don said that when you give someone a vaccine, it is like any other drug, sometimes people take anti-malaria drugs and they may not feel fine, they would have to take something else. The same thing, according to him, applies to vaccines.

“You may vaccinate 100 persons, 97 of them may feel well, and three may not necessarily feel well. This is because either genes are different, or their immune system is different or their body does not take the vaccine. It is not because the vaccine is bad but there is something peculiar about that person that makes the vaccine not work effectively. “The benefit of vaccines is not necessarily the protection it offers to the individual. Of course, it offers protection to the individual, but the protection it offers the population, so a large number of people are protected if you vaccinate. In addition, people can be protected, not everybody.

“I have just given you a typical example with malaria, so also polio, children get polio vaccine but a few of them develop polio, and it is for this same reason, maybe their genes or immune systems that make the vaccine not work. So, it should not stop peotople from taking the vaccine, because the benefits far outweigh the risk and there are minimal risks and it protects the population,” he added. A Public Health Physician, Dr. Doyin Odubanjo, said the issue of vaccines has to be specific to each person. “Some people may not have a good enough immune response after vaccination.

They may also have some underlying conditions that make catching COVID very dangerous for them (and remember that it is always possible to catch the infection after vaccination). Also, their immunity may have started to wane after some time from vaccination,” Odubanjo said. For Prof. Babatunde Salako, DG of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), COVID-19 vaccine is a remedy.

So far, he said, it has been shown to protect a significant number of people against severe infection and death. He said: “People with HBP, Diabetes, others can take the vaccines. These are the vulnerable groups that must be prioritised for inoculation. It’s been shown that COVD-19 infection often takes a more severe course among them and may lead to death easily.

They therefore need to take the first opportunity at the jab.” Dr. Rotimi Adesanya, Consultant Family physician and Medical Director at Federal College of Education (Technical) Medical Centre, Lagos, has also said that the vaccine protects against disease, and it produces antibodies against disease like COVID-19. There are many strains, he said, and a single vaccine, according to him, may not protect against all strains of a disease. He said: “The people dying may be dying from the new strain of COVID-19 like delta strain not covered by the vaccine but definitely not dying from the strain covered by the vaccine.” The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Secretary General, Dr. Philips Ekpe, also said that vaccination doesn’t mean 100 per cent are prevented. “If you check AstraZeneca, it is less than 80 per cent…

plus diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease will increase chances of death, also with late presentation. However, the index of suspicion of COVID-19 is dropping as the incidence is dropping. Another medical practitioner, Ade Oderinde, said that the death of those who are fully vaccinated could be from comorbidity.

“That is, it could have resulted from other medical conditions that a COVID patient has. For instance, a COVID patient with hypertension, diabetes or bronchial asthma could have died from complications of those conditions and not necessarily from COVID itself.

Aside from that, it could also be due to vaccine failure,” Oderinde said. However, the risk of infection, hospitalisation, and death, according to the experts, are all much lower in vaccinated compared to unvaccinated people. Therefore, everyone aged 12 years and older, they advised, should get vaccinated to protect themselves and those around them, including family members.

 

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