Stanford

Stanford Study Finds Vaccine mRNA and Spike Protein Persist in the Body for Months Following Vaccination – But Not Following Infection

A study from Stanford University, published in Cell, has found that vaccine mRNA and spike protein persist in lymph nodes for up to two months following the second vaccine dose. This is in contrast to what happens following infection, where spike protein was found only rarely.

In contrast to disrupted germinal centres in lymph nodes during infection, mRNA vaccination stimulates robust germinal centres containing vaccine mRNA and spike antigen up to eight weeks postvaccination in some cases…

The observed extended presence of vaccine mRNA and spike protein in vaccinee lymph node germinal centres for up to two months after vaccination was in contrast to rare foci of viral spike protein in COVID-19 patient lymph nodes… COVID-19 patient lymph nodes showed lower quantities of spike antigen.

The researchers also found the concentration of spike protein in the blood following vaccination was similar to that during infection.

At least some portion of spike antigen generated after administration of BNT162b2 becomes distributed into the blood. We detected spike antigen in 96% of vaccinees in plasma collected one to two days after the prime injection, with antigen levels reaching as high as 174 pg/mL. The range of spike antigen concentrations in the blood of vaccinees at this early time point largely overlaps with the range of spike antigen concentrations reported in plasma in a study of acute infection, although a small number of infected individuals had higher concentrations in the ng/mL range. At later time points after vaccination, the concentrations of spike antigen in blood quickly decrease although spike is still detectable in plasma in 63% of vaccinees one week after the first dose. 

The researchers found evidence of ‘original antigenic sin’ from the vaccines, where a person vaccinated and then infected with a variant develops a weaker antibody response to that variant than an unvaccinated person infected with the variant. They describe it as a “strong imprinting effect of prior vaccination”.

Great Barrington Author Gets Mobbed by His Stanford Colleagues

Jay Bhattacharya is a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, and one of the three co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, which outlines a focused protection strategy for dealing with COVID-19.

Although many academics disagree with Bhattacharya about the merits of focused protection, you’d hope they would treat him with respect when expressing their disagreement. Unfortunately, in the era of wokeness and safetyism on campus, this is too much to ask for.

Professor Bhattacharya recently became the subject of a censorious petition circulated by his own colleagues at Stanford.

Although the petition does not name him explicitly, it refers to a “Stanford faculty member” who – gasp – “defends the Governor of Florida’s rejection of mask mandates”. It then directly quotes Bhattacharya as saying “there is no high-quality evidence to support the assertion that masks stop the disease from spreading”.

Note how reasonable this supposedly controversial statement is. Bhattacharya didn’t say there is “no evidence”. He said there is “no high-quality evidence”, which strikes me as entirely defensible. Although there has been one RCT of community masking – the Bangladesh mask study – its results were inconclusive at best.

What’s more, Bhattacharya’s statement concerned the effect of children wearing masks, and there haven’t been any RCTs on that. (The Bangladesh mask study – which had not been published at the time his comments were made – only monitored adults.)

According to the petitioners, Bhattacharya “sows mistrust of policies designed to protect the public health and puts young children, their families and their teachers at risk”. Quite a charge to level at one of your own colleagues. And this wasn’t an off-hand remark in a heated conversation; it was written in a letter to the University President.

The petitioners “recognise the right of every member of the scientific community to express their views and opinions”. But “a time comes,” they write, “when skepticism can no longer be seen as anything other than willful disregard of countervailing facts”.

Perhaps the petitioners are aware of another large-scale RCT of community masking, which does show an unambiguous benefit? If so, it was not mentioned in their missive.

They go on to say: “Encouraging others to deviate from nationally-advocated policy during a pandemic jeopardises us all.” Given that the authorities initially advised against mask-wearing, this must mean the first scientists who questioned that advice were also “jeopardising us all”.

Maybe Bhattacharya’s critics can pen a belated letter denouncing those scientists who “encouraged others to deviate from” the U.S. Surgeon General’s advice in February of 2020. He urged people to “STOP BUYING MASKS” because they are “NOT effective” at preventing the general public from catching coronavirus.

The petitioners conclude their missive by asking the University President to “forcefully declare your faith in the measures you are relying upon to bring us back to campus”. And if that doesn’t sound like a religious exhortation, I don’t know what does.

Incidentally, the petition against Bhattacharya isn’t the first example of Stanford academics mobbing one of their own colleagues for questioning the received wisdom on Covid policy.

Last October, 98 faculty members signed a petition criticising Dr Scott Atlas, whom they accused of spreading “falsehoods and misrepresentations of science”. As a matter of fact, a recent study of academic cancel culture found that Stanford had experienced more incidents than any other U.S. university.

Based on this evidence, it looks like Stanford scholars need to spend more time doing teaching and research, and less time denouncing their colleagues.

This post has been updated.