Open Letter to WHO

Geert Vanden Bossche, DMV, Ph.D., independent virologist and vaccine expert, formerly employed at
GAVI and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
To all authorities, scientists, and experts around the world, to whom this concerns: the entire world
population.

I am all but an antvaxxer. As a scientist, I do not usually appeal to any platform of this kind to make a
stand on vaccine-related topics. As a dedicated virologist and vaccine expert, I only make an exception
when health authorities allow vaccines to be administered in ways that threaten public health, most certainly when scientific evidence is being ignored. The present extremely critical situation forces me to spread this emergency call. As the unprecedented extent of human intervention in the Covid-19-pandemic is now at risk of resulting in a global catastrophe without equal, this call cannot sound loudly
and strongly enough.
As stated, I am not against vaccination. On the contrary, I can assure you that each of the current vaccines has been designed, developed, and manufactured by brilliant and competent scientists.
However, this type of prophylactic vaccine is completely inappropriate, and even highly dangerous,
when used in mass vaccination campaigns during a viral pandemic. Vaccinologists, scientists, and
clinicians are blinded by the positive short-term effects in individual patients but don’t seem to bother about the disastrous consequences for global health. Unless I am scientifically proven wrong, it is difficult to understand how the current human intervention will prevent circulating variants from turning into a wild monster.
Racing against the clock, I am completing my scientific manuscript, the publication of which is,
unfortunately, likely to come too late given the ever-increasing threat from rapidly spreading, highly
infectious variants. This is why I decided to already post a summary of my findings as well as my keynote
speech at the recent Vaccine Summit in Ohio on LinkedIn. Last Monday, I provided international health
organizations, including the WHO, with my analysis of the current pandemic as based on scientifically informed insights in the immune biology of Covid-19. Given the level of emergency, I urged them to consider my concerns and to initiate a debate on the detrimental consequences of further ‘viral immune
escape’. For those who are no experts in this field, I am attaching below a more accessible and
comprehensible version of the science behind this insidious phenomenon. While there is no time to spare, I have not received any feedback thus far. Experts and politicians have remained silent while obviously still eager to talk about relaxing infection prevention rules and ‘springtime freedom’. My statements are based on nothing else but science. They shall only be contradicted by science. While one can barely make any incorrect scientific statements without being criticized by peers, it seems like the elite of scientists who are currently advising our world leaders prefer to stay silent. Sufficient scientific evidence has been brought to the table. Unfortunately, it remains untouched by those who have the power to act. How long can one ignore the problem when there is at present massive evidence that viral immune escape is now threatening humanity? We can hardly say we didn’t know – or were not warned.
In this agonizing letter, I put all of my reputation and credibility at stake. I expect from you, guardians of
mankind, at least the same. It is of utmost urgency. Do open the debate. By all means: turn the tide!

PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY OF INTERNATIONAL CONCERN
Why mass vaccinaton amidst a pandemic creates an irrepressible monster THE key queston is: why does nobody seem to bother about viral immune escape? Let me try to explain this by means of a more easily understood phenomenon: Antmicrobial resistance. One can easily
extrapolate this scourge to resistance to our self-made ‘antviral antbiotcs’. Indeed, antbodies (Abs) produced by our own immune system can be considered self-made antviral antbiotcs, regardless of whether they are part of our innate immune system (so-called ‘natural’ Abs’) or elicited in response to specifc pathogens (resultng in so-called ‘acquired’ Abs). Natural Abs are not germ-specifc whereas acquired Abs are specifcally directed at the invading pathogen. At birth, our innate immune system is
‘unexperienced’ but well-established. It protects us from a multtude of pathogens, thereby preventng
these pathogens from causing disease. As the innate immune system cannot remember the pathogens it encountered (innate immunity has no so-called ‘immunological memory’), we can only contnue to rely on it provided we keep it ‘trained’ well enough. Training is achieved by regular exposure to a myriad of environmental agents, including pathogens. However, as we age, we will increasingly face situatons
where our innate immunity (ofen called ‘the frst line of immune defense’) is not strong enough to halt
the pathogen at the portal of entry (mostly mucosal barriers like respiratory or intestnal epithelia).
When this happens, the immune system has to rely on more specialized efectors of our immune system
(i.e., antgen-specifc Abs and T cells) to fght the pathogen. So, as we grow up, we increasingly mount
pathogen-specifc immunity, including highly specifc Abs. As those have stronger afnity for the pathogen (e.g., virus) and can reach high concentratons, they can quite easily outcompete our natural
Abs for binding to the pathogen/virus. It is precisely this type of highly specifc, high afnity Abs that current Covid-19 vaccines are inducing. Of course, the noble purpose of these Abs is to protect us against Covid-19. So, why then should there be a major concern using these vaccines to fght Covid-19?
Well, similar to the rules applying to classical antmicrobial antbiotcs, it is paramount that our self-made
‘antviral antbiotcs’ are made available in sufcient concentraton and are tailored at the specifc features of our enemy. This is why in case of bacterial disease it is critcal to not only chose the right type
of antbiotc (based on the results from an antbiogram) but to also take the antbiotc for long enough
(according to the prescripton). Failure to comply with these requirements is at risk of grantng microbes a chance to survive and hence, may cause the disease to fare up. A very similar mechanism may also
apply to viruses, especially to viruses that can easily and rapidly mutate (which is, for example, the case with Coronaviruses); when the pressure exerted by the army’s (read: populaton’s) immune defense
starts to threaten viral replicaton and transmission, the virus will take on another coat so that it can no
longer be easily recognized and, therefore, atacked by the host immune system. The virus is now able to
escape immunity (so-called: ‘immune escape’). However, the virus can only rely on this strategy provided it stll has room enough to replicate. Viruses, in contrast to the majority of bacteria, must rely on living host cells to replicate. This is why the occurrence of ‘escape mutants’ isn’t too worrisome as long as the likelihood for these variants to rapidly fnd another host is quite remote. However, that’s not partcularly the case during a viral pandemic! During a pandemic, the virus is spreading all over the globe with many subjects shedding and transmitng the virus (even including asymptomatc ‘carriers’). The higher the
viral load, the higher the likelihood for the virus to bump into subjects who haven’t been infected yet or
who were infected but didn’t develop symptoms. Unless they are sufciently protected by their innate immune defense (through natural Abs), they will catch Covid-19 disease as they cannot rely on other,
i.e., acquired Abs. It has been extensively reported, indeed, that the increase in S (spike)-specifc Abs in
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asymptomatcally infected people is rather limited and only short-lived. Furthermore, these Abs have not
achieved full maturity. The combinaton of viral infecton on a background of suboptmal Ab maturity and
concentraton enables the virus to select mutatons allowing it to escape the immune pressure. The
selecton of those mutatons preferably occurs in the S protein as this is the viral protein that is
responsible for viral infectousness. As the selected mutatons endow the virus with increased infectous
capacity, it now becomes much easier for the virus to cause severe disease in infected subjects. The
more people develop symptomatc disease, the beter the virus can secure its propagaton and perpetuaton (people who get severe disease will shed more virus and for a longer period of tme than
asymptomatcally infected subjects do). Unfortunately enough, the short-lived rise in S-specifc Abs does,
however, sufce to bypass people’s innate/natural Ab. Those are put out of business as their afnity for S
is lower than the afnity of S-specifc Abs. This is to say that with an increasing rate of infecton in the
populaton, the number of subjects who get infected while experiencing a momentary increase in Sspecifc Abs will steadily increase. Consequently, the number of subjects who get infected while
experiencing a momentary decrease in their innate immunity will increase. As a result, a steadily increasing number of subjects will become more susceptble to getng severe disease instead of showing only mild symptoms (i.e., limited to the upper respiratory tract) or no symptoms at all. During a
pandemic, especially youngsters will be afected by this evoluton as their natural Abs are not yet largely
suppressed by a panoply of ‘acquired’, antgen-specifc Abs. Natural Abs, and natural immunity in general, play a critcal role in protectng us from pathogens as they consttute our frst line of immune defense. In contrast to acquired immunity, innate immune responses protect against a large spectrum of
pathogens (so don’t compromise or sacrifce your innate immune defense!). Because natural Abs and
innate immune cells recognize a diversifed spectrum of foreign (i.e., non-self) agents (only some of which have pathogenic potental), it’s important, indeed, to keep it sufciently exposed to environmental challenges. By keeping the innate immune system (which, unfortunately, has no memory!) TRAINED, we can much more easily resist germs which have real pathogenic potental. It has, for example, been reported and scientfcally proven that exposure to other, quite harmless Coronaviruses causing a ‘common cold ’ can provide protecton, although short-lived, against Covid-19 and its loyal henchmen
(i.e., the more infectous variants). Suppression of innate immunity, especially in the younger age groups, can, therefore, become very
problematc. There can be no doubt that lack of exposure due to stringent containment measures implemented as of the beginning of the pandemic has not been benefcial to keeping people’s innate
immune system well trained. As if this was not already heavily compromising innate immune defense in
this populaton segment, there comes yet another force into play that will dramatically enhance morbidity and mortality rates in the younger age groups: MASS VACCINATION of the ELDERLY. The more
extensively the later age group will be vaccinated and hence, protected, the more the virus is forced to continue causing disease in younger age groups. This is only going to be possible provided it escapes to
the S-specific Abs that are momentarily raised in previously asymptomatically infected subjects. If the
virus manages to do so, it can benefit from the (momentarily) suppressed innate immunity, thereby
causing disease in an increasing number of these subjects and ensuring its own propagation. Selecting
targeted mutations in the S protein is, therefore, the way to go in order for the virus to enhance its infectiousness in candidates that are prone to getting the disease because of a transient weakness of
their innate immune defense.
But in the meantime, we’re also facing a huge problem in vaccinated people as they’re now more and more confronted with infectious variants displaying a type of S protein that is increasingly different from the S edition comprised within the vaccine (the later edition originates from the original, much less
infectious strain at the beginning of the pandemic). The more variants become infectious (i.e., as a result
of blocking access of the virus to the vaccinated segment of the population), the less vaccinal Abs will protect. Already now, lack of protection is leading to viral shedding and transmission in vaccine recipients who are exposed to these more infectious strains (which, by the way, increasingly dominate the field). This is how we are currently turning vaccinees into asymptomatic carriers shedding infectous
variants. At some point, in a likely very near future, it’s going to become more profitable (in term of ‘return on selection investment’) for the virus to just add another few mutations (maybe just one or two) to the S
protein of viral variants (already endowed with multiple mutations enhancing infectiousness) in an
attempt to further strengthen its binding to the receptor (ACE-2) expressed on the surface of permissive
epithelial cells. This will now allow the new variant to outcompete vaccinal Abs for binding to the ACE
receptor. This is to say that at this stage, it would only take very few additional targeted mutations within the viral receptor-binding domain to fully resist S-specific ant-Covid-19 Abs, regardless of whether the latter are elicited by the vaccine or by natural infection. At that stage, the virus will, indeed, have
managed to gain access to a huge reservoir of subjects who have now become highly susceptible to disease as their S-specific Abs have now become useless in terms of protection but stll manage to
provide for long-lived suppression of their innate immunity (i.e., natural infection, and especially
vaccination, elicit relatively long-lived specific Ab titers). The susceptible reservoir comprises both, vaccinated people and those who’re left with sufficient S-specific Abs due to previous Covid-19 disease).
So, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED for Covid-19 but a DISASTROUS SITUATION for all vaccinated subjects and
Covid-19 seropositive people as they’ve now lost both, their acquired and innate immune defense against Covid-19 (while highly infectious strains are circulating!). That’s ‘one small step for the virus, one giant catastrophe for mankind’, which is to say that we’ll have whipped up the virus in the younger population up to a level that it now takes little effort for Covid-19 to transform into a highly infectious
virus that completely ignores both the innate arm of our immune system as well as the
adaptive/acquired one (regardless of whether the acquired Abs resulted from vaccination or natural
infection). The effort for the virus is now becoming even more negligible given that many vaccine recipients are now exposed to highly infectious viral variants while having received only a single shot of the vaccine. Hence, they are endowed with Abs that have not yet acquired optimal functionality. There is
no need to explain that this is just going to further enhance immune escape. Basically, we’ll very soon be confronted with a super-infectious virus that completely resists our most precious defense mechanism: The human immune system. From all of the above, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to imagine how the consequences of the
extensive and erroneous human intervention in this pandemic are not going to wipe out large parts of
our human population. One could only think of very few other strategies to achieve the same level of efficiency in turning a relatively harmless virus into a bioweapon of mass destruction. It’s certainly also worth mentioning that mutations in the S protein (i.e., exactly the same protein that is
subject to selection of escape mutations) are known to enable Coronaviruses to cross species barriers.
This is to say that the risk that vaccine-mediated immune escape could allow the virus to jump to other
animal species, especially industrial livestock (e.g., pig and poultry farms), is not negligible. These species
are already known to host several different Coronaviruses and are usually housed in farms with high
stocking density. Similar to the situation with the influenza virus, these species could then serve as pathogens that have co-evolved with the host immune system, natural pandemics of acute self-limiting viral infections have been shaped such as to take a toll on human lives that is not higher than strictly required. Due to human intervention, the course of this pandemic has been thoroughly disturbed as of the very beginning. Widespread and stringent infection prevention measures combined with mass
vaccination campaigns using inadequate vaccines will undoubtedly lead to a situation where the
pandemic is getting increasingly ‘out of control’.
Paradoxically, the only intervention that could offer a perspective to end this pandemic (other than to let
it run its disastrous course) is …VACCINATION. Of course, the type of vaccines to be used would be completely different from conventional vaccines in that they’re not inducing the usual suspects, i.e., B and T cells, but NK cells. There is, indeed, compelling scientific evidence that these cells play a key role in facilitating the complete elimination of Covid-19 at an early stage of infection in asymptomatically infected
subjects. NK cells are part of the cellular arm of our innate immune system and, like natural Abs, they are capable of recognizing and attacking a broad and diversified spectrum of pathogenic agents. There is a sound scientfc ratonale to assume that it is possible to ‘prime’ NK cells in ways for them to recognize and kill Coronaviruses at large (include all their variants) at an early stage of infection. NK cells have increasingly been described to be endowed with the capacity to acquire immunological memory. By
educating these cells in ways that enable them to durably recognize and target Coronavirus-infected
cells, our immune system could be perfectly armed for a targeted attack on the universe of Coronaviruses
prior to exposure. As NK cell-based immune defense provides sterilizing immunity and allows for broadspectrum and fast protection, it is reasonable to assume that harnessing our innate immune cells is going
to be the only type of human intervention to halt the dangerous spread of highly infectious Covid-19
variants.
If we, human beings, are committed to perpetuating our species, we have no choice left but to eradicate
these highly infectious viral variants. This will, indeed, require large vaccination campaigns. However, NK
cell-based vaccines will primarily enable our natural immunity to be better prepared (memory!) and to
induce herd immunity (which is exactly the opposite of what current Covid-19 vaccines do as those increasingly turn vaccine recipients into asymptomatic carriers who are shedding virus). So, there is not
one-second left for gears to be switched and to replace the current killer vaccines with life-saving vaccines.
I am appealing to the WHO and all stakeholders involved, no matter their conviction, to immediately declare such acton as THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY OF INTERNATIONAL CONCERN