2021-09-06 09:00:50 UTC
In brief, it means that when you encounter a pathogen for the 2nd
time, and that pathogen has evolved a bit from the 1st exposure when
you built your immunity, now your body will manufacture antibodies not
for the new threat but for the old one that it "remembers".
So viruses are nimble whilst your body a bit slow to adjust.
Vaccines can make this problem worse, as the article states:
"In fact, the vaccine might make the infection even worse, by
'trapping' the immune response into the first, ineffective, response
it made against the virus."
Now Jacinda is going to get us all vaccinated against the COVID Alpha
variant (which all the vaccines are designed for), but darn if she's
going to let us use that vaccine-based immunity against the Delta
variant (which is not too different from the Alpha) -- nosirreee,
she'll stamp it out! Silly us with our fading vaccine immunity.
Let's booster up with more Alpha !
So while we lurch toward the year 2022 with our Alpha-vaccined status,
the future Xi variant will grow in the overseas-vaccinated population
and arrive at our shores. But it'll be quite different from the Alpha
variant -- our vaccine won't bother it much because it mutated in an
Alpha-vaccinated environment so is very resistant to it. Don't
believe me? Read some science for yourselves:
Here's where Original Antigenic Sin does its Devil's work -- when your
body tries to defend itself against the Xi variant, it'll only be able
to produce Alpha antibodies! This is because our wonderful vaccine
has "trapped" our immune system into that Alpha response.
Meanwhile, the unvaccinated have a better chance -- their bodies can
analyse the Xi variant and devise antibodies against it, since they
are not vaccine-trapped into an Alpha response.
PS: In this discussion I've upped the contrast a bit to make the point
easy to understand. The actual experience will probably vary. But
one thing is clear: the virus is nimble and the COVID vaccines are a
clumsy tool, trying to replace accurate aim with a vast horde of
off-target antibodies. When the virus mutates, how long do you wait
for the targeted booster shot? At least the unvaccinated don't need
to wait for anything, but they will be in a cage match alone.
Hopefully, the Xi variant will never happen.