COVID-19 has launched countless heated debates and discussions, as well as arguments and accusations, and now the topic of natural immunity is finally getting some national attention, too.
At a recent Capitol Hill hearing, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) raised the issue of natural immunity and antibodies in a testy exchange with Xavier Becerra, who leads U.S. Health and Human Services.
“The science is against you. The science is clear,” Paul, who recovered from COVID in April, insisted to Becerra. “Naturally-acquired immunity is as good as a vaccine. This isn’t an argument against the vaccine, but it’s an argument for letting people make a decision who already have immunity.”
Recovering from an illness such as COVID produces antibodies, which are made by the body’s immune system to fight the invading cells from a virus or bacteria. An estimated 43 million Americans have recovered from the virus according to The New York Times and its live updates. In the hearing, Sen. Paul (pictured below) put that figure at 100 million Americans, which likely includes asymptomatic cases and people who never got tested.
Either figure means millions of people, at least for a time, live with antibodies that literally stand ready to fight another viral invasion.
At the hearing, however, the U.S. senator accused Becerra of mocking Americans for being “flat-earthers” if they refuse to sit for a COVID-19 vaccine. In reality, Paul said, many of those people have recovered and have made a personal decision to trust natural immunity over the vaccine.
Becerra, in fact, had used the term “flat-earthers” just weeks earlier when the HHS secretary appeared at a hospital in Paul’s home state of Kentucky. In that meeting, the country’s top health official appeared to take a swipe at the public, and at the senator himself, in a brief speech that urged Kentuckians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“My friends, the earth is really round,” Becerra said at a health policy forum last month. “Because some flat-earthers — especially those in places of influence — choose to peddle fiction, we’re losing more loved ones today than we were a few months ago.”
Becerra was mocking the public in a state where approximately 70% of Kentucky adults had received at least one dose of the vaccine, The Courier Journal reported at the time.
The latest figures from Kentucky, viewed on the Mayo Clinic website, show 99% of seniors in Kentucky have received at least one dose.
The push for the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has varied greatly, from carrot-like state lotteries to stick-beating threats of job loss, but now the 180 million Americans who got the jab are learning the efficacy of the vaccine is waning quickly after six months. That reality makes the issue of natural immunity even more important for millions who have recovered from the virus and are asking if their naturally-derived memory B cells that fight infection are waning like the B cells administered through a manmade vaccine.
A post-COVID blood test currently exists to determine if the antibodies are present and to determine their potency, but American Family News has learned there is limited information available to the general public from the medical community beyond confirmation of antibodies.
Asked for reaction to Sen. Paul’s speech to Becerra, Dr. Jeff Barrows of the Christian Medical Association tells American Family News the senator did make a good point.
“The government has not paid enough attention to natural immunity,” Barrows says. “We should have pretty good evidence that a certain level [of antibodies] provides a certain amount of protection against the COVID virus.”
HHS boss ‘not familiar’ with Israeli study
Yet such studies, if they are being conducted at all, are not being discussed on the cable news channels and making headlines on major news outlets even after 20 months has passed since the first COVID case was documented at a Washington state nursing home.
American Family News reported on little-discussed natural immunity in a Sept. 27 story that pointed to an eye-opening study in Israel, where researchers concluded COVID patients with natural immunity have an immune system that is not just as strong as the vaccinated but is even more robust.
In his grilling of Becerra, Sen. Paul mentioned the Israeli study to the HHS boss, who claimed he was “not familiar” with it, but Dr. Barrows tells American Family News he has reviewed that research.
“The Israeli study did show, in fact,” Barrows concludes, “that natural immunity was very good and, in some ways, superior to vaccine-induced immunity with the original virus.”
Barrows insists, however, that some research has concluded natural immunity is not as strong as the vaccine in fighting the newer Delta variant which caused cases to spike dramatically over the summer.
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.