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Image showing an illustration of a vaccine vial labeled "MRNA" and a syringe. To its right, there is text asking "No more boosters?" suggesting the ultimate enhancement in vaccines. The logo "10 almonds" graces the bottom right corner. The background is light blue.

The Ultimate Booster

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Winning The Biological Arms Race

The human immune system (and indeed, other immune systems, but we are all humans here, after all) is in a constant state of war with pathogens, and that war is a constant biological arms race:

  • We improve our defenses and destroy the attackers; the 1% of pathogens that survived now “know” how to counter that trick.
  • The pathogens wreak havoc in our systems; the n% of us that survive now have immune systems that “know” how to counter that trick.

Vaccines are a mighty tool in our favor here, because they’re the technology that stops our n% from also being a very low number.

With vaccines, we can effectively pass on established defenses onto the population at large, as this cute video explains very well and very simply in 57 seconds:

Click Here If The Embedded Video Doesn’t Load Automatically!

The problem with vaccines

The problem is that this accelerates the arms race. It’s like a chess game where we are able to respond to every move quickly (which is good for us), and/but this means passing the move over to our opponent sooner.

That problem’s hard to avoid, because the alternative has always been “let people die in much larger numbers”.

Traditional vs mRNA vaccines

A quick refresher before we continue to the big news of the day:

  • Traditional vaccines use a disabled version of a pathogen to trigger an immune response that will teach the body to recognize the pathogen ready for when the full version shows up
  • mRNA vaccines use a custom-made bit of genetic information to tell the body to make its own harmless fake pathogen and then respond to the harmless fake pathogen it made.

Note: this happens independently of the host’s DNA, so no, it does not change your DNA

See also: The Truth About Vaccines

Here’s a more detailed explainer (with a helpful diagram) using the COVID mRNA vaccine as an example: | How does an mRNA vaccine work?

However, this still leaves us “chasing strains”, because as the pathogen (in this case, a virus) adapts, the vaccine has to be updated too, hence all the boosters.

This is a lot like a security update for your computer’s antivirus software. They’re annoying, but they do an important job.

No more “chasing strains”

The press conference soundbite on this sums it up well:

❝Scientists at UC Riverside have demonstrated a new, RNA-based vaccine strategy that is effective against any strain of a virus and can be used safely even by babies or the immunocompromised.❞

~ Jules Bernstein

Read in full: Vaccine breakthrough means no more chasing strains

You may be wondering: what makes this one effective against any strain?

❝What I want to emphasize about this vaccine strategy is that it is broad.

It is broadly applicable to any number of viruses, broadly effective against any variant of a virus, and safe for a broad spectrum of people. This could be the universal vaccine that we have been looking for.

Viruses may mutate in regions not targeted by traditional vaccines. However, we are targeting their whole genome with thousands of small RNAs. They cannot escape this.❞

~ Dr. Rong Hai

Importantly, this means it can be applied not just to one disease, let alone just one strain of COVID. Rather, it can be used for a wide variety of viruses that have similar viral functions—COVID / SARS in general, including influenza, and even viruses such as dengue.

How it does this: the above article explains in more detail, but in few words: it targets tiny strings of the genome that are present in all strains of the virus.

Illustrative example: if you wanted to block 10almonds (please don’t), you could block our email address.

But if we were malicious (we’re not) we could be sneaky and change it, so you’d have to block the new one, and the cycle repeats.

But if you were block all emails containing the tiny string of characters “10almonds”, changing our email address would no longer penetrate your defenses.

Now imagine also blocking strings such as “One-Minute Book Review” and “Today’s almonds have been activated by” and other strings we use in every email.

Now multiply this by thousands of strings (because genomes are much larger than our little newsletter), and you see its effectiveness!

Great! How can I get this?

It’s still in the testing stages for now; this is “breaking news” science, after all.

The study itself

…is paywalled for now, sadly, but if you happen to have institutional access, here it is:

Live-attenuated virus vaccine defective in RNAi suppression induces rapid protection in neonatal and adult mice lacking mature B and T cells

Take care!

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