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Page #21



MA: So we have seen that some viral infections are fought rather succesfully using vaccines and some are not.

Do you know of any other problems with vaccines?

Q: I remember the dust-up about there being mercury in some vaccines.

MA: Yes some vaccines do contain Thimerasol, a mercury-containing preservative. However, there is no hard evidence that this product causes autism - and that is what has been claimed. But I do believe that children under 5 or 6 are often given Thimerasol free vaccines if possible, but my information might be a bit dated.

It is another aspect of vaccines that I would like to make you aware of and especially with the coming flu season.

Q: And what is that?

MA: It is a phenomena called antibody-dependent enhancement.

As we discussed this winter the majority of viral infections of animals and man are not fatal, but are followed by recovery and the development of a state of relative or absolute resistance against re-infection with the same virus.

Much of this resistance can be attributed to specific antiviral antibodies, although cellular immune mechanisms also contribute to the protection of the host.

However not all antiviral antibodies are necessarily virus neutralizing antibodies - in addition to these virus neutralizing antibodies or non-neutralizing antibodies a further group of antibodies exist: antibodies which enhance the infectivity of the virus.

This phenomenon is known as antibody-dependent-enhancement (ADE) of viral infectivity and has been observed with various macrophage-infecting viruses.

The common features of viruses exhibiting ADE are:

1. preferential replication in macrophages
2. ability to establish persistence
3. and antigenic diversity

Q: That's odd. How does it work?

MA: ADE occurs when the host is more efficiently infected by a combination of virus plus antibody than by the virus alone.

Can you see that?

Q: Yea, I guess. But it seems strange that an antibody would aid the virus in infection.

MA: Child, nothing in the world of Virology is strange. Let's go back to our favorite subject the HIV virus for a moment.


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