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COMMENTARY

Another Possible Immunity Option for COVID-19

By Donald R May

The unexpectedly high numbers of people with circulating anti-COVID-19 antibodies are probably not due to COVID-19 but a different coronavirus.

It is probable that the majority of the large numbers of persons with circulating COVID-19 antibody found in their serum in Santa Clara County and Los Angeles County have been previously infected with a different coronavirus than COVID-19.

Possibly the contact with this different coronavirus makes these persons immune to COVID-19 for a period of time? If it does render immunity, this different virus should be quickly identified and evaluated as a potential vaccine. This different coronavirus can be cultured, and a measured dose of the virus inhaled into the nose of each person being vaccinated.  Those immunized in this manner would develop a common cold in a few days and circulating antibodies effective both against the different coronavirus and COVID-19 within a few weeks. If this vaccine were to work, it should be ready to administer almost immediately because the side effects would be no more than those of a common cold and not have the potential complication concerns of an injectable vaccine.

In a similar manner more than two centuries ago, cowpox was used to immunize against smallpox. The viruses were different, but the mild cowpox infection was effective in making those who were vaccinated immune from infection with the highly deadly smallpox virus.

It is very important to realize that the circulating antibodies to COVID-19 found in larger numbers of people in Santa Clara County and Los Angeles County may not be due to COVID-19 infection. Misunderstanding the results could cause people to wrongly assume that COVID-19 is no more deadly than seasonal flu.

COVID-19 is a highly infectious and very deadly coronavirus and must be carefully and rigorously avoided as we reopen our nation and the world.

Vaccines must be expedited and administered soon after each vaccine has been shown to be successful in establishing some level of immunity.

The health, economic, and political consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic are too devastating to allow the pandemic to continue without bold and definitive actions. There are no flawless campaigns in war, and the goal must be to defeat the enemy as quickly as possible with as few fatalities and the least amount of collateral damage as possible.

Submitted by Donald R May, Lubbock, TX, retina surgeon, farmer, medical economist, decorated Air Force Veteran, and former medical school professor, department chair, and dean.

 

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