The University of Oxford on Omicron: No proof COVID-19 vaccines won’t prevent against severe disease Oxford scientists have found that a vaccine in children against pertussis, or whooping cough, may prevent severe disease against several other diseases, but not against permanent damage.
The University of Oxford in England has delivered more bad news for children: proof that a vaccination against pertussis, or whooping cough, may not prevent severe disease against several other diseases, but not against permanent damage.
The findings, of an important clinical trial in pediatric whooping cough (pertussis), are described in the latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious disease that can be fatal in babies, who are at high risk. It is the cause of some 20,000 severe outbreaks in the United States every year and of more than 4,000 deaths, as documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For the vaccine-preventing vaccine, purified T-cell immune cells are infused into the skin or nose of infants. The principle mechanism by which the inoculated infants’ immune systems perceive the fact that they are immunized and begin to mount an immune response is known as cellular homeostasis. This activation allows the immune system to develop a strong response to harmful bacterial invaders.
In the first stage of the clinical trial, which was originally designed to explore whether pertussis immunization reduced disease severity, scientists studied children and adolescents aged between 6 and 19 months old. In their findings, the researchers found that pertussis vaccines can produce a protective effect against disease severity for as long as three years, compared with a viral infection, during which the virus is latent and cannot be countered by immunization.
Even though several of the most harmful complications of pertussis are long-lasting, they may occur for years or decades after infection, so the protection provided by pertussis vaccines is long-lasting.
When the doses are stopped after the second year of use, no protection is gained against many severe complications, such as deafness and delayed development of speech and language skills. However, the protection conferred by pertussis immunization remains for at least three years following the receipt of the immunization, possibly longer. The duration of pertussis protection also differs, depending on the frequency of dosing. The science behind this protection is detailed in our June 2018 study describing this process.
One thing that the development of this investigational vaccine has proven is that pertussis vaccine induced robust protection against severe disease regardless of whooping cough virus types. In this paper, which is a meta-analysis (one of the first to search the scientific literature in this context), researchers from multiple institutions established that immunity generated by pertussis vaccination is infectious, meaning that the pertussis vaccine protects against a number of vaccine-preventable diseases, not just pertussis, but also nits, mumps, measles, mumps and varicella (chickenpox).
Even better, antibodies generated by the pertussis vaccine also prevent a range of vaccine-preventable diseases, including cancer. For the Journal of Clinical Investigation article, researchers from the University of Oxford collaborated with researchers from University College London, Singapore Central Clinical Research and Institute of Toxicology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and the University of Graz in Austria.
Our research team was one of the original partners on the vaccine program initiated by the CDC in the early 2000s. The chief reason behind this collaboration was the constant risk of severe disease during pertussis outbreaks, which the CDC recognized to be the most serious consequence of pertussis. In addition, immunization is cheap, easy and far less stressful than treatment.
Since the program’s launch in 2002, immunization of infants under six months of age has led to the lowest childhood pertussis rate on record in the United States and has helped to prevent a wide range of serious complications.
The incidence of whooping cough is down 35 percent in the United States since 2002. Vaccination programs are now achieving unprecedented reach with the high convenience, safety and cost-effectiveness of a live, rather than dead, adult vaccine ingredient in favor of an extinct polymer vaccine.