Alternative to Moderna and Pfizer mRNA Vaccines – UPDATED

UPDATE 4 March 2021

The Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine uses an adenovirus, a benign common cold virus, to introduce genetic instructions for the spike protein to the body. From there, the process for the immune system is similar to the process for the mRNA vaccines.

Growing the adenovirus to produce the vaccine requires cells. Scientists use fetal cell lines to grow the adenovirus because those type of cell lines rapidly replicate outside the human body.  Experts say that by the time the adenovirus goes in the vial, the cells from the fetal cell lines have been rigorously filtered out.

So we can Verify: Fetal cell lines were used to manufacture and develop the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

11Alive TV, Atlanta March 2,20121 | VERIFY: Were aborted fetal cell lines used to produce Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID19 – Not our first rodeo

From the outset of the SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus 19, aka COVID19) federal officials and U.S. based epidemiologists suspected COVID19 was manufactured by the Communist Chinese Party (CCP) to be weaponized. Is this rational? Present reality seems to mirror history.

WASHINGTON – Although anthrax and other biological weapons seem like 21st-century threats, they have been tools of terror for ages. Ancient armies, for instance, tainted water supplies of entire cities with herbs and fungus that gave people horrible diarrhea and hallucinations. One germ-warfare assault in the 1300s apparently got out of hand, triggering an epidemic that ravaged the population of Europe. (More via link below…)

The History Of Germ Warfare – Very Long, Very Deadly

An early example takes us back more than 2 and a half millennia: Assyrians infected their enemy’s wells with a rye ergot fungus, which contains chemicals related to LSD. Consuming the tainted water produced a confused mental state, hallucinations, and, in some cases, death.

In the 1300s, Tartar (Mongol) warriors besieged the Crimean city of Kaffa. During the siege, many Tartars died at the hands of plague, and their lifeless, infected bodies were hurled over the city walls.

Some researchers believe that this tactic may have been responsible for the spread of Black Death plague into Europe. If so, this early use of biological warfare caused the eventual deaths of around 25 million Europeans. (More via link below…)

Biological warfare: The early days

What’s the cure, brother?

Thanks to the leadership of former President Donald Trump, his ‘Operation Warp Speed’ produced two vaccines to counter COVID19, the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. A third vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson has now been tested and recommended for use. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, unlike the other two, is a once-and-done product for which refrigeration is common vaccine storage temperature. The first two vaccines require extraordinarily low temperature storage.

Although Moderna and Pfizer synthesize the mRNA, the original RNA was extracted from HEK 293 kidney cells of an aborted baby. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is radically different, using a common cold virus known as adenovirus type 26 to introduce coronavirus proteins into cells in the body and trigger an immune response.

The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech labs claim to be 95% effective. Johnson & Johnson claims 66% effectiveness. As I understand, the efficacy of the latter is comparable to the first two due to differences in the way they were tested.

Moderna has been around about 11 years, Pfizer 172 years, BioNTech 13 years, and Johnson & Johnson 135 years. Two factors contribute to my decision to wait for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:
1 – Johnson & Johnson was one of my customers back in the 1970s, one which I greatly respect.
2 – My professional experience developing a temperature monitoring system for vaccines lends favor to J&J.

According the the CDC, studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to the flu vaccine. 

My wife and I, both seasoned senior citizens, get flu vaccinations as early as possible each flu season, usually September. No vaccine becomes effective immediately. Our flu vaccinations take about one month to become effective. The mRNA COVID19 vaccines require two doses one month apart. Obviously, the first dose of the two-dose vaccines takes more than one month, up to two months to achieve maximum efficacy.

The J&J product comes out later than the first two but I remember the 1976 Swine Flu Fiasco. There was a rush to judgment by the federal government, expecting the Swine Flu to be a repeat of the Spanish Flu that snuffed out the lives of a half-million Americans.

The real victims of this pandemic were likely the 450-odd people who came down with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, after getting the 1976 flu shot. On its website, the CDC notes that people who got the vaccination did have an increased risk of “approximately one additional case of GBS for every 100,000 people who got the swine flu vaccine.”

The Long Shadow of the 1976 Swine Flu Vaccine ‘Fiasco’ | Smithsonian Magazine

BREAKING NEWS: Reuters 28 Feb 2021 | J&J’s COVID-19 Shot Gets CDC Panel Backing; Vaccine Near Shipping

So it is, I step aside to not be in the way of anyone sensing an urgent need to get the two-shot treatment. I say to those rushing to be first in line, “After you”.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

Other Resources:

“Both doctors also draw a distinction between not only the kinds of cells used but the particular uses they are put to. There are no HEK 293 kidney cells in either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Dr. Lee told National Review that HEK 293s were involved only in the “post-production” process of the “final vaccine product”: that is, they are not part of the vaccine but rather were test subjects used to help determine how effective it was. This is not the case for all the vaccine candidates. Some of the higher-profile products under development — by Janssen Research and Johnson & Johnson, as well as AstraZeneca and Oxford University, for example — are using fetal cells in the production process. In these vaccines, there is a “direct line” between the vaccine and abortion; that line does not exist in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.”

There is no fetal tissue in our Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Our COVID-19 vaccine is an inactivated/non-infective adenovirus vector (similar to a cold virus), which codes for the coronavirus ‘spike’ (S) protein,” a company statement read.

“We are able to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses using our engineered cell-line system that enables the rapid production of new viral vaccines to combat many of the most dangerous infectious diseases.”

3 thoughts on “Alternative to Moderna and Pfizer mRNA Vaccines – UPDATED

  1. I enjoy reading your material but this one is a little weak. Your positive experience with J&J is good but it is anecdotal. It does not follow that Moderna or BioNTech are not also good companies. The temperature storage for Moderna and J&J vaccines are not terribly different (for long term storage), correct? The Pfizer product is difficult to store but they are in the middle of lowering the storage temperature requirements to numbers similar to Moderna. The first two vaccines came out earlier but they were not rushed. The mRNA technique has been researched in earnest for a decade or more. All they needed was the sequence for the new Covid variant.

    With respect perhaps those with some related vertical expertise should be advocating for vaccination in general and simply referring folks to their doctor for details. For whatever it is worth, my wife and myself have had both Moderna shots with zero side effects. I think that makes 70M+ doses administered to date just in the USA. The entire nation of Israel is vaccinated. How long were you planning to wait?

  2. Keith,

    By no means did I disparage either of the two pharmaceutical companies. The first two vaccines were indeed rushed. I have lived long enough to witness the developments of drugs and the race to develop the COVID19 vaccine was rushed – the name given the project is “Operation Warp Speed”. This is not to say fast development was a bad choice but to point to history of consequences of too-fast-to-market developments of any product.

    The Swine Flu fiasco remains fresh in my memory. Even way back then I was reluctant to be vaccinated due to the hasty way it was pushed on military personnel who had no option to decline it and I do not regret my sense of caution.

    My choice of J&J anecdotal? I suggest a different word: opinion. My choice of J&J is my opinion, my choice. Over many years, I have provided consulting and design services to other pharmaceutical companies, E.R. Squibb & Sons, for one example.

    How long am I planning to wait? I have no plan whatsoever to wait. I am way too impatient to wait. I am one of those drivers who will drive miles out of the way to avoid sitting in traffic. When my choice vaccine is available, probably sometime after the end of March, I will make my appointment. Between now and then, although now retired for over 3 years, I have lots to keep me busy.

    Perhaps you think the vaccine you have received is a long-term prevention. I would not do that. Viruses mutate, requiring updated vaccines. Already the vaccine manufacturers are preparing for a third shot.

    I can’t remember what year my wife and I began flu vaccinations. Neither can she remember. I just asked. We go to our pharmacist the earliest opportunity.

    My expert on biology and immunology is a niece who teaches me every time we meet.

    Do keep in mind, this post represents my opinion. As a preacher I know would say, “Opinions are like noses; everybody has one.”

    Thank you for your feedback. Your opinion is very much appreciated.

  3. The mRNA vaccines for this very family of viruses have been under development for 10+ years. Once they had the genome in January 2020 they only had to modify what they were already working on. Operation Warp Speed was about pre-purchasing from numerous companies so they could start production before phase 3 trials were finished. Also they cut some red tape at the FDA and setup a streamlined delivery system. Viruses mutate of course. The great majority of the mutations are of no concern. But if some of them are troublesome there might be follow-up shots.

    Thanks for your thoughts and opinions. I enjoy reading them and rarely disagree. But this mRNA stuff is revolutionary and much simpler (inside the body) than older technology. It is a stretch to even call it a vaccine.

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