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Immunogenicity and Reactogenicity. Known with Vaccines, but Present for Many Other Drugs.

The concept of immunogenicity is well understood by essentially everyone, as the basis for how vaccines work. Generally medicine and science have focused almost exclusively on immunogenicity, said in other words a positive immune system modification based on the action of the drug. The reactogenicity, in other words a negative immune system modification based on the drug, is often.... at best ... overlooked... but often.... ignored. This will be a subject of future blogs.

What is not so well understood is that essentially every outside entity introduced in the body has some effect on the immune system. What the immune system has to do is adjust on the subsecond time scale action in response to an intrusion. What occurs in the ideal situation is:

The immune system achieves a balance, like a bubble line level tool. In the simplest sense the two poles of the line level are immune inflammation (oxidation) and immune suppression (anti-oxidation), and the bubble we want in the gap in the middle between these poles. In reality this bubble line level of health balance is like fancier tools where there are multiple tubes measuring multiple levels. In household tool terms this is usually three tubes, in the body this is probably 100.

But returning to the one tube concept, to achieve optimal health we want the inflammation limb to be perfectly functioning: recognizing cancer cells and infective organisms and killing them, We want the immune suppressing pole fully functioning with the immune system not destroying our own body cells and not reacting to foreign antigens which are not especially harmful: vitamins, quercitin, turmeric, etc. In people who are apt to develop cancer or serious infection that line is tilted towards too much immune suppression, and in those with auto-immune disease (and GDD) the tube is tilted too far to the inflammation pole.

This is a simplified but effective model to keep in mind. We want the bubble right in that space between the two lines along the tube of the line measuring tool. As we have accumulated more toxins in our body (by living in the modern world and consuming too many chemicals additives and breathing contaminated air) that tube now has now tilted with inflammation dominating, hence it is difficult to keep the bubble in the sweet spot...Essentially to maintain health, the bubble has to be shifted to the immune suppression end. Or to use another example it is like a teeter totter where the fulcrum point of balance has to be shifted because intrinsic immune suppression (anti-oxidation) is now too light, so we have to add more extrinsic immune suppression/ anti-oxidation to achieve balance Yes this is also the Goldilocks principle.

Richard Semelka, MD


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