No editor’s note or other explanation for the change was given by Forbes. While the original headline summarized Salzberg’s argument, the new headline appears to slightly contradict what he wrote.
Salzberg wrote the article in response to what he called “one of the common tropes” about the vaccines popularized by those opposed to taking them: That the vaccines can
change or interact with your DNA.
The CDC lists this claim as a
common “myth” about the vaccines, explaining:
Salzberg explained that technically the CDC “got it wrong” in its attempt to give a simple refutation of the DNA claim. He described how the body’s immune system responds to pathogens like the SARS-CoV-2 virus, selecting antibodies that can recognize the pathogen, bind to it, and destroy it.
“The way it does this is really rather extraordinary: many little pieces of your DNA are cut and pasted together, in millions of combinations, each making a different antibody. Eventually, one of these antibodies ‘recognizes’ the pathogen (by binding to it),” Salzberg wrote.
Continuing, he explained that successful antibodies are “remembered” by the immune system as special cells — called B-cells — that have slightly altered DNA.
“The DNA in these B-cells encodes just the right antibody to recognize the invader-the Covid-19 virus, that is. Once you recover from the infection, some of those immune cells (B-cells and T-cells-it’s complicated) persist in your lymph nodes, constantly looking for any reappearance of the virus,” Salzberg wrote.
He further explained that the altered DNA in these B-cells is a normal response to recovering from infection or to receiving a vaccine.
But B-cells are just a tiny, tiny portion of your body. Every other cell type, from skin to heart to lungs to brain, is completely unaffected by the vaccine. And if we didn’t have any way of “remembering” how to fight off infections, then we’d never become immune to anything, in which case the human race would quickly go extinct.
The point is this: COVID-19 vaccines don’t directly alter your DNA, but they do trigger an immune response that creates antibodies and B-cells with altered DNA to fight off infection. “The only change is in the DNA of a tiny number of immune cells, which hang around as guardians against future infections. And that’s a good thing,” Salzberg wrote.
So the old headline was accurate. COVID vaccines do alter your DNA — indirectly, by triggering the body’s natural response to fight off disease. It’s not harmfull; in fact, it helps people by
reducing the chance that you’ll become seriously ill from COVID-19.
Why the need for a change?